No need to hide your children and board up the house in preparation for the apocalypse because of these insects known as Crane flies. Despite their scary looks and large numbers of them popping up around Tucson, Crane flies are harmless to humans and beneficial to the environment.

According to one website,  "Crane Flies grow up to 2 1/2 inches long, with a wingspan of three inches. They are grayish-brown and slender. Their legs are super-thin and long. They are usually about twice as long as their bodies."

During a wet winter or spring, these insects emerge from the soil, mate and lay eggs in their short 15-day or so adult life. They don't eat, although one website claims they might possibly partake of flower nectar. They are attracted to light and may try to sneak in on you.

These insects are actually considered beneficial, especially by gardeners. The larvae feed on decaying organic matter, thereby speeding decomposition, according to this website.