Latest News - Mayfly Watch
Here's where we'll keep you up-to-date on the latest mayfly happenings. We (and other mayfly friends) also post updates on our facebook page. Be sure to check in often so you're in the know. Also, tell us what the mayflies are doing on facebook.
Mayfly season is coming up on us quickly. Be sure to read our Mayfly FAQ so you know what to do - and what not to do - when you encounter mayflies.
Observations from Port Clinton, Ohio, USA
|Est. date of
|2016||May 30||October 14||Heavy years have become normal years|
|2015||June 5||September 11||Normal year|
|2014||June 6||October 29||Another heavy year|
|2013||June 3||September 1||Extremely heavy year|
|2012||May 25||August 5||Mayflies were very busy|
|2011||June 4||September 8||Another heavy year|
|2010||June 3||September 14||A very heavy year - good healthy crop with a few serious nighttime invasions|
|2009||June 10||September 4||Typical season - considering the last 10 years|
|2008||May 18||August 22||Heavy|
|2007||May 21||August 25||very steady season|
|2006||June 8||September 9||lighter season|
|2005||June 5||September 20||Came in heavy on June 17th - steady season|
|2004||May 28||August 20||Moderate season with some heavy days|
|2003||June 13||September 5||Started light, a few heavy days, then a moderate season|
|2002||May 16||August 4||Started Heavy but tapered off after July 1|
|2001||May 29||August 10||light to Moderate|
|2000||June 1||September 15||Light|
|1999||May 15?||August 25||Very Heavy|
|1998||?||?||We didn't record dates, but they were very heavy|
Sharon in Ontario Canada says 'Massive swarms of Mayflies yesterday in Dealtown, Ontario (on Talbot Trail just outside of Blenheim). Our neighbour has lived here since 1992 and has never Mayflies in mass numbers this late in the season.'
Karen let us know that she is still seeing mayflies on Pelee Island in Lake Erie.
Brian posted a photo to our Facebook page of a mayfly on Middle Bass Island in Lake Erie. Things are beginning to happen!
Sara writes: "Since you are mayfly experts, I'm wondering if you know of anything that might deter them besides special lights? Are they repelled by any smells? I am against using any harsh chemical repellants. Are they deterred by essential oils like citronella, peppermint, basil and cedar? Or by garlic? Thanks in advance for your help, Sara"
Hi Sara, Nothing really ‘deters’ them. Don’t waste time with repellents. The only known way to not have them invade your area quite as bad is to keep all the lights off.
Nary a mayfly seen at the Marblehead (Ohio) Lighthouse this weekend.
The Lake Erie mayfly season has officially started!! Reports are coming in from everywhere around the lake. They were even showing up on Toledo TV13 Doppler Radar in the evening.
We have reports of muffleheads around Catawba Island and Marblehead. MayflyNews.net predicts we'll see mayflies come in during the June 6-7th weekend!
Our Pt. Clinton, Ohio spotter actually saw a live mayfly this week!! That is amazing!
Spotters saw a few mayflies yet last week. The season appears to be winding down.
Happy Independence Day!! Yes, a North wind coming off Lake Erie made for a fun mayfly time from Pt. Clinton, Ohio to Monroe, MI. They were also showing up on Doppler Radar again, although not as heavy.
Heavy mayfly concentrations are showing up again on weather Doppler Radar from WTVG Channel 13 in Toledo, Ohio.
Sara writes: We live in Sheffield Lake right on the lake. Coming home this morning I've spotted several Canadian soldiers grouped in with the swarm of muffle heads. I was was wondering..will citronella keep them at bay?.
Sorry, Sarah, citronella will not work. If there was something that kept them away, I'm sure the local businesses around Lake Erie would be using it. Keeping lights off at night is the only way to decrease the onslaught of mayflies. Notice I said 'decrease.'
Mayflies are showing up on weather doppler radar from Toledo Ohio in a BIG way again tonight! Covering an area from the Islands all the way around nearly up to Detroit Beach. A slight northeast wind is bringing them in to land like crazy.
Mayflies are showing on the weather doppler radar from Toledo Ohio. Look out - here they come!
We are receiving reports of mayflies - just onesies-twosies around Maumee Bay State Park and CIC Club on Catawba.
We are finally coming out of the long, hard winter in the Lake Erie region. Lake Erie was over 90% frozen for some period of time! This should not have had any effect on the mayflies who reside at the bottom of the lake, but we will know in a couple months. Stay tuned!
