How to Get Rid of Mayflies

Mayflies are a type of insect that lives for only a few hours. They live in freshwater and can be found all over the world. What is most interesting about these creatures is their life cycle, which takes place over one day. This blog post will discuss what mayflies eat, how they reproduce, and where you can find them to learn more about this fascinating creature!

What is a Mayfly

Mayflies are an order (Ephemeroptera) of insects found around freshwater and coastal habitats throughout the world. There are about 9,000 species that have been described. These insects can be broadly classified into two suborders: Pannota – only one extant family, the Heptageniidae; and Ephemeroidea – the remaining eight families and extinct ones such as Baetidae.

Mayflies are fascinating insects that can be found in freshwater and saltwater environments. Their habitat is just about anywhere there’s water. They feed on other insects and cover their bodies in a thick layer of fluid to protect them from the water.

One interesting fact about mayflies is that they are the only animals that go through complete metamorphosis twice in their lives. For most other insects, metamorphosis is a three-step process that includes tiny larvae, larger pupae, and the adult stage. In contrast, mayflies go through this same process twice in their lives. This means that they start as aquatic, nymphal creatures and emerge from the water after a few weeks or months as flying adults.

Then, after this emergence (and subsequent mating), these adults die. They don’t die at all; mayflies go through something called “emergence decay.” Their bodies slowly break down until only the exoskeleton is left behind.

 Mayflies can be found all over the world, but mainly in North America. Mayfly larvae live underwater, feeding on algae or other organic matter near the water’s surface. The mayfly is an important food source for many animals like bluegills, trout, and caddisflies which eat them while they’re still alive (before they become adults). The mayfly also provides a significant amount of energy to plants by acting as an essential part of nature’s recycling system. Because mayflies are aquatic species, their body contents contain a high level of nitrogen. This can be a dangerous chemical for plants if too much accumulates, so mayfly larvae clean the water by eating and processing algae which detoxifies it safely. Once they die and sink to the bottom, bacteria further break down their bodies, releasing the stored nitrogen back to the water.

What do Mayflies Look Like?

Mayflies are one of the most ancient groups of winged insects in existence. They are also the only living insects that reproduce by shedding their skin. This process is called molting, and it occurs when their exoskeleton outgrows their body. This process can happen more than once with some species.

Mayflies are insects with an aquatic nymph stage or larva. Their eggs are laid on the surface of the water, usually where oxygen levels are highest. The eggs hatch into larvae that live underwater before emerging as adults, also known as the subimago, just before they fly away.

The insects have three main body parts – head, thorax, and abdomen. The thorax contains six jointed legs and wings used for flying; the head is protected by a pair of large protective plates known as compound eyes; the compound eyes of mayflies also contain two “simple eyes” (ocelli) on either side, which detect changes in light levels more accurately than insect’s compound eyes do; antennae; and chewing mouthparts.

Mayflies undergo three different stages of life: egg, nymph, and adult. The adults live only for a short time (days), while the nymph can spend years underwater before transforming into an adult. The nymph and adult of some species, such as the emerald and green drakes and march browns, look so alike that they are sometimes mistaken for different species.

The insect’s growth begins in the lower part of streams, where there is a steady freshwater supply. There it lives for one to four years in successive stages called instars. During each instar, the nymph gradually changes in form and increases in size. A new set of long, slender legs is added at each molt. The last stage of a mayfly’s life is a creature that can have wings to fly away from the water or does not develop wings and remains underwater throughout its adult life.

The wings of an adult mayfly are covered with tiny hairs and have powdery setae along their veins, which aid in flying. The eyes are oval-shaped and compound, made up of thousands of individual lenses.

How Long do Mayflies Live?

Mayflies are an insect that can live for just a few hours up to 9 days. The female fly’s lifespan depends on the size of the population density. If this is low, she will live approximately 30 hours. If it is higher, she will live between 45 and 60 hours.


The male mayfly lifespan is usually about 10 to 12 hours. This depends on how many mating partners they have had in their short life so far. Males fly around looking for females using pheromones to guide them there. Once they find one, they will use any parts of their body, including mouthparts, antennae, and unique structures on the abdomen, to couple with her at least once before dying. Since the number of partners they have in their life is limited, they attempt to mate with as many females as possible.

Since mayflies’ body sizes and lifespan vary between males and females, it is often difficult to generalize their life cycle. In addition, many different factors such as temperature and humidity come into play during each stage of their life. As a result, mayflies’ life cycle can take months to years.

This is because many species of mayfly spend time as immature larvae (called nymphs) or as aquatic larvae before they become adults and emerge into the air. When do these changes occur depends on their habitat and how restrictive it is. Then, they emerge from the water when they are ready to become adults and mate, lay eggs, and die.

Mayfly, ephemeroptera, in front of white background

Do Mayflies Bite or Sting?

Some people think that mayflies bite or sting, but actually, they are harmless. Mayflies don’t even have a mouth or stinger!

Although, Mayflies don’t bite or sting, they do have a variety of other defenses. Immature mayflies often look like blotchy patterns on leaves and stones, lessening the chances of being noticed by hungry predators. The wings of aquatic larvae cover their bodies and range from transparent to brownish-red in color, protecting against ultraviolet radiation and possibly reducing predation. Their abdomens expand with water after hatching so they can quickly slip away through cracks and crevices if predators reach them first. It’s easy to see how some people mistake the winged adult for an aggressive flying insect – it is one of nature’s most accurate deceivers!

A few people may experience an allergic reaction to the Mayfly larvae-hairy babies-due to the larva releasing their distasteful excretions when disturbed. So how can you get rid of these tiny creatures? Here are some tips.

How to Get Rid of Mayflies

Mayflies are a nuisance because they gather in large swarms that can be up to two feet long. They also leave behind dead carcasses that smell bad. Mayflies do not bite, but they will fly into your eyes and mouth if you are outside when there is a swarm of them present. If the flying insects get inside your house, they can get stuck in your hair and cause problems.

The first step to getting rid of mayflies is to find out where they are congregating. Look at window panes near the lights on the outside of your house and porch ceilings. They also like wet areas that have lots of vegetation around them. It’s also possible that mayflies congregate inside with a roof leak—mayflies like damp areas.


Upon assessing your house and knowing where these pests are coming from, the best way to eliminate mayflies is by using a net or some cloth barrier that prevents them from entering an area. For example, if someone had a porch, they could add a catch on the ceiling to prevent these insects from flying in.

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