Lake Fly Invasion

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LAKE WINNEBAGO, Wis. (WBAY) - They're back.

Lake flies cover side of house
Lake flies cover the side of a house near Lake Winnebago on May 16, 2018 (WBAY photo)

The lake flies have started to hatch on Lake Winnebago, and they're causing some large swarms to show up along the shoreline.

"It's always Mother's Day and Father's Day. A wave comes at Mother's Day and a smaller one comes Father's Day. This year I think they're about two weeks late," Joe Stadler of Little Chute remarked.

The hatch is a bit behind schedule this year because of our extended winter.

And people are bracing for what's still to come.

On the north shore of Lake Winnebago, Jim Beson is among the many fighting off the lake flies as they buzz all around, creating a nuisance near his house in the Menasha area.

"You just learn to keep your mouth shut," Beson says. "It's just something you have to do. Keep your mouth shut, or put a bandana over your mouth, and go about your business, because if you live on the north shore or any shore on Lake Winnebago you're going to deal with lake flies."

While the flies can drive some people nuts, they're good for the Lake Winnebago ecosystem as a food source for sturgeon and perch.

"Well, as long as they don't bite I'm OK, but when they start biting, I'm out of here," Henry Tollieer of Neenah laughed.

Near the lake we found a blue and white house that was speckled black and gray by the swarm of resting lake flies, covering the side of the house.

The good news is, they only have a lifespan of about 7 to 14 days.

Then comes the cleanup, which can get messy.

"We've had years where we've had to haul away wheel barrow loads full," Beson said, "but the way they are right now, if they stay at this level, we're not going to have any problem. Maybe some people want to wash their house down. I'm just going to wait until it rains and it will take care of the whole thing."

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