Leah emailed with an interesting observation: "I live in Lakeshore, Ontario, Canada (near Windsor & Lake St. Clair); the Mayflies (fishflies) are intense but seemingly reduce the number of Mosquitos we have during the summer. Knowing that Mayflies only live about 24 hours and that they really don't eat, why does their prescence reduce the amount of Mosquitos here, versus other local (non-Mayfly) areas? Hmmmmm..... "
We really don't know why that would be happening. But less mosquitos is a good thing!
Kent emailed: "Saw my first mayfly of the year in Downtown Cleveland today by the North side of the Browns stadium."
All reports so far are just unbelievable as to the abundance of this year's mayflies!
We have secured the domain mayflies.net just to make it a little easier for you to tell your friends how to find us.
We have a report of the first official sighting of a mayfly tonight on Catawba Island!! Mayfly season begins!!
Amber writes "Do Mayflies really infest put-in-bay area, or are the islands too far out for them to get to? I'm terrified of bugs and I want a nice vacation." Yes Amber, they infest the islands just as bad, if not worse, than the mainland. Mayflies are totally harmless so just ignore them and have a good time!
Another fairly mild winter in Ohio may be cause for another year of large mayfly hatches. Only time will tell as we await Mayfly Season 2013!!
Valerie says "Finally, today, the first Mayfly was on my porch — at Put-in-Bay, South Bass Island."
We have mayflies in Port Clinton!! But they are not showing up (yet) in Catawba Island or on Put-in-Bay.
Heather writes... "What are the flies that are swarming right now on the shores of Lake Erie. They look like a mosquito at first glance but I know they aren't. I tried to identify them online and the closest I've come is Chironomidae. They don't bite, but are incredibly annoying, though I admidt not as bad as the fish fly that I met for the first time last year. People around here call them May flies but I see from your website that Mayflies are actually what my neighbours refer to as Fish Flies. It is confusing to a newcomer."
Heather, I don't know the Latin name for them but the common name is muffleheads. They look very similar to a mosquito but have fuzzy antennas and are slightly bigger. If you really want to get confused, some of the locals in Port Clinton call the mayflies junebugs!! But that leads into a whole-nuther story.
The extremely mild winter here in Ohio may cause some changes on Lake Erie for 2012. The lake never froze over which was really bad news for ice fisherman and those that earn an income catering to those fisherman. It will be interesting to see if the warmer water temps will affect the mayfly populations - one way OR the other.
I just read a wonderful, romantic account of the mayfly season on Lake Erie by the American naturalist writer, Edwin Way Teale, in his book called Journey into Summer. Chapter 5 is where Teale and his wife visited Kellys Island during their long trip around the Great Lakes in 1958 or 59. Great website! Paul R. Thank you, Paul! That is a book we will surely have to hunt down. For those of you looking for a review on the book, I found this blog with more information The Opulent Opossum.
As I left McDonalds 7-7-2011 about 10:30 pm in Lincoln, NE, a swarm of Mayflies were resting on the glass at the entrance. All of them were white as a sheet of paper. I have never seen an insect completely white before, and I stopped to stare. A McDonalds employee outside having a cigarette, said "I know, they are Mayflies but they are so white. Maybe they are larvae or something." Is this unusual? Thank you, Deb.
Albino mayflies? Maybe? Not quite sure what to tell you about that one, Deb. Thanks for sharing.
An email from Dale... "Hey guys! Lived in Lancaster, NY all my life and never seen a Mayfly in the Buffalo or Falls area. Now we summer on South Bass Island and wish I still never saw one!!! As for our area, we have what we call Sand Flies and they are as big as if not a bigger nuisance then the Mayfly? They kinda remind you of a small moth and when we were young, one had to use cardboard in your car grill or they gummed up your radiator."
Nice to know something may be worse than mayflies.... Whoops!! Hey we love our mayflies, don't we??!!
Nancy writes; "We've had a cottage on Lake Erie, in Portland, NY for over 40 years, and the Mayflies this year are the worst we've ever seen. In fact, I found this site because I went online to find out what they were. Glad to find out they should be gone soon!"
I think we'll be seeing them for some time yet, Nancy. Probably longer than anyone would like!
