Lake flies, also known as midges, are a common sight around lakes and other bodies of water. While they do not transmit diseases, their bites can be quite irritating and uncomfortable. As such, it’s important to know the best time of day to avoid them if you plan on spending time near the water.
Understanding Lake Flies
Lake flies are a type of aquatic insect that are commonly found in freshwater lakes, ponds, and rivers. They are also known as mayflies, shadflies, or fishflies. These insects are an important part of the food chain, serving as a food source for many aquatic birds, fish, and other organisms.
Lake flies are often mistaken for mosquitoes, but they do not bite. They are harmless to humans and do not transmit any diseases. However, they can be a nuisance when they swarm in large numbers, especially during their mating season.
Lake flies have a short lifespan, typically living for only a few days to a few weeks. They spend most of their lives in the water as nymphs before emerging as adults. Adult lake flies are attracted to light and will often swarm around streetlights and other sources of light at night.
During their mating season, which typically occurs in the late spring and early summer, adult lake flies will swarm in large numbers over bodies of water. They will mate and lay their eggs on the surface of the water before dying shortly thereafter.
While lake flies do not pose any direct threat to humans, their swarms can be a nuisance. It is important to take precautions to avoid being caught in a swarm, especially during their mating season.
Identifying Biting Lake Flies
Biting lake flies can be a nuisance for those who enjoy spending time near the water. It is important to be able to identify these flies to take the necessary precautions to avoid their bites. Here are some common types of biting lake flies:
Black flies are small, dark flies that are often found near running water. They are most active during the day and their bites can be painful and itchy. Black flies are attracted to carbon dioxide and dark colors, so wearing light-colored clothing and using insect repellent can help to deter them.
Sand flies are small, biting flies that are found near sandy areas, such as beaches and dunes. They are most active during the evening and night and their bites can be painful and itchy. Sand flies are attracted to warmth and moisture, so wearing long sleeves and pants and using insect repellent can help to prevent their bites.
Horse flies are large, biting flies that are found near bodies of water, such as lakes and rivers. They are most active during the day and their bites can be painful and leave a welt. Horse flies are attracted to movement and dark colors, so wearing light-colored clothing and using insect repellent can help to deter them.
Deer flies are similar in appearance to horse flies, but are smaller and have dark bands on their wings. They are most active during the day and their bites can be painful and itchy. Deer flies are attracted to movement and dark colors, so wearing light-colored clothing and using insect repellent can help to prevent their bites.
Best Times to Avoid Lake Flies
When planning a trip to a lake, it’s important to consider the time of day when lake flies are most active. By avoiding these times, visitors can reduce their chances of being bitten and enjoy a more comfortable experience.
The early morning hours are generally a good time to avoid lake flies. These insects tend to be less active during this time, as they prefer warmer temperatures and higher humidity levels. However, it’s still important to take precautions, as some species of lake flies may still be present.
As the day heats up, so do the lake flies. During the afternoon, these insects are at their most active, making it a less than ideal time to visit the lake. Visitors should take extra care during this time, wearing protective clothing and using insect repellent to avoid bites.
As the sun begins to set, lake flies tend to become less active. This makes the evening hours a good time to visit the lake, especially if visitors are looking to avoid the crowds. However, it’s still important to take precautions, as some species of lake flies may still be present.
While lake flies are generally less active at night, some species are known to be nocturnal. Visitors should take extra care during this time, using insect repellent and wearing protective clothing to avoid bites. It’s also important to avoid bright lights, as these can attract lake flies and other insects.
Seasonal Impact on Lake Flies Activity
Lake flies are a common nuisance for those living near freshwater bodies. While they are harmless, their presence can be irritating and uncomfortable. Understanding the seasonal impact on lake fly activity can help individuals plan their outdoor activities and avoid these pesky insects.
Lake flies typically emerge in the early spring, usually in April or early May, coinciding with the onset of warm weather. They remain active for 2-4 weeks, during which time they mate and lay eggs. The eggs hatch into larvae, which develop in the lake’s sediment and feed on organic matter.
The larvae pupate and emerge as adults in late summer or early fall, usually in August or September. These flies are often referred to as “fall lake flies.” They are less numerous than their spring counterparts and are not as much of a nuisance.
The activity level of lake flies is also influenced by weather conditions. Warm, sunny days with low wind speeds are ideal for lake fly activity. Conversely, cool, cloudy days with high wind speeds can significantly reduce their numbers.
It is important to note that lake fly activity can vary from year to year, depending on weather patterns and other environmental factors. Individuals should stay informed about local conditions and adjust their outdoor activities accordingly.
Location Specific Tips
Different locations may have different types of lake flies and varying levels of infestation. Here are some location-specific tips to help avoid lake flies:
South Florida is known for its large population of lake flies. To avoid them, it’s best to stay away from standing water and areas with high humidity. If possible, stay indoors during dawn and dusk when lake flies are most active. Use screens on windows and doors to keep them out of your home. It’s also a good idea to keep your lawn and surrounding areas well-trimmed to reduce breeding grounds for lake flies.
Lake Winnebago in Wisconsin experiences an annual hatch of lake flies. It’s best to avoid being near the lake during this time, which typically occurs in late May to early June. If you must be near the lake, wear long sleeves and pants, and use insect repellent. Avoid wearing bright colors or floral prints, which can attract lake flies.
Coastal areas are prone to biting gnats, also known as no-see-ums. These tiny flies are most active during dawn and dusk. To avoid them, wear long sleeves and pants, and use insect repellent. Avoid using scented products, which can attract them. It’s also a good idea to avoid standing water and areas with high humidity.
If you own a lakeside property, there are several steps you can take to reduce the number of lake flies. Keep the water moving with a fountain or waterfall to prevent stagnant water. Introduce predatory insects, such as dragonflies, to help control the population. Keep your lawn and surrounding areas well-trimmed to reduce breeding grounds. Use screens on windows and doors to keep them out of your home.
Protective Measures Against Biting Lake Flies
Biting lake flies can be a nuisance when trying to enjoy time near the water. However, there are several protective measures that can be taken to avoid their bites.
Use Insect Repellents
One of the most effective ways to protect against biting lake flies is to use an EPA-approved insect repellent that contains DEET. Apply the repellent to exposed skin and clothing, following the instructions on the label. It is also important to reapply the repellent as directed, especially if swimming or sweating.
Wear Protective Clothing
Wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and socks can help protect against biting lake flies. Light-colored clothing can also help, as dark colors tend to attract these insects. Tucking pants into socks and wearing a hat can further reduce the risk of bites.
Avoid Peak Activity Times
Biting lake flies are most active during dawn and dusk, so it is best to avoid spending time near the water during these times. If possible, plan outdoor activities during midday when the flies are less active.
Use Fans and Screens
Using fans or screens can help keep biting lake flies away from outdoor areas. Fans create a breeze that can make it difficult for flies to fly, while screens can prevent them from entering indoor spaces.
Keep the Area Clean
Biting lake flies are attracted to standing water and decaying organic matter. To reduce their presence, it is important to keep the area clean and free of debris. This includes removing any standing water, such as in bird baths or flower pots, and disposing of any organic matter, such as fallen leaves or grass clippings.
In conclusion, avoiding lake flies that bite can be a challenge, but it is possible. By following the tips and tricks mentioned in this article, individuals can greatly reduce their chances of being bitten by these pesky insects.