Return of the Lake Flies!

The lake flies are back at Devil’s Lake State Park! I took this bit of video last evening along the lake’s southern shore while trying to capture of picture of the sunset. Yikes!  While certainly irritating, they are temporary and an important part of the annual cycle of life at Devil’s Lake State Park.

Each spring the shoreline of Devil’s Lake is invaded for 3 to 4 weeks by great clouds of lake flies (Chironimidae), also known as a non-biting midge. No, they don’t bite, but the do get into your clothing, face & hair if you happen to be out walking along the lake. Driving along the South Shore Rd., with an open window, can soon have your car filling with flying midges. The annual life-cycle event is hard to predict, but coincides with early season warm weather each year, usually in April or early May. Considering that the flies only have a couple short weeks to live, it’s hard to begrudge them the use of the lake for such a short time. Almost as soon as they appear, the will die off and become food for the park’s other insects, reptiles and birds. In no time, they will be gone without a trace… until next year!

Swallows eating Lake Flies at Devil's Lake State Park

Swallows feasting on Lake Flies at Devil’s Lake State Park

You can expect the bugs to hang around near the lake shore for about 2 weeks before dying off.  So suffice to say, this isn’t a great time to hike (Or take photographs!) right near the water!


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