Biting lake flies are a common problem for those who live near lakes or spend time outdoors during the summer months. These pesky insects can quickly ruin a relaxing day by the water, leaving itchy bites and a general feeling of discomfort. Fortunately, there are several proven methods to repel biting lake flies and enjoy your time outdoors without interruption.
Understanding Lake Flies
Lake flies, also known as non-biting midges, are a group of mosquito-like insects commonly found around lakes. They are small, slender, and have long legs. It’s important to note that they do not bite, unlike their mosquito counterparts. This means lake flies do not transmit vector-borne diseases. Lake flies are also known as midges.
Lake flies have a short lifespan of only a few days to a few weeks. They lay their eggs in the water, and the larvae feed on organic matter in the water. Adult lake flies emerge from the water and swarm in large numbers around lights at night. They are attracted to light, so it’s common to find them around outdoor lights, especially near bodies of water.
While lake flies are not harmful to humans, they can be a nuisance. Their swarms can be overwhelming, and they can be difficult to get rid of. There are several methods to control lake flies, including light traps and pesticide spraying. However, it’s important to consider the environmental impact of these methods before using them.
It’s also important to note that some species of lake flies are sensitive indicators of water quality. They are used as bioindicators to monitor the health of aquatic ecosystems. Therefore, it’s important to take steps to maintain good water quality to prevent the overpopulation of lake flies.
Importance of Repelling Lake Flies
Biting lake flies can be a nuisance to anyone spending time near the water. These flies can quickly ruin a peaceful day by causing painful bites that can last for days. In addition to the discomfort they cause, they can also transmit diseases to humans and animals. Therefore, it is essential to repel these flies to avoid bites and health risks.
There are several reasons why repelling lake flies is important. Firstly, these flies can cause significant discomfort to humans and animals. Their bites can be painful and itchy, leading to swelling and redness around the bite area. This can cause severe discomfort and make it difficult to enjoy outdoor activities.
Secondly, biting lake flies can transmit diseases to humans and animals. Some of the diseases that these flies can transmit include West Nile virus, tularemia, and equine infectious anemia. These diseases can cause severe health problems and, in some cases, can be fatal.
Thirdly, repelling lake flies can help to prevent the spread of these diseases. By repelling these flies, individuals can reduce their exposure to these diseases and minimize the risk of transmission.
Proven Method 1: Use of Insect Repellents
Insect repellents are one of the most effective ways to repel biting lake flies. A good insect repellent can keep biting flies at bay for hours, allowing you to enjoy your time outdoors without having to worry about getting bitten.
When selecting an insect repellent, it is important to choose one that is effective against the specific type of biting fly you are trying to repel. For biting lake flies, look for a repellent that contains DEET or picaridin, as these ingredients have been shown to be effective against this type of fly.
It is also important to follow the instructions on the label carefully. Apply the repellent evenly to all exposed skin, and reapply as directed. Keep in mind that repellents can be washed off by sweat or water, so if you are swimming or sweating heavily, you may need to reapply more frequently.
If you are concerned about the potential health risks associated with DEET, there are also natural insect repellents available that use ingredients like lemon eucalyptus oil or citronella. While these natural repellents may not be as effective as DEET-based products, they can still provide some protection against biting flies.
Proven Method 2: Protective Clothing
Wearing protective clothing is a simple yet effective way to prevent biting lake flies from attacking your skin. The clothes should be made of thick, tightly woven fabric that covers as much skin as possible. Light-colored clothing is also recommended as it is less attractive to biting insects.
For the best protection against biting lake flies, it is recommended to wear long-sleeved shirts and pants. Tucking pants into socks and wearing closed-toe shoes can also help prevent bites. Additionally, wearing a hat with a wide brim can protect the face and neck from bites.
It is also worth considering treating your clothing with permethrin, an insecticide that repels and kills biting insects. Permethrin-treated clothing can provide long-lasting protection against biting lake flies and other insects.
When choosing protective clothing, it is important to consider the temperature and humidity of the environment. In hot and humid conditions, lightweight and breathable fabrics such as cotton or linen are recommended to prevent overheating and sweating.
Proven Method 3: Natural Remedies
For those who prefer to use natural remedies, there are several options to repel biting lake flies. Here are some proven methods:
1. Essential Oils
Essential oils such as peppermint, lavender, tea tree, and eucalyptus have been found to repel biting flies. These oils can be mixed with a carrier oil like coconut oil and applied to the skin or added to a diffuser to keep flies away.
