Mosquito hawks, skeeter eaters, gallinippers--all are different nicknames for the tipula paludosa, or crane fly. Various rumors surround the crane fly, most of which aren't true. They do not eat mosquitoes, nor are they poisonous; as a matter of fact, they don't really do much of anything as far as humans are concerned and are considered to be slightly less than a nuisance. Adult crane flies are harmless and can be kept out of the house by keeping screen windows and doors closed. Their larva, however, can damage lawns and gardens if left alone.

A crane fly

Step 1

Make sure all windows and doors have screens that remain securely shut. Check for gaps between the screen and the frame.

Step 2

Purchase a bug zapper. Place it near the door or window giving you the most trouble. The crane flies will be attracted to the light.

Step 3

Rake up any dead leaves or plant detritus that may be scattered about your lawn. Crane flies primarily eat and nest in dead or rotting foliage, so removing it will help thin the population.

Step 4

Spray your lawn with organic pesticides three to four times a year to get rid of the larva. Pyrethrin is a common ingredient in pesticides, but you can also make your own from various household ingredients such as dish soap, garlic and oil.