Brace yourselves for a massive invasion of daddy long-legs in the next few months.
Billions of daddy long-legs, also known as crane flies, will be hatching this fall— all thanks to climate change.
Due to a particularly warm summer and increased rainfall, some 200 billion of the terrifying (but ultimately harmless) insects will be coming to leaves near you, providing a surge in food supply for wildlife, particularly birds and spiders who feast on crane flies.
“When the summer is warmer [crane flies] have more chance of wandering between houses and colonizing that way,” Rory Dimond, Conservation Volunteer and Survey Contractor of the insect conservation nonprofit Buglife, told The Derry Journal.
So, you might be finding more of these guys lurking in your house, especially if you live in the U.K.
Luckily, most of the critters set to hatch this fall are Tipula paludosa, a species of crane fly measuring up to just an inch long.
However, a non-native species known as Tipula maxima, also known as the especially creepy four-inch-long daddy long legs, will be spreading north due to warming temperatures.
The good news is: aside from the resulting nightmares, this daddy long-legs invasion will be relatively harmless.
As it turns out, crane flies are only harmful to you if you really value your garden. The insects damage lawns, especially in the spring, and will undoubtedly lead more wildlife to the area (since, apparently, they’re a particularly tasty snack).
You should also know, for the sake of being an educated person, that a recent study on the mating habits of long-legged arachnids determined that daddy long-legs engage in pretty rough sex.
According to evolutionary biologist Kasey Fowler-Finn, who studies the arachnids at St. Louis University, there’s a lot of aggression in the mating process (involving a lot of biting) and some even lose legs during the ordeal.
So, you can let that mental image haunt your dreams this fall with the baby boom of creepy crawlies.