2. Citronella Candles
Citronella candles are a popular and effective way to repel biting flies. The scent of citronella masks the human scent, which is what attracts flies. These candles can be used indoors or outdoors.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a natural repellent for flies. Mix equal parts of apple cider vinegar and water in a spray bottle and spray it around the area where flies are present. The strong scent of vinegar will keep the flies away.
Garlic is another natural repellent for flies. Crush a few cloves of garlic and mix it with water. Spray the mixture around the area where flies are present. The strong smell of garlic will keep the flies away.
Basil is a natural repellent for flies and other insects. Plant basil in pots around your home or use dried basil in sachets to keep flies away.
Proven Method 4: Bug Zappers
Bug zappers are a popular method for repelling biting flies, but their effectiveness varies depending on the type of bug. According to a Wirecutter article, bug zappers are ineffective against mosquitoes and other biting flies, but they can be effective against other types of insects.
When choosing a bug zapper, it’s important to consider the coverage area and voltage. The PureWow article recommends the Gootop Bug Zapper as the best overall bug zapper, while the Bite Shield Racket Zapper is recommended for flies. The Bob Vila article recommends the Flowtron BK40DK 1-Acre Electronic Insect Killer as the best overall bug zapper.
The Livin’ Well Indoor and Outdoor Bug Zapper is recommended as the best budget option, while the Black & Decker Indoor Bug Zapper is recommended for indoor use. The Mosiller Smart Bug Zapper Electric Fly Swatter Racket is recommended as the best handheld option.
It’s important to note that bug zappers can also attract insects, so it’s best to place them away from areas where people will be spending time. Additionally, bug zappers should be cleaned regularly to ensure they remain effective.
Proven Method 5: Insect Traps
Insect traps are an effective way to control biting lake flies. These traps work by attracting and capturing the flies, reducing their population around the lake. There are different types of insect traps available in the market, and choosing the right one depends on the type of biting fly and the area you want to protect.
One type of insect trap is the sticky trap, which uses a sticky substance to trap the flies. These traps are effective in catching biting flies that are attracted to light, such as black flies and mosquitoes. Sticky traps are easy to use and can be placed in different areas around the lake.
Another type of insect trap is the UV light trap, which uses ultraviolet light to attract biting flies. These traps are effective in catching biting flies that are attracted to light, such as black flies and mosquitoes. UV light traps are easy to use and can be placed in different areas around the lake.
Insect traps can also be used in combination with other methods, such as repellents and protective clothing, to provide further protection against biting flies. It is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using insect traps to ensure their effectiveness.
Proven Method 6: Clean Environment
Keeping the environment clean is one of the most effective ways to repel biting lake flies. These pesky insects are attracted to dirty and damp environments where they can lay their eggs. By keeping the environment clean and dry, you can reduce the number of biting flies in the area.
One of the ways to keep the environment clean is by removing any standing water around the lake. Biting flies lay their eggs in stagnant water, and removing it will reduce the number of flies in the area. Additionally, cleaning up any debris or trash around the lake will also help reduce the number of breeding sites for the flies.
Another way to keep the environment clean is by regularly cleaning up after any outdoor activities. This includes picking up any food scraps, emptying trash cans, and disposing of any waste properly. By doing so, you can reduce the number of odors that attract biting flies.
It is also important to keep the area around the lake well-maintained. This includes regularly mowing the grass and trimming any overgrown vegetation. Biting flies are attracted to tall grass and vegetation, and by keeping the area well-maintained, you can reduce the number of flies in the area.
Proven Method 7: Professional Pest Control
When all else fails, it may be necessary to seek the help of a professional pest control company to rid your property of biting lake flies. These companies have access to specialized equipment and products that may not be available to the general public.
Professional pest control companies can perform a thorough inspection of your property to identify the source of the biting lake flies and develop a customized treatment plan. They may use a combination of methods such as insecticides, traps, and exclusion techniques to eliminate the flies and prevent them from returning.
It is important to choose a reputable pest control company that is licensed and insured. Ask for referrals from friends and family, and check online reviews before hiring a company. Be sure to ask about their methods and products to ensure they are safe for you, your family, and your pets.
While professional pest control can be more expensive than DIY methods, it may be worth it for severe infestations or for those who have tried other methods without success. A professional can provide peace of mind and effective results.
Proven Method 8: Use of Decoys
Using decoys is a proven method for repelling biting lake flies. Decoys can be used to attract the flies away from humans and towards the decoys instead. This is a particularly effective method for those who are fishing or spending time on a boat or dock.