"Dear Mayfly News, Visited Pelee Island, Ontario this past weekend where we were visited by many mayflies that seemed to be pretty much all around the island with the exception of the central eastern and southeastern shore of the island. We found a few public beaches in those areas that were free of mayflies, which was a relief. Otherwise they seemed concentrated in spots, especially around trees and bushes, and we were constantly performing 'bug checks' on ourselves to make sure we weren't harboring any to bring into our car or room."
Pat ~ Mansfield, Ohio
A question from Sharon; "Can you tell me where you generally see Mayflies? Is it just the Port Clinton, Catawba area or are they other places too? Do you see them in Niagara Falls, NY? I want to take a trip there but I could do without the bugs!"
Sharon, from what I have read, anywhere there's a body of fresh water, there could be mayflies. If you live around Niagara Falls or have been there and seen mayflies, we'd love to hear from you!! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joe from Luna Pier, MI -- Very light concentrations here this year compared to last year. Waking up to less than a dozen on the door on average. Last year at this time we had hundreds!
Kahly emails; "I just returned from a trip to Cedar Point, Ohio and June 16th we woke up to tons of them on the hotel screens and all on the sides of the hotels and our cars. They made a huge mess out there."
There's mayflies in Kingsville Ontario according to Justin.
Thanks for reporting in Justin!
Samantha writes; "I was just wondering will the Mayflies ever go away? I don't remember them being this bad last summer. I can't even walk outside without being swarmed by them. It's annoying more then anything."
Just remember, Samantha, that the mayflies are a sign of a healthy lake. Mosquitos are annoying, too (actually more than mayflies), but they serve a great purpose in the grand scheme for Mother Nature.
The TV stations in Toledo, Ohio are pretty certain that the green areas showing up on their doppler radar are mayflies hatching out and flying toward land. And Bill on Lakeshore Dr. outside of Port Clinton, Ohio reports seeing his first mayfly of the season!
We are receiving mayfly reports from South Dakota and other parts unknown, but none along the Lake Erie shoreline as yet. Oh, and a report from the Cleveland area of muffleheads. The muffleheads usually preceed the mayflies by a week or so... so you know what that means!
First Energy Corp. has contacted MayflyNews.net looking for any studies that modeled the factors involved in mayfly emergence in an effort to predict when the yearly emergence will begin/peak. They were hoping for a way to forecast the heavy mayfly swarms in order to prepare for/prevent outages at their facilities and substations as a result of the emergence events. Aside from our observers in the field, we really can't tell in advance when they'll be heavy. A good NE wind always seems to bring them in, though.
Wendy writes: "We are planning a June 18th, 2011 wedding at our new home on the lake in Huron, Ohio. Can you tell me the usual hatching time of our pesky lake erie mayflies and muffleheads? Perhaps we should pick a later date??"
Wendy, I'm afraid to tell you that the middle of June is prime mayfly season. That's not to say that you may hit them during a low point - so much depends on wind direction as to how many come ashore on any given evening. Just reassure your guests, that are not familiar with mayflies, that they are harmless.
Since tourist season is over and we had our killing frost the other night, I would like to recap the mayfly season of 2010. I would say this year was a pretty heavy year. Again, this all points to Lake Erie being healthier than ever. As the mayflies get heavier every year, we're all going to have to grin and bear it. Hopefully all of us here at MayflyNews.net can make the mayflies a little easier to bear!
After a couple false alarms last week of folks thinking that muffleheads were mayflies, I think we have everyone back on track. The September 14th report of mayflies is probably the last one we'll see for the year.
Lou Clemons at Marine Tech Concepts reported today that he has some mayflies on Catawba. Not alot but enough to let us know that they're not quite done yet for the season.
Nora Mason writes "I saw the fly poop (I think that's the technical term) left behind on a car by ordinary flies and was wondering if mayflies leave fly poop all over the place. If so, is there any danger to our health possible? I saw that they are usually June and July bugs and was wondering if they are getting later and, if so, why? Possible environmental damage?"
Since mayflies have no mouths to eat, Nora, I don't believe there's an issue with 'mayfly poop.' As far as mayflies being later in the season, we've had other years where they have run into September. I just heard reports that they are seeing more on Catawba today! I would say the longer you see them, the healthier the mayflies are... and the healthier Lake Erie is.
We are getting reports that the mayflies have subsided in the Port Clinton, Ohio area. This doesn't mean they're gone, just not near as heavy as they were.
