mistaken identities


mosquito look-a-likes:


  • Homeowners frequently call the District to report mosquito problems. In many instances what appears to be a mosquito is actually another type of insect. The below insects are the insects most commonly mistaken to be mosquitoes. None of these insects bite or carry diseases in Valley County, but many can still be annoying. Many of these hatch in very large numbers and are attracted to lights around the home.


  1. Midges (Chironomidae) are the most wide spread and numerous insects resembling mosquitoes. Adult Midges are commonly observed flying in swarms or "clouds", or are seen resting on fences, walls, under eaves and in protected areas such as porches and entryways. Individual adults will live about seven days depending upon the species and weather conditions. The larvae develop in sources having extensive areas of standing water

  2. Meniscus Midges (Dixidae) are common around moist areas where vegetation is abundant and may be seen swarming at dusk along the edges of streams and lakes. The adults are short lived, usually being active less than a week. The larvae are found in slow moving water, at the surface, and swim in a characteristic "U" shape.

  3. Wood Gnats (Anisopodidae) larvae are found in or near decaying vegetation, fermenting sap, animal manure, tree trunks, mud and sometimes sewage. Adults are found on foliage in or near damp places, some are found around flowing sap. They are sometimes seen in small swarms.

  4. Mayflies (Ephemeroptera) are quite abundant in Valley County near creeks, streams, irrigation canals, and other water sources. Their larvae are found in most aquatic habitats and can live in moving water.

  5. Crane Flies (Tipulidae) are delicate insects varying in size from 1/4 inch to as large as 1 1/2 inches in length. The largest crane flies are sometimes called "daddy-long-legs", "gully nippers", or "mosquito hawks". They do not bite people and they do not eat mosquitoes. Some species of crane flies emerge from aquatic sources and others from terrestrial or decaying vegetation sources.


Myths and Misconceptions:


  • Bug zappers are effective against mosquitoes. Bug zappers do not control mosquitoes and can reduce the populations of beneficial insects.
  • Electronic repellers keep mosquitoes away. No, they don't; save your money.
  • Residential vegetation can produce mosquitoes. They may be resting in the vegetation, but standing water is required to "produce" mosquitoes.
  • Bats, owls and other birds can control mosquitoes. Although they may include mosquitoes in their diet, they do not consume enough mosquitoes to make an appreciable difference in their populations.
  • Some mosquitoes can be two inches long. They don't get that big. What you may have seen is a crane fly.
  • Mosquitoes nest in vegetation. Mosquitoes do not nest.
  • Spraying for adults is the best method of mosquito control. Adulticiding is one of the many techniques in controlling and the only way of controlling adult mosquitos. Eliminating mosquitoes before they become adults is preferable, through source reduction/prevention and larvicide applications.
  • Mosquitoes can transmit AIDS. False.
  • The citrosa plant repels mosquitoes. Although citrosa oil (citronella) has been used widely as a mosquito repellent, the undisturbed plant itself does not release these oils and is thus not effective as a repellent.