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Thursday, April 20, 2023

April Showers Bring Mayflies: What To Do When These Bugs Swarm

Each spring, one pesky pest seems to come out of nowhere: the mayfly. These flies flock to porch lights in droves, causing doors to slam shut around the country. Worst of all, despite their name, mayflies stick around all summer long.

If these unwelcome guests have been knocking at your door, here is everything you need to know about mayfly season and how to get rid of them.

Rethink Your Lighting

So, what attracts mayflies? The short answer: light. They tend to gather near doorways or around light sources, frequently in large numbers. They’ll crowd overhead parking lot lamps, hang tight in your entryway corners, and buzz as close as possible to your headlights throughout the warmer months.

Try keeping outside lights off as much as possible and your screens, windows, and doors properly sealed at all times. You can also replace any fluorescent bulbs with yellow bulbs and mercury-vapor lamps with high-pressure sodium vapor lamps, as they produce less heat and infrared light that attracts bugs.

Keep Your Yard Off Nursery Duty

Mayflies are aquatic insects that begin as eggs laid in water and hatch after about two weeks. However, they can undergo a period of no growth known as diapause, which gives the eggs time to wait until the best environmental conditions for hatching — like warm, sunny weather.

Once hatched, they become nymphs, and their lifespan ranges from two weeks to two years. They’ll molt, or shed skin, as many as 50 times. When their growth is complete, their skin splits down their back to reveal the winged form we are familiar with. Once their wings have emerged, they leave the water.

If you’re rather fond of your bird baths, fountains, and fish ponds being pest-free, keep the water and structures clean and maintained, checking any place with standing water for evidence of a mayfly habitat.

Be Patient

Mayflies are famous for their short lifespans. Upon maturing, they fly away to mate. The males die shortly after mating, while the females die after laying their eggs. This is primarily due to their lack of functioning mouth parts, so they physically cannot eat and won’t survive past a few days. So, if you find you’re hosting a mayfly party each night, be patient and contact a pest control professional.

Proactively Avoid Infestation

On top of sealing cracks and holes and maintaining their breeding grounds, there’s not much more you can do for mayflies. If you find yourself entertaining these bugs’ nightly discos, call Hughes Exterminators for a personalized pest control plan.