How to Spot an Insect Imposter

How to Spot an Insect Imposter

Think all the bugs flying around your face look and sound the same? You’re not alone. Many folks have a hard time distinguishing between mosquitoes, midges, flies and other airborne pests. After all, they’re all pretty small, and it’s not like they buzz up and introduce themselves to you! In this post, we’ll take a closer look at the unique characteristics that can help you identify mosquitoes, as well as other bugs that masquerade as mosquito imposters!

Mosquitoes While there are as many as 3,500 known mosquito species in the world, they share many similar features. These include a long proboscis (nose or snout) that is inserted into the skin of its host in order to draw blood. Mosquitoes can also appear to be “all wings.” That’s because their wings are longer than their bodies. Mosquitoes breed in areas that contain standing water, which differentiates them from other flying insect types.

insects-689247_1280Crane Flies Typically when you see a “giant mosquito” with crazy long legs, it’s a crane fly. Like mosquitoes, crane flies have a long proboscis, but unlike mosquitoes, they don’t bite us. Other than their large size, they can be distinguished from mosquitoes by their inferior flying ability and a buzzing sound that is similar to that made by a housefly. And despite their nicknames of “mosquito eaters” and “mosquito hawks,” they pose no threat to mosquitoes. Crane flies do not breed in standing water — they prefer rotting vegetation and other decaying organic matter.

Biting Midges Biting midges are also known as no-see-ums because, well, you can barely see ’em! In fact, they’re so small that they can fit through screens that keep mosquitoes and other larger insects out. Like mosquitoes, biting midges seek human blood to nourish their eggs, but unlike most mosquitoes, they’re active during the daytime hours. So, if you’re bitten by a pest that you can hardly see and it’s in the middle of the day, it’s more likely to be a no-see-um than a mosquito.

Non-Biting Midges There are several varieties of non-biting midges that are commonly referred to as gnats. Distinguishing gnats from mosquitoes can be tricky because they look so much alike, as they’re roughly the same size and have wings that are longer than their bodies. A key difference is that they do not have a proboscis, which is why they cannot bite. On the downside, gnats can be extremely annoying, as anyone who has experienced a swarm of gnats flying up their nose and inside their ears and mouth can attest!

Fungus Gnats Another version of gnat that is often mistaken for a mosquito is a fungus gnat. Fungus gnats are about the same size mosquitoes, but can be distinguished by their spiny legs. Like their midge/gnat brethren, fungus gnats do not have a proboscis, so they are incapable of biting.

Black Flies The black fly is a bloodsucking pest — the female of the species, anyway — that closely resembles the housefly. A distinguishing characteristic is its humped back that contributes to its nickname of “buffalo gnat.” Black flies aren’t just black in color — some species are brown, gray or yellow. Black flies will also bite people or land-dwelling mammals. And like mosquito bites, black fly bites can transmit diseases to humans and critters.

Mosquito Magnet® Traps Can Help You Get Rid of All of These Pests

No matter if you’re dealing mosquitoes or flying insect imposters on your property, a Mosquito Magnet® trap can help you get rid of them in a hurry. These innovative mosquito traps feature the latest mosquito control technology that can significantly reduce the flying insect population on your property. With Mosquito Magnet® on the job, you won’t have to worry about pest identification. They’re won’t be any left to identify!