The Guide To Understand Mayflies – Complete Guide (2023)

What Are Mayflies?

Mayflies are commonly known as fishflies and shadflies in Midwestern America and Cana. Some people also call them winged flies in the UK. Mayflies are aquatic insects that belong to the Ephemeroptera family, which is an ancient insect group. This group also includes damselflies and dragonflies. On top of everything, do you know that mayfly has over three thousand species, categorized into 42 families and more than 400 genera?

Mayflies tend to show off the ancestral trails – the ones that come from the first flying insects, including wings and long tails that don’t fold over the abdomen, not flatly at least. They lay eggs in the fresh water and are known as nymphs. If a freshwater body has these mayfly nymphs, it means that the aquatic environment is oxygenated, unpolluted, and clean. Mayflies are different from other insects by having winged stages and subimago which then grow into mature adults, known as imago.

Mayflies are known to hatch during the autumn season, but their growth starts in the spring season. Generally, this phase starts in May, but it can fluctuate as well. On top of everything, the mayflies are used by fly fishermen as bait. The mayflies tend to be active during the warm seasons as well. As far as appearance is concerned, they tend to be in brown, yellow, or gray colors and boast a thin yet long abdomen. Also, their larvae can be seen in lakes and streams (practically every water body.


Mayflies often vary in size since they can grow from 0.6cm to 1.1 inches, depending on the aquatic environment and feed. These insects are found around the world, but they are most common in North America. Also, they choose clean rivers and streams to hatch and grow. As for nurturing and growth, the larvae are likely to feed on detritus as well as other plant materials, but some of them consume smaller insects as well. On the other hand, adult and mature mayflies don’t eat.

The female mayflies lay eggs in water and spend most of their life in water, and within a short period, they transform into adults. Surprisingly, the adults only live for a day or two, but the larvae can survive for up to one year. The mature mayflies have two pairs of wings with a pale color and a slender body. When resting, these flies hold their wings together on the body. We have already mentioned that they are attracted to water, but they also get attracted to light.

It wouldn’t be wrong to say that mayflies are a nuisance when they swamp around the homes’ doorways and tend to make large groups. The most intriguing thing about male mayflies is that they die right after mating, while women mayflies will die after laying their eggs. On top of everything, they shed skin after dying and will crumble up.

Why Do Mayflies Cluster Up In Your Home?

There are different reasons why mayflies will cluster up in your home. In the majority of cases, they get attracted to lights and freshwater areas. In addition, they are likely to lay eggs during May and other summer months, which means they will cause a catastrophe when they are hatched. They are a nuisance that tends to hatch in streams and lakes and keep living and breeding there. As for as your home is concerned, mayflies tend to cluster up in homes and buildings while they mate.

In addition to this, they also cover the pathways, porches, and roads, which makes it difficult for people to move around and drive. Besides, they can cause an allergic reaction to the shed skin and their dead bodies, especially because they dry up and become airborne. Also, they are attracted to lights and gather in immense numbers in commercial buildings and homes. For this reason, you could try opting for yellow lights on the porch rather than sticking to bright white lights.

How To Get Rid Of Mayflies?

Before we tell you how how to get rid of mayfly, you need to understand the primary areas that tend to attract the mayflies. In the majority of cases, homes will be infested with mayflies when you live near water bodies, and there are white lights on your home or building. In this section, we are sharing how you can inspect the space, and we will also determine the conducive conditions that are likely to attract these aquatic mayflies.

The Inspection Areas

It’s evident that mayflies are likely to stick to the water bodies, but they can be seen in other areas as well. In addition, the mayflies are often attracted to lights which means you will see swarms of mayflies clustering around the night. Also, you will see piles of dead insects and their wings below the lights and around windows. Standing water attracts mayflies, and night lights will also attract them.

During the inspection phase, you have to look in your yard for excessive water and moisture (check for standing water as well). In case you have a pool, don’t forget to inspect that as well. In the outdoor settings, you need to look for the lighted areas, such as patios, front doors, porches, and everywhere else where there are lights switched on at night. That being said, you will be looking for moisture and outdoor lights. In addition, if you have a pool, keep it covered, especially during warmer months. Not to forget, when you identify these places, that’s where the treatment will be applied.

Applying The Treatment

When it’s time to apply the treatment, Reclaim IT is a promising insecticide concentrate that makes it suitable for killing mayflies. In addition to mayflies, they can kill more than seventy insects and will create a barrier around the home to prevent and repel the mayflies. It controls residues effectively & lasts up to 90 days when applied.


Once you have gotten rid of the mayfly, you should focus on preventing them. For this purpose, it’s suggested to switch off the outdoor lights at night. Mayflies can cause issues for drivers and homeowners during mating season, and water bodies need to be cleaned and covered to prevent infestation.

Where Do Mayflies Come From?

Mayflies are common all around the world, but they generally come from North America. Also, they fly to your homes and buildings during the warmer seasons from the water sources. In particular, they arise from freshwater sources, including ponds, lakes, and streams.

Will Mayflies Sting Or Bite Me?

No, mayfly don’t bite anyone, and they won’t sting wither. This is because the mayflies don’t have mouths (yup, they don’t eat). As larvae, they live in water and die within a day when they grow old. In addition, they are low likely to attack humans. Mayflies can swarm homes, causing issues during mating season & can be dangerous for drivers on the road.

How Bad Is The Sting Of A Mayfly?

Mayfly don’t sting, so you don’t have to worry about the sting and bite.

Are Mayflies Destructive?

They are not destructive and don’t pose any harm to human beings. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that mayfly is harmless to the ecosystem. Their nymphs are a vital part of the freshwater environment, and they become biomass for detritus and algae. On top of everything, they play an essential role in the nutrient cycling of the aquatic environment.

Do Mayflies Get Attracted To Water?

Yes, mayfly get attracted to water, which is why they are commonly seen around water bodies. They tend to use standing water for depositing eggs, and they even hatch in water. In addition to water, they are also attracted to white lights.

Why Are Mayflies Bad?

The mayflies can be a nuisance due to their dead bodies falling on the ground, making it difficult to walk. In addition, they swamp the roads, which makes it hard for people to drive. Other than that, there are not any bad impacts of them. Their dead bodies are a great source of nutrients for animals and plants.

Also checkout Related Articles:

Yellow Ladybugs & Ways To Prevent Them (2023)