Mayflies are harmless to humans, as they do not sting, bite or attack, but they often emerge in plague-like numbers which can be difficult

Adult mayfly.

                            Adult Mayfly.

you can do to try to keep them at bay.

to deal with, or even frightening. Larvae normally emerge from the water as adults all at one time. With females laying anywhere from 300 to 3000 eggs at a time, around areas with a lot of freshwaters, this can mean hundreds of thousands of these insects suddenly appearing within the time span of a few days.


If you happen to live in an area where mayflies breed, you’ve probably been looking for a way to keep these annoying creatures away from, and out of, your home. Let’s look at a few different things that


Like many flying insects, mayflies are attracted to bright light, especially white light. If you live in an area prone to infestations, it is recommended to move outside lights away from your home if possible. Replacing white lights with yellow “bug lights” should also help. You should also do what you can to reduce the amount of light that escapes through windows. Close curtains or shutters at night to keep your indoor lights from attracting the newly hatched mayflies.

Standing Water

Adult mayflies have only one purpose, breeding. They do nothing but try to reproduce. They don’t even eat. The most important part of their reproduction involves depositing their eggs in water. Remove any standing water around your home to make the area less attractive to females looking for somewhere to drop their eggs.


The odor of garlic has been shown to be effective in repelling mayflies. You can make a repellent spray yourself that can be applied around your home to help keep them away. You want to make a sort of tea of crushed garlic and water. In general, the more garlic you use the better. Put the solution in a spray bottle and spread it generously

Chemical foggers are essential solutions to mayfly infestations.

Chemical foggers are essential solutions to mayfly infestations. Check the price on Amazon.

around the outside of the home. Of course, this may need to be reapplied several times but should help to keep the critters off your home and away from windows. You can also throw dry minced garlic around the perimeter of the home for a similar or additional effect.

If you’re not up for smelling the pungent aroma of garlic around your home, there are other repellents that have proven effective in preventing mayflies from being nuisances. Note, mayflies do not bite, but you can use repellent patches to prevent them from flying all over your body. These patches are odorless, chemical less and safe to use.

Sweeping or Spraying

If you have problems with large numbers of mayflies on the outside of your home or in an area of your yard, they can be killed and removed with a broom or spraying with a garden hose. Mayflies are very delicate, so simply sweeping them with a broom will both kill them and remove them from whatever surface they’ve taken over. Spraying with a garden hose will usually have the same effect. Large numbers of them can actually make sidewalks and walkway slippery, so be careful when attempting to move through or clean off large swarms on walkways.

Ponds And Water Installation

If you have a small pond or another type of water installation in your yard, make sure it is clean and free of algae. Remove any fallen leaves or plant waste from the water. These are the main food sources for mayfly larvae and they are exactly what females will be looking for as they choose a spot to lay their eggs. Your yard will be less attractive to them if these things are not present.

Wait It Out

It might sound like no solution at all, but simply waiting for them to leave or die is an option as well. Mayflies spend the majority of their lives in a larval stage under water. Adult mayflies have an extremely short lifespan, usually only living for one to three days before they die. Once an infestation starts, it normally only takes a few days for the population to die.

Chemical Foggers

If you live in an area with particularly large numbers of mayflies, such as next to a lake, you may opt to use a chemical fogger. Chemical foggers are usually alternatives for people who are fed up and are dying to get some relief from their mayfly situation. Chemical fogger can quickly kill large numbers of mayflies, but you should check with an expert to be sure their use is legal and that you know how to properly use any chemical pesticides.

What is also noteworthy about chemical foggers, is that they’re able to get rid of other pests and flying insects that do bite, including no see ums, mosquitoes, and the works. It’s really amazing, as you’re using a single product to defeat several pests. Makes sense? You can opt to purchase a chemical fogger at your local Walmart store, or purchase the fogger through our affiliate link. When you purchase a product through our affiliate link, you help us to maintain Online Pest Control and provide more articles and videos of this nature to help you combat pests within the home.


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  1. daina 12:19 PM 23 March 2016

    Mayflies are super duper annoying. They tend to gather on my patio around the lights. Because of their annoyance, Rob and I try as best as possible to remain in doors during the nights. We really miss looking out at the stars

    • 12:30 PM 24 March 2016

      Hi Daina,

      I’m terribly sorry to hear about your dilemma. I love looking at the stars too and would hate the idea of being prevented from doing so.
      If you want you and your Rob to enjoy the comforts of your porch, I suggest taking the lights away from the house. Homeowners do that in some areas. Instead of having lights directly on the house, you could think about installing it elsewhere, a little away from the porch but just enough to provide sufficient lighting. Mayflies are also attracted to bright lights so you can tone down on what bulb is used.

      I hope that helps your situation.

