About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The most common mosquitoes in Michigan.

Psorophora ciliataImage by smccann via Flickr
It was nice to have the rains but now the mosquitoes are out in full force. Michigan State University Entomologist Ned Walker reported to several news agencies that he believes this is the highest mosquito population we've seen in about 20 years.

There are about 60 species of mosquitoes buzzing around Michigan. We have 3 major types of Mosquitoes: Permanent Water Mosquitoes, Floodwater Mosquitoes, and Artificial Container/ Tree Hole Mosquitoes.

The types of mosquitoes in the Summer Floodwater Mosquitoes group have the fastest breeding cycle and are the most common in Michigan. Larvae can hatch, after summer storms that produce as little as 1 inch of water, from eggs that may have rested in the ground for years.

The Psorophora ciliata (Gallinipper Mosquito) is the largest mosquito in Michigan. This 1/2 inch long, ­yellow/brown, floodwater mosquito has shaggy striped legs and is a vicious biter attacking during the daytime as well as evening. I haven't seen it but I do have the creepy crawlies now. 

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Anonymous said...

Was out golfing this past friday and the guy we were golfing with was wearing a ball cap. At the 17 hole, I noticed he has a couple mosquitoes on his cap. I looked and there was one about the size of an inch. This was the largest one I have every seen. I would have hate to have bitten by that one. Any ideas of what it was. I know they say it was an asian tiger but they are still the same size as the normal ones.

Wild Birds Unlimited Mid-Michigan said...

You might have seen a Crane Fly (Gnophomyia Tristissima) which are very common in July and August. These “giant mosquitoes” aren’t mosquitoes at all and don’t bite. They typically don’t feed as adult flies and only live a few days to mate and lay eggs. The larvae develop in rotting wood.
More information can be found at: http://www.cirrusimage.com/flies_crane_Gnophomyia.htm

There are over 1500 species of crane fly (Family Tipulidae) in North America ranging in size from 0.079–2.4 inches. Four are considered pests.

The European Crane Fly larvae have recently been causing a problem at golf courses. The larvae, known as leatherjackets, feed on underground plant parts during the day and will emerge to feed on stems and grass blades on damp warm nights. This feeding can cause patches of grass to die.

Jeff said...

I have seen these as well in Ann Arbor area and they do not fit the description of Crane flies from that link. They have very broad shoulders and behavior is very mosquitoe-like. They have landed on me but didn't live long enough to bite. I'll have to take a picture soon.