"We just moved to Lake Wisconsin near Poynette, WI and today are experiencing our first exposure to mayflies! Thanks for your website and info about these insects. We had no idea and thru my googling, found out what the heck these were. So, mayflies are alive (for a short while) and well at Lake Wisconsin."
Thanks Celeste. Nice to know Lake Erie isn't the only place mayflies are thriving.
"Mayflies came into Avon Lake (Ohio) over the June 19/20 weekend. More than I have seen in years. They are as far north as the Avon/Avon Lake border. Last year, they came in on June 18th but stayed much closer to the Lake."
Thanks for the report, Jerry!!
Here's one that made us chuckle: Tycho wants to know "Do you have any Mayfly recipes?"
I've never heard of anyone eating mayflies - but hey, kangaroos are a nuisance and Australians are eating THEM now!!
Paris says... "They invaded Vermilion last night. I have motion lights outside as well as a neighbor that has a security light that shines on the side of my house and the front of my garage (which are white). Needless to say, my house is covered. They've sneeked in when the door has been opened and I've been finding them all over the inside of the house.
Yes, Paris, they will sneak in. We suggest sitting one on your shoulder and start whistling that song... My, my, my, what a wonderful day. There's a mayfly on my shoulder.... :<)
Suzy from Lorain.... "They are here in Lorain Ohio, Hatched last night and now covering every surface of every building. These little buggers are gross!"
Cheryl writes from Detroit Beach, MI which is just north of Monroe... "This year seems to be extremely bad. We live at Detroit Beach on the lake and our house and yard are covered. Anything to spray to reduce these? We keep most lights off but everything is covered. Any help?"
No spray will help, Cheryl. My only advise is to try and keep the lights off... Oh, and don't wash them off your house with the garden hose!! You will create one soupy, stinky mess!!
Ruby from Harborcreek Twp, PA emailed - "Last night, about 8 PM, we had a huge swarm of mayflies above our house. It sounded like an air leak, a loud hissing noise! We live 1/2 block from Lake Erie. We never experienced that before!"
I know what you're talking about, Ruby, because I have heard that sound myself. Pretty amazing!!
A message from Mark - he says "They're back at Catawba!"
Mayflies are arriving in Port Clinton, Ohio this evening!!
With mayfly season only 2 months away, we hear from Terry... "We like to go to Port Clinton to fish 2 - 3 times a year. A couple of times we arrived when mayflies were at their heaviest. It wasn't a fun time fishing. To make 2010 a better experience, can you tell me when you think the flies will be at their heaviest? I don't want to come then."
Terry, just like Mother Nature, there really no predicting when the mayflies will be heavy. And it could vary from night to night. Just remember they're harmless and a good sign that Lake Erie is getting healthier!
We have added a link on the More info and links page to a great article on mayflies and how they're affecting Lake Erie. It's published online by the Great Lakes Echo.
It appears that mayfly season is about over, but if you looked real hard in Lakeside Ohio, you could still find a few hanging out on the pavilion by the water. It's always nice to find a few around.
Annette says "These little soldiers were all over the Venture Resort building on the side facing Lake Erie." This was on Kelley's Island. You can see Annette's photo on our Weekly Photo page. Email your pics to email@example.com
We were still hoping to see more pics from fans, or those that are not fans, of Mayflies!! The funny or goofier, the better. Email your pics to firstname.lastname@example.org
For all those challenged by telling the difference between a mayfly and a mufflehead (no, not you, it's those other idiots), we have added info on identifying muffleheads on our Mayfly Facts page. It's down towards the bottom of the page. Thanks to Gwen from Columbus for the great visual aids.
The mayflies have slacked off in the Port Clinton area. I'm sure we'll still see a few here and there for the next month or so. We could also get a burst of them some night with a hefty north wind.
Jerry says "Mayflies have invaded Avon Lake (Ohio)! They are everywhere along Lake Rd, Electric Rd. etc. Must have come in last night." Thanks for the update, Jerry!!
We are receiving reports that in the last few days walleye fishing has taken a nosedive due to all the mayflies surfacing. Many mayflies become a yummy fish snack instead of coming onshore to annoy you!! Also, Denise Kumar says no screaming when riding the coasters at Cedar Point or you may end up with a mouthful of mayflies!! Yum, Yum!!
It's Official!!!! Mayflies have invaded Port Clinton in a BIG WAY! The onslaught has begun. We're looking forward to seeing those photos, folks.
