Ask The County Agent: Questions about Crane Flies and Snakes

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By Stephanie Butcher, UGA – Coweta County Cooperative Extension

QUESTION: What are the huge mosquito-like insects flying around outside my home and what can I do about them?

AGENT: It sounds like you are asking about crane flies. The adults are emerging in large numbers this time of year. In fact, there are hundreds of them around my house. You may be seeing more crane flies this year because they are generally found in moist environments, so you may not see as many in dry years.

Some people refer to crane flies as “mosquito hawks” and mistakenly believe that they feast on mosquitos. In fact, they do not feed on mosquitoes or bite at all. The larval stage feeds on decomposing organic matter or the roots of turfgrass. Adults generally do not feed on anything. They emerge, mate and then die within a few days.

Admittedly, crane flies can be annoying in large numbers, especially when they follow you inside the house, but I would not recommend doing anything about them. Crane flies do not bite or cause damage, so it is not necessary to spray for them. They will be gone before you know it.

QUESTION: How can I keep snakes away?

AGENT: Warm days are right around the corner and chances are you will see a snake or two before the summer is over even if it is only on the side of the road. I was going through pictures on my cell phone just the other day and ran across a picture of a young, gray rat snake that I saw on my front porch last March. It was not long after that I saw its “granddaddy” on my back patio.

Just thinking about it makes me shudder. On the other hand, my little boys thought it was the most exciting event since Christmas!

Even though snakes have a very important job to do, and they are part of a healthy ecosystem, I much prefer that they do their job AWAY from my home.

To keep snakes away from your home, you will need to remove their food and cover.
Snakes go where they have a good food source and protective cover, so remove any wood and rock piles, or weedy areas from around your home. Keep shrubs and vegetation trimmed. If you keep a “natural” landscape, then do not be surprised when that natural habitat invites unwanted guests like snakes.

Also, avoid “snake oils”. There are no chemical control options for snakes, so do not waste your money.

For more information about insects around the home or snakes in Georgia, email: [email protected] or call 770-254-2620. Ask for the UGA Extension publications, “Management of Pest Insects in & around the Home” and “Venomous Snakes of Georgia”, which includes a quick reference guide for nonvenomous snakes.

The University of Georgia College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences is an equal opportunity, Affirmative Action, Veteran, Disability Institution.”

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Photo credits:  Crane Fly – Joseph Berger; Rat Snake – Stephanie Butcher

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