  2. Julian 12:35 PM 6 April 2016

    Hi Samantha,

    Thanks for the tips. I had a huge issue with mayflies, but after reading your article, I decided to go to work. I’ve been following the suggestions and the mayflies have been at bay. Thanks a great deal!

    • 12:42 PM 6 April 2016

      Hi Julian,
      Happy I could be of assistance! Things have surely turned out in your favor. Keep up the fine fight! Mayflies should not prevail. :)

  3. Felicia Ennis 10:49 AM 1 May 2016

    My friend once told me that she used garlic to repel mayflies but I told her that was a bunch of garbage. After reading your article I had to apologize. I’m rolling out a few cloves and will be trying them to see if I get the same benefits.


    • 12:52 PM 2 May 2016

      hhahahah. Happy to know the article proved your friend right! And yes, garlic has many uses, one that includes repelling mayflies. You can make a spray for yourself and use around the home.

  4. Karla 6:18 PM 16 August 2016

    I also have a bad mayflies problem on my patio. How do you make the garlic tea or spray? What’s the ratio of garlic to water ? Does or smell bad?

    • 10:58 AM 6 January 2017

      You can make a tea of crushed garlic. There is no standard or set amount of garlic to use, but the more garlic, the more potent the smell. If you find it repelling, then the mayflies will find it worse. You can then transfer the tea into a spray bottle.

  5. anna marie 6:11 AM 7 September 2016

    The shad flies are getting into my apartment in droves. the first night I swatted them and used a broom to kill them on the ceiling. the next night, I used bug spray which killed them on contact and the next morning I found a bunch more dead. now what?

    • 10:55 AM 6 January 2017

      Mayflies tend not to live long. They have a cycle and keep strictly to it. If you found them dead, sweep them away and carry on with your life.

  6. Fabian 3:56 AM 8 January 2017

    I just moved to my first lake home. It’s 50-feet to the water, so I have massive swarms against my lake-facing outdoor walls/windows that look terrible and make a mess and now have attracted tons of spiders. I’m going to try the garlic spray, but would planting pots of Society Garlic be as effective? And what kind of fogger, like Vet-Kem Siphotrol? Thanks so much!!

    • 1:23 PM 10 January 2017

      From what I’ve seen, the Vet-Kem Siphotrol fogger is mostly associated with ticks and fleas. Have you ever tried using the BMF battery motorized insect fogger? Let me know what you think. Yes, definitely plant garlic.

  7. Stephanie McAllister 4:11 AM 2 April 2017

    I have sworms of them in my house I want know how to keep them out

    • 10:57 AM 3 April 2017

      A good way to start is to apply what is suggested in the article.

  8. Patey tassi 8:03 AM 10 May 2017

    I am home alone, and my house is full of those… Stupid fuvkers… I don’t know qhat to do

    • 1:33 PM 12 May 2017

      Did you try the methods highlighted in the article?

  9. Brian 11:28 AM 17 June 2017

    I bought a pump sprayer for $10. I use pine sol to cover my porch and screens. I also use dish soap and water to spray my screen door to get out. I live on Lake St Clair.

  10. Addie 6:18 AM 12 July 2017

    My dilemma is that I live in an apartment complex near a river.The manager insists upon outside lighting for security purposes which I understand, but I am inundated with bugs and my balcony is a filthy mess which I no longer can enjoy. Is there any way I can deter these river bugs? Obviously, this place is using the wrong lighting, but there is nothing I can do about that.

    • 1:19 PM 12 July 2017

      Are you allowed to use pesticides and insecticides?

      • Addie 4:32 AM 13 July 2017

        Yes. Haven’t gone that route, but I think it’s my only alternative. Outside lighting here is brilliant white. Can you suggest a product which would be best?

  11. Ray 1:19 AM 25 August 2017

    Hello we have a beach resort hotel next to the lake in my country, and we are trying to get rid of the mayflies, real pain the ass and we losing customers, could you suggest to me some chemical foggers we could use to get rid of the problem. Thank you

    • 10:58 AM 28 August 2017


      Sorry about your mayfly issue. That’s definitely a pain in the posterior since you’re losing business as a consequence of their prevalence. Here’s a chemical fogger we recommend on Amazon.

  12. Jazzy 12:25 PM 10 May 2018

    Hi, we have a pond and it is full of muck. Also, we have a huge amount of mosquitoes hatching and now we have hundreds of mayflies each day. I have read your tips and the garlic spray seems like a great idea but my partner won’t like the house stinking of garlic. Each afternoon, I go round the house killing them myself. Where have they all come from? The mayflies are also all in our kitchen which is horrible. I have a small kitten and don’t want to harm her in the killing process. Any other tips on how I could get rid of these pesky things?

  13. laurie 6:50 AM 29 June 2018

    well you should come to southern ontario kingsville leamington they are absloutely awful this year we wake up every morning to are house covered we are retired and not enjoying this.

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