bugs that look like mosquitoes

10 Bugs That Look Like Mosquitoes But Are Actually Not

Mosquitos are one of the least favorite creatures on earth. These blood-suckers not only feast on human blood but can also be a real nuisance as they can spread diseases. So, it’s no surprise that many people go the extra mile to eliminate mosquitos from their homes. However, many are also guilty of confusing other tiny flying insects for mosquitoes.

Most of these mosquito look-alikes are not worth fighting or killing because they’re often harmless and are more of a pesky annoyance. So, if you’re tired of swatting at any flying insect that buzzes around you, it’s best to learn about the common bugs that look like mosquitoes so you can deal with them accordingly!

10 Bugs That Look Like Mosquitoes

Before we get into which bugs look like mosquitoes, let’s first get a better picture of the physical appearance of mosquitos. Mosquitoes have three distinguishable features — their proboscis, humpback body, and elongated, fringed wings.

The proboscis is the body part that these blood suckers use to drink your blood. It extends forward from their mouths. Then there’s the female mosquito’s humpback body that does not touch any other body parts’ surfaces when resting. Finally, a mosquito’s wings are longer than its body and have scales that give the wings’ edges a slightly fringed look.

Here are some common look-alikes that can easily be mistaken as mosquitoes, especially from afar.

#1. Crane Flies

Crane Flies

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Crane flies, also called mosquito hawks, have slender bodies about 2 inches long and long legs with tan-colored bodies. The larvae of crane flies love settling in moist soil, decomposing materials, and muddy waters. These flies have earned the nickname of mosquito eaters, which is not fitting, as they don’t eat mosquitos. It stems from a false belief that they do. Crane fly species typically feed on decaying vegetation or nectar.

These insects are harmless, do not bite, and pose no risk to your health, although they can be a nuisance when they appear in large numbers.

#2. Fungus Gnats

Fungus Gnats

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You’d most likely see fungus gnats during early summer, spring, and fall. These insects are weak flyers, so it’s easy to spot them as they usually stay near potted plants or sometimes in leaf litter and foliage. Fungus gnats have thin legs, clear to gray-colored wings, and segmented antennae that are longer than its head. The entire length of its body is about 1/16 to 1/8 inch.

The female fungus gnats lay eggs in any moist organic material they can find, often settling in potting soils. To support the growth of the larvae, it feeds on decaying vegetation and leaf litter. Much like crane flies, these creatures are more of an annoyance than a health hazard as they don’t pose any threat to humans or other animals.

#3. Midges


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Another small fly that can be likened to a mosquito is a midge. While they do look similar, midges have wings that are much shorter than their bodies. And unlike a mosquito that feasts on you like an eat-all-you-can meal, midges are harmless and won’t bite you. But they can be bothersome, especially if your property is near big aquatic natural habitats.

Adult midges have a short lifespan, and flying is not their strongest skill. And what attracts these insects to your home is light — porch lights, light decorations, or any light would serve as an open invitation for these creatures to swarm to your place.

#4. Chiggers


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Although chiggers are smaller than mosquitos, they are often confused with each other because chiggers are also biting insects. They do not suck blood, but they do feast on skin tissue and can cause a nasty itch.

These wingless insects that cannot fly are often called red bugs, berry bugs, or harvest mites. Chiggers are actually arachnids, like spiders, but are tiny. Chigger bites are often not painful, but they can be severely itchy. Up close, you’d automatically know that it’s a chigger and not a mosquito because of its bright red coloring.

#5. Drain Flies

Drain Flies

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Also known as sewage flies, filter flies, or moth flies, these are small insects with fuzzy wings. Unfortunately, these flies love the not-so-sanitary places in your home, like the floor, sinks, showers, and drain pipes.

Most adult drain flies, as their name suggests, love resting near drains or hovering near drains. They are largely harmless as they don’t sting or bite, but they can quickly spread bacteria, given the places they are fond of making their homes in.

#6. Caoborid Gnats

Caoborid Gnats

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This kind of gnat is commonly known as phantom midge because they are smaller than your typical mosquito and look almost translucent.

The larvae of caoborid gnats stay in the water and can look 100% transparent. Usually, large swarms of caoborid gnats are seen during the summer near and over lakes. These gnats are also harmless as they’re non-biting insects, but they can be frustrating if they’re present in large numbers.

#7. Dance Flies

Dance Flies

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The dance flies got their name from the unpredictable flight patterns of male dance flies that’s likened to a dance. These insects typically fly above fence posts, shrubs, and other stationary things.

Of all these dopplegangers, dance flies do look very similar to mosquitoes. However, their legs are thicker. The good thing about dance flies is they prefer staying outside your home, so you don’t need to worry about them entering through your opened doors or windows.

#8. Owl Midges

Owl Midges

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Owl midges, also called sewer flies, are hairy insects that, like mosquitoes, thrive in drains, sewers, showers, or any other places where there’s stagnant water.

Compared to mosquitoes, owl midges are smaller and stockier and have thicker wings. Owl midges are also not the strongest flyers, but they move relatively fast. When these insects start populating a specific area of your property, it’s a sign that you should check for any leaks in your plumbing system.

#9. Mayflies


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Mayflies love to live in fast-moving bodies of water like rivers and streams and also in other freshwater sources. You can also easily distinguish may flies from mosquitos thanks to their more pronounced wings.

These insects play a significant role in the food chain because many fishes and other wild animals consider mayflies as their primary food source. They have a very short life span and don’t pose any threat to humans, so it’s best to leave them alone.

#10. Wood Gnats

Wood Gnats

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Another representative of the gnat family that can easily be mistaken for a mosquito is the wood gnat. These buzzers are attracted to light sources, so it is easy to spot where they love to hang out — near your windows and light fixtures.

Wood gnats are thin like mosquitoes but have smaller wings. Their larvae thrive in decaying and rotting plants and animal manure and have very short lifespans. Wood gnats also don’t bite or sting.

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