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Insects Commonly Mistaken for Mosquitoes

Published on: 2/17/2015 10:51 AM

Mosquitoes are of concern because they can transmit diseases and cause significant discomfort, but there are many other flying insects that can be confused with mosquitoes. Because they look similar to mosquitoes, homeowners often call to report them as mosquito problems.

In Santa Clara County, common flying insects that resemble mosquitoes are: midges, crane flies, and fungus gnats. They come from a variety of breeding sources and habitats.

These insects are classified under the insect order Diptera (di = 2 and ptera = wings). Unlike most winged insects, which have 2 pairs of wings, dipterans (flies) have only one. The other pair of modified wings -halteres- works as gyroscopic stabilizers.

Mosquito-like insects cannot bite because they don’t have biting mouth parts (or if present, they cannot penetrate human or animal skin). They don’t transmit diseases to humans. Some of them can be a nuisance when their abundance increases quickly for a short period of time (often related to weather changes and usually in Spring and Fall).

To get help and information on mosquito-like flies, homeowners can contact the Santa Clara Vector Control District at (408) 918-4770 / (800) 675-1155 or send us your request for information.

More information:

    Insects that Resemble Mosquitoes
        Information on Midge, Crane Fly, and Gnat (Brochure)

    Mosquitoes vs. Midges, Crane Flies and Fungus Gnats
        Information on insects that resemble mosquitoes (Santa Clara County)

    Are You Raising Mosquitoes in Your Backyard?
        Information on mosquitoes and other insects that look like mosquitoes (Brochure)