I'm sure you have noticed by now (they have certainly been a nuisance around my house for the past few weeks), but crane flies are back with abundance! These delicate, long legged insects are a staple of spring. They are sometimes called mosquito hawks, however they don't eat mosquitoes, and mayflies, although they are not at all closely related to mayflies.
Being blessed with rain and a very mild (if not warm) winter has allowed them to prosper. When crane flies emerge, it always seems to indicate warmer weather and spring around the corner. This year they are out a little early, but that's to be expected with our weather.
Although I can't seem to convice my 4 year old and her very impressionable little sister, crane flies are completely harmless. In fact, they likely don't even have functioning mouthparts. They are attracted to lights, which is why we see them more often during evening hours, and they will fly indoors when windows or doors are opened. They are extremely seasonal, and this little balloon in their population will die down soon.