Mayflies (Ephemeroptera)

Mayflies are one of the most fascinating insects on the planet. They belong to the order Ephemeroptera, which means "short-lived wings". These insects have been around for millions of years, and they have evolved to adapt to a wide range of environments. In this guide, we will cover everything you need to know about mayflies, including their habitat, behavior, and how to control them.

What are Mayflies?

Mayflies are aquatic insects that belong to the order Ephemeroptera. They are called mayflies because they typically emerge in May, although they can be found in other months as well. These insects have a distinctive appearance, with long, slender bodies and two pairs of wings. They are usually gray or brown in color and have large compound eyes.


Mayflies are found in a wide range of aquatic habitats, including rivers, lakes, and streams. They prefer clean, clear water with plenty of oxygen, and they are particularly abundant in fast-flowing streams. Mayfly larvae are aquatic and live in the water, while the adults emerge onto land to mate and lay eggs.


Mayflies have a unique life cycle that involves several stages. The first stage is the egg stage, where the female mayfly lays her eggs in the water. The eggs hatch into larvae, which live in the water and feed on algae and other small organisms. The larvae then go through several molts before emerging as adults.

The adult mayflies have a very short lifespan, typically only living for a few hours to a few days. During this time, they mate and lay their eggs, and then die. Mayflies do not have functional mouthparts as adults, so they cannot feed.


Mayflies are not typically considered pests, as they do not cause damage to structures or harm humans or pets. However, they can be a nuisance when they emerge in large numbers, as they can cover surfaces and create a mess. If you need to control mayflies, there are a few methods you can try:

  • Removing any standing water around your property to reduce the number of breeding sites.
  • Using insecticides to kill adult mayflies.
  • Installing screens on windows and doors to prevent mayflies from entering your home.
graph LR A[Mayfly Eggs] --> B[Mayfly Larvae] B --> C[Mayfly Nymph] C --> D[Mayfly Subimago] D --> E[Mayfly Imago]

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