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How to Get Rid of Mayflies: 4 Effective Ways

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Mayflies (Ephemeroptera) are aquatic insects named after their emergence, i.e., May. Depending on their species and environmental conditions, you can expect them to emerge earlier or later. Other mayflies include the shadfly, lake fly, dayfly, drake, fishfly, and sandfly.

Its scientific name is a Greek word that means “short-lived.” It is because these insects emerge in large groups but have short lifespans typically live for about a few hours to 2-3 days. Mayflies are an important food source for fish and reptiles, so they are important.

However, the large swarms of these insects become a great hurdle for humans sometimes. Therefore, you must know how to get rid of mayflies. This article will explore the answer.

How to Get Rid of Mayflies
Mayfly via Flickr

How To Identify A Mayfly?

Mayflies are part of the order Ephemeroptera. They are insects that spend most of their life cycle as larvae, typically living in the water. The adult mayfly lives for about one week, resting on the water’s surface where they fly around in search of mates.

It comes out of the water’s surface and flies around in search of a mate. Due to their short lifespans, these insects need a mate as soon as possible.

They are found throughout the United States, especially near freshwater sources. The word “mayfly” is often used to describe any fly, but not all flies are mayflies. There are over 20,000 different flies, and only 150 of those are mayflies.

So, before you start spraying your lawn for mayflies, make sure you know what type of fly you’re dealing with. In this regard, you must how does a mayfly looks like.

Here are the basic identification points of a mayfly which you must know to get rid of them.

  • Mayflies are small, slender insects with two wings, 6 legs and antennae.
  • They can also have two or three tails, usually longer than their body.
  • There are many different species – some mayflies can be 1 mm long while others can be up to 25 cm long.
  • Another distinguishing feature of this type of fly is its wings. They have 4 wings in the pair of two, which they hold together above their body when resting.
  • Mayflies invade in large swarms, sometimes during their one-week life span.
  • A large number of mayflies is a prime indicator of water pollution. It is because when they die after their short life span, their dead bodies cover the water surfaces.
  • The emerging swarms of mayflies are so large that they cover the ground or water surfaces after the mating period, where they die off.
  • These flies are most active from May through July.
  • You will likely find them near freshwater sources, typically in the US.
  • The eggs of this fly are deposited in water after being hatched, and the nymphs feed on small aquatic animals, plants or organic material.
  • The annual production of mayflies is one generation.
How to Get Rid of Mayflies 2
Mayflies via Flickr

Are Mayflies Harmful?

There is nothing dangerous about mayflies because they cannot bite or sting. They only live for a few hours and then die, making them one of the most fragile species on earth. However, some threats associated with Mayflies are over-harvesting, habitat destruction, and pollution.

Furthermore, mayflies in large swarms can be dangerous, and they move in swarms during their mating period. Their large swarms could be frustrating and a hurdle while walking or driving. A large pile-up of their dead bodies often causes the road to be slippery.

Their buzzing can also deviate your mind from what you are trying to focus on. These are the few threats associated with this little species.

You wouldn’t want to have a large swarm of mayflies right above your head or in front of your car’s front mirror. Therefore, we have compiled some quick and easy tips to locate and get rid of mayflies.

4 Effective Ways on How to Get Rid of Mayflies

If you want to get rid of mayflies on your property, you should remove anything that the mayflies are attracted to. There are lots of things that they gravitate towards, such as light, heat, moisture, and standing water.

You can naturally control the invasion of mayflies through the following tips. Here are a few natural solutions to this common problem, and there are other steps you can take as well:

1.     Use Dim Lights

Mayflies are attracted to light and can be found in porch lights, patio lamps, street lights, outdoor lights and more. They are most prominent during the summer months when they become active at dusk. These insects will congregate around a light source at night as they enter a mating frenzy.

To reduce their accumulation around light sources, you need to avoid intense lighting around your house. Make sure the light is dim in your home’s exterior to avoid the possibility of mayflies entering your home.

The alternatives to intense lights you can use are outdoor LED lights, shed lights, deck lights, table lights, and string lights. They are primarily attracted to white light, so you can use yellow or bug lights to avoid them.

2.     Keep Mayflies Away From Freshwater Sources

Mayflies are a type of insect found in freshwater environments where they deposit their eggs after mating. So, make sure there is no stagnant water outside your home or yard.

Nothing can save your house from growing populations of mayflies if you have standing waters around. Here are a few methods to resolve this issue:

  • Make sure that you have covers for your swimming pools or ponds.
  • Use chemicals to control pests inside the water.
  • You can also use natural nymph predators to kill the mayfly larvae inside the water and control its population.
  • Ensure the cleanliness of your pools and keep them debris-free. There shouldn’t be any food sources in the water for this organism, such as algae or fallen leaves.
  • If you don’t want mayflies in your backyard, make sure to drain all water sources before sunset.

Irrespective of having pools and ponds in your house, these tips will help you keep all the mayflies at bay.

3.     Use Vacuum Cleaner

You can also use a vacuum cleaner or broom to sweep away any mayflies you see on the ground. The easiest way to get rid of them is to vacuum them up or sweep them into a dustpan and then dispose of the dustpan outside the house.

4.     Use Insecticide

If you find it difficult to get rid of the water source, use an insecticide like Bug Blaster or Pyrethrum Spray to kill them off. It is recommended you hire a pest control professional to get rid of mayflies if you live near a river or lake.

Few Traps To Get Rid Of Mayflies

  • One way to get rid of mayflies is by using a bug zapper around the lights to attract them.
  • Shut blinds and turn off the lights of your house immediately when they are not needed.
  • It would be best to use the first-class screens in your windows/doors to keep mayflies away.


The tips mentioned above and methods will kill the mayflies and prevent them from returning. We expect that you’ll find this article helpful in your effort to get rid of mayflies. If you did, please leave a comment in the box below and let us know!