There are many insects that enjoy the lake as much as you do. You may encounter one or several while relaxing at the lake this summer.

Mayflies, dragonflies, horseflies, water striders, and mosquitoes are just a large handful waiting to share the water with you. All these pests can be annoying while you’re trying to enjoy some summer fun but, did you know, some of these can actually benefit and help you by eliminating the pests that can harm you?

Dragonflies and water striders won’t bite you, in fact, they prefer to eat mosquitoes and their larvae.

Dragonflies are incredible fliers. They are capable of catching their prey mid-flight, disabling it, and eating it all without landing. They can even fly backwards if needed. They can capture and eat hundreds of flying insects, like mosquitoes, in one single day. Natures mosquito control! Their sharp mandibles are to thank for this. Even though they have sharp mandibles, they aren’t sharp enough to break human skin. In fact, they are not aggressive creatures and don’t bite humans.

Water striders seem to be able to do it all (or almost all). They can fly, dive, and walk on water but they can’t seem to get the walking on dry land down. The water strider legs are designed to capture air and push water behind it in a propelling manner. Their long legs have micro-hairs that keep the water strider dry, which otherwise would cause them to sink if they got wet. Because of their light weight, it makes it easy to glide across the water at high speeds. These fascinating water insects eat other water insects and their larvae, much like the dragonfly does.

Mayflies are a short lived species. Surviving only a few days after emerging from the depths of the lake, they provide food for birds, frogs, fish, and water beetles.

Mayflies emerge from the water to mate within a swarm, then the female drops to the surface of the water to lay her eggs. The eggs eventually sink to the bottom of the lake or river and attach themselves to rocks or plants. After hatching the mayfly remains underwater for over 18 months before surfacing to mate and start the cycle again. You can often see them swarming above the water from May to July.

Horseflies can be found around bodies of water, not just on the ranch near animals. This type of fly is attracted to the glare of the shiny reflection coming off of the water as well as movement from people or animals. They do particularly well in hot and humid conditions.

Horseflies are much like mosquitoes. After mating, the female needs a blood meal to lay her eggs and trust me she’s out for blood. Unlike a mosquito bite where it’s an unpleasant piercing bite that welts up and itches, the horsefly bite is more aggressive. Horseflies have razor sharp mouthparts that tear at the skin. Horseflies are considered dangerous in animals and humans because of this feature. Also, like the mosquito, it is only the female that bites. Male horseflies are beneficial pollinators. They feed on plant nectar which helps the pollination process.

Horseflies are like most other flies. They start off as eggs that are attached to vegetation branches over water or within moist soil. When the eggs hatch, the larvae or maggots emerge to feed on rotting carcasses, feces, spoiled meat, and organic matter before entering their pupa stage of life. Once the pupa has molted into an adult, the life cycle repeats itself.

A fly’s eyes can see 4 times the amount of images in one second than human eyes can but they are unable to adapt to night vision. Therefore, a fly is active during the day and not at night.

Now, for those blood-sucking, disease carrying mini vampires that we call mosquitoes. Surprisingly enough, mosquitoes do serve a purpose. While the females are responsible for laying eggs, the male mosquito’s role other than fertilizing the female is pollination.

The male mosquito, like the horsefly, eats nectar in plants and in the process pollinates the plant. Mosquitoes, male and female, serve as a good food source for dragonflies, water striders, fish, birds, reptiles, and other insects.

Once the female has been fertilized, she must receive a blood meal in order to lay her eggs. This is why she is attracted to you. Her bite is nowhere near as painful as a horsefly’s bite but it will create a red-itchy welt where she has bit you and injected saliva into you.

Some mosquitoes carry harmful diseases such as West Nile, Lyme disease, yellow fever, malaria, and zika virus. Though, chances are low of being infected (approximately 1:300), you should still be mindful of symptoms or allergic reactions. Some symptoms that may occur are; rash, fever, vomiting, headache, diarrhea, as well as muscle, joint, and neck pain.

So whether you’re enjoying a day at the lake, a weekend camping, or just a day in the backyard, personal protection is recommended to avoid nuisance pests. Applying a personal bug repellent that contains Deet is a start. Avoid dark clothing and scented lotions or perfumes that may attract insects.

For insects and pests around your home, contact Safe Earth Pest Control. We can rid your home of annoying pests so you can enjoy your home all year long. Call us today. We have affordable plans for all your lawn and pest control needs. 214-321-2847