Some people call them flying daddy long-legs and others mistake them for giant mosquitoes.
But these big, intimidating bugs won’t bite. They’re harmless crane flies.
The insects have been invading the Antelope Valley in recent weeks and terrifying residents.
“Some people are in full panic about it, because they think that these ‘mosquitoes’ will suck their blood and transmit Zika or West Nile virus,” said Karen Mellor, an entomologist for the Antelope Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District.
According to Mellor, weather conditions this year helped produce a bumper crop of crane flies. Sometimes called mosquito hawks, these pesky insects are clumsy fliers and often bob along walls or windows, she said. Most alarmingly, they sometimes fly toward people.
But, Mellor said, there is no need to worry.
“The good thing is that they don’t bite or cause any diseases,” she said. “But they can be very annoying, especially in large numbers.”
Although some people believe crane flies eat mosquitoes, Mellor said that’s not the case.
And, unfortunately for the crane fly, their lifespan is short. Mellor said she expects them to be gone in a few weeks.
Until then, the agency recommends residents turn off their outdoor lights at night so as not to attract the flies.