There are several types of decoys that can be used to repel biting lake flies. One option is to use bird decoys, such as ducks or geese. These decoys can be placed in the water or on the shore to attract the flies away from humans. Another option is to use decoys that resemble the flies themselves. These decoys can be placed on the water or on the shore to trick the flies into thinking that there are already enough flies in the area.
When using decoys, it is important to keep them in motion. This will help to create the illusion of movement and make the decoys more attractive to the flies. Additionally, it is important to place the decoys in areas where the flies are likely to be present, such as near vegetation or other areas where the flies like to congregate.
Proven Method 9: Use of Insecticides
Insecticides are another effective way to repel biting lake flies. They work by killing the flies or making them avoid the area. Here are some of the best insecticides to use against biting lake flies:
Ortho Home Defense Max Indoor Insect Killer
This insecticide is perfect for indoor use. It creates a barrier around your windows, doors, and other points of entry to keep the flies out. It is also effective against other insects such as spiders, ants, and roaches.
Sawyer Products 20% Picaridin Insect Repellent
This is a great insect repellent for outdoor use. It is effective against a wide range of insects, including biting flies, mosquitoes, and ticks. It is also long-lasting, providing protection for up to 12 hours.
Deep Woods Aerosol
This insect repellent is perfect for camping and other outdoor activities. It is effective against biting flies, mosquitoes, and other insects. It is also long-lasting, providing protection for up to 8 hours.
Murphy’s Naturals Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent
This is an all-natural insect repellent that is safe for use around children and pets. It is effective against biting flies, mosquitoes, and other insects. It is also long-lasting, providing protection for up to 6 hours.
When using insecticides, it is important to follow the instructions on the label carefully. Do not use more than the recommended amount, and do not apply the insecticide to areas where it is not intended to be used. Always wear gloves and protective clothing when handling insecticides, and wash your hands thoroughly after use.
Proven Method 10: Biological Control
Biological control is a pesticide-free method that involves the use of beneficial organisms to manage pest species. This method can be effective in suppressing biting lake flies.
Most biological control organisms produced and sold commercially for biting fly management are for use against the immature stages. One example is the use of the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (Bti), which is toxic to the larvae of biting flies. Bti can be applied to standing water where biting flies breed, such as ponds and marshes.
Another example of biological control is the use of predatory insects, such as dragonflies and damselflies. These insects are natural predators of biting flies and can help to reduce their populations.
It is important to note that while biological control can be effective, it is not a quick solution. It may take time for the beneficial organisms to establish themselves and begin to have an impact on the biting fly population. Additionally, biological control should not be relied upon as the sole method of biting fly control.
Precautions When Repelling Lake Flies
When it comes to repelling biting lake flies, there are several precautions that individuals should take to ensure their safety. Here are some of the most important precautions to keep in mind:
1. Avoid Using Harmful Chemicals
While insect repellents can be effective at repelling biting lake flies, it’s important to be cautious when using them. Many insect repellents contain harmful chemicals that can cause skin irritation, respiratory problems, and other health issues. Individuals should always read the labels of insect repellents carefully and use them in accordance with the instructions provided.
2. Cover Up
One of the most effective ways to repel biting lake flies is to cover up as much skin as possible. This means wearing long-sleeved shirts, pants, and hats. Individuals may also want to consider wearing clothing made from tightly woven fabrics, which can provide an extra layer of protection against biting flies.
3. Use Natural Repellents
There are several natural repellents that can be used to repel biting lake flies. These include essential oils like lemongrass, peppermint, and lemon eucalyptus, as well as catnip oil. These natural repellents can be applied directly to the skin or added to a carrier oil, such as coconut oil, and applied topically.
4. Avoid Biting Fly Hotspots
Biting lake flies tend to congregate in certain areas, such as near stagnant water or areas with an abundance of vegetation. Individuals should avoid these hotspots whenever possible to reduce their risk of being bitten.
5. Use Protective Netting
Another effective way to repel biting lake flies is to use protective netting. This can include mosquito netting for tents or outdoor areas, as well as hats or other clothing items with built-in netting. Protective netting can help prevent biting flies from coming into contact with the skin, reducing the risk of bites and irritation.
Biting lake flies can be a nuisance for anyone spending time near the water. Fortunately, there are numerous effective methods to repel them and keep them at bay. By combining these methods, individuals can enjoy their time by the lake without being constantly bothered by these pesky insects.