It’s almost that season on Lake Winnebago that lakefront homeowners aren’t crazy about. Lake Fly Season! Harmless insects that hatch right around Mother’s Day. They have no stingers, no mouths and they really are not harmful, just annoying. I’ve spent many hours on Mother’s Day planting flowers while holding my breath so they don’t get in my mouth or nose.
Usually, we can go outside during the day and avoid dusk when they start to wake up and buzz. The hatch in 2020 (during Covid quarantine) was the biggest hatch I’ve witnesses since owning the house and was a dense cloud of nastiness that chased us into the house every day. (We ended up binge watching all 6 seasons of Sopranos again, so all was not lost.)
What can you do about the lake flies? Preventive spraying doesn’t work, smacking them just creates spots on walls that are difficult to remove. Lakefront homeowners must accept them as they are an important part of the Lake Winnebago ecosystem. They are the primary food source for sturgeon, bats, birds and various animals in the lake’s environment. They are weak flyers and the wind plays a huge part of where you find them. The thing I find most fascinating about the hatch every year is that most of the time, it appears on the radar. https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=2192480684125844 Think about that…a hatch of insects SO BIG that it shows up on the radar.
In the spring, we find a ton of dead lake fly carcasses on our boat. We bought a small, powerful, cordless vacuum to suck them up and that seems to work the best. My kids just groan as they see me come down the dock with the small vacuum as they know it’s time for the annual boat clean-up of dead lake flies. A decent power washer gets lake fly waste off the house and a solution of vinegar and warm water with a squeegee cleaner gets it off the windows.
All in all, I wouldn’t say we live in harmony with the lake flies, but with an acceptance that it lasts (usually) only 10 days out of the year and they feed the sturgeon that everyone loves to fish for.