Giant mosquitoes on the rise in parts of SoCal - but they're not mosquitoes

LANCASTER, Calif. (KABC) -- Have you seen more of those giant mosquitoes buzzing around lately? Officials say the big insects are on the rise - but they're not mosquitoes.

The Antelope Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District (AVMVCD) has been receiving numerous calls from residents about them. District entomologist Karen Mellor says those pesky bugs are actually crane flies.

"Crane flies look similar to mosquitoes, but are quite a bit larger. The good thing is that they don't bite or cause any diseases. But they can be very annoying, especially in large numbers," Mellor said in a press release.

Recent weather conditions were just right for a bumper crop of these crane flies, officials said, adding that the bugs usually don't live very long and are expected to be gone in a few weeks.

The AVMVCD recommended that residents should turn off outdoor lights at night, since insects are attracted to light.

Although these crane flies are not mosquitoes, residents were advised to check their properties for standing water to avoid mosquito breeding.

Due to the winter rain and recent high temperatures, mosquito activity has already been detected in some spots, especially unkempt swimming pools, officials said.

The AVMVCD's Board of Trustees recently decided to focus on invasive mosquito species that are capable of transmitting diseases like Zika virus, dengue fever and yellow fever.

Such mosquitoes have already been found in the Central Valley and Southern California, including the San Fernando Valley.

Officials encouraged residents to report mosquitoes that bite during the day, so specialists can follow up surveillance and find possible infestations.

For more information from the AVMVCD, visit

The AVMVCD recommends the following tips to keep mosquitoes away and stay safe:

More tips to keep mosquitoes away and stay safe:
- Follow the 3 Ds (Drain, Dusk/Dawn, Defend/DEET)
- Check your property for any standing water from sprinklers or showers
- Turn on fans to keep mosquitoes away
- Keep screen doors and windows in good repair and close them
- Don't use bug zappers near your patio - they attract more mosquitoes than they kill
- Vaccinate your horses properly
- Report stagnant pools and other backyard sources to the AVMVCD
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