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Fish flies take over Crystal Lake Estates

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If it seems like your home has been taken over by thousands of tiny flies, you’re not alone.

Millions of fish flies have been seen covering fences and homes north of Crystal Lake.

Pest Management Coordinator Jim Donnelly says it’s their breeding time and there’s not much residents can do but wait.

“There’s really no way to prevent it. They are literally out there in the millions. They’re just going to be around for the next week maybe, they breed, and then the life cycle’s gone; they’ll die off.”

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The flies, which are called chironomids, are a primary food source for many animals near the water.

They normally go unnoticed, but their numbers appear to be on the rise.

“Their population’s been peaking in the last couple of years. We’re looking at the ecosystem up around Crystal Lake, trying to determine whether this is a natural population fluctuation like there always is in insect populations, or if there’s something broken in the ecosystem itself.”

While they’re a nuisance, they don’t bite and have short life spans.

If there are a lot resting on your house