They're HERE!!!! Mayflies started appearing overnight in the Port Clinton, Ohio area. Not a strong showing yet - just a few. Kind-of-a teaser of what we know is probably coming.
Meanwhile, Tim and Debbie from Conneaut, Ohio (that's waaay up there in the northeast corner of Ohio in wonderful Ashtabula County) moved to within one quarter mile of Lake Erie and are finding out what a full bore onslaught of mayflies is like. They commented that it's much worse than being 3/4 miles away where they used to live.
Pam says "This is the best site! Does anyone know approximately when these pests will hit Port Clinton this year? Since they're already in Euclid, maybe we could judge better if the timing on their movement along the coast has been tracked."
Hi Pam, it is a bit baffling that the Eastern part of Lake Erie is seeing mayflies before the Western end. One would assume since we are at the shallower end of the lake, the water would warm up quicker here and we would see them first. This will be an interesting thing to track.
Jennifer, who owns a vacation condo on the Lake in Ashtabula says "The mayflies are here in full force. My Mom was here on Sunday, May 31 and said they were here then too. My question is how long do these mayflies typically stick around?"
Well, Jennifer, looking back on past information, they typically hang around at least into August and sometimes into September! Of course they do thin out as the summer progresses, so you have that to look forward to.
Mike from Euclid, Ohio emailed to say that "Over the past 2-4 days we've gotten bombarded."
Thanks for the update, Mike. We still have yet to see one in Pt. Clinton.
Mike was looking for ways to keep mayflies from covering his house - especially the front door.
All I can tell you, Mike, is keep those lights off. And remember, as tempting as it is to take the garden hose and wash them off, DON'T DO IT!! You will have the biggest stinkiest mess you ever saw!! Got a neighbor you don't like? Suggest it to him. :-)
Andrea writes... "I love this website. Have the mayflies arrived? We are coming to Port Clinton for the Memorial Day weekend and just want to prep the family beforehand."
Not as yet, Andrea, but that doesn't mean we won't see them before this weekend!! Thanks for emailing.
We are receiving reports that mayflies are already showing up in towns located along the Portage and Sandusky Rivers in Ohio. River waters warm up sooner than the bottom of the lake so this probably brings out the mayflies sooner.
After a long & cold Winter, we are experiencing a cool wet Spring. But warmer weather is coming and we should be experiencing mayflies within the next 30 days. Stay tuned!
Mayflies are regularly spotted 30+ miles from the Lake Erie shore. Now, they may not see more than four or five of them in an entire season, but they are around. They've even seen a few in late September!!
I spotted a small mayfly in Bowling Green, Ohio - actually he landed on me!! Bowling Green is a good hour drive from Lake Erie. Yes, I would say mayflies are in the rivers.
A strong northern wind off the lake and warmer temperatures combined to finally bring in huge amounts of mayflies on Friday evening. On Saturday morning, it was difficult walking in and out of the house without several catching a ride on your shirt. All the houses in the area are covered with our winged wonders! After a slow start with just a few showing up every night, they made a full showing on Friday evening.
On about June 1st, 2003, Port Clinton, Ohio was inundated with large swarms of bugs. The local daily newspaper jumped right on the story and had it front page - the mayflies have returned but are smaller this year. After all the locals quit laughing, they informed the paper that the bugs were indeed muffleheads and not the famed mayflies. Muffleheads are harmless bugs that are similar to mosquitos and just slightly larger - but they don't bite.
The National Geographic Magazine did an article on the mayflies of Hungary's Tisza River. See the May 2003 issue. The article has some superb photos. Their mayflies are somewhat different from ours having large bug eyes and blue wings.
Thanks goes to Suzanne Fickes, Columbus, Ohio for sending me a copy of the magazine.
1999 saw these guys make headway inland as far as 40+ miles from Lake Erie. They were either blown in or are also living in the river. In the case of Pemberville, OH, I find it very hard to believe that june bugs flew that far inland. They are apparently thriving in rivers. Pemberville has the Portage River running through the heart of it - and Pemberville has Street Lights!
Minature May Flies!
On a 1999 excursion to South Bass Island and Put-In-Bay, Ohio, I discovered a tiny version of our friendly flyer on a gentleman's back ahead of us in line. This entire bug measured no more than three-quarters of an inch long - head, tail, and all! What a time to be without my camera! Hopefully, I will come across one again... this time with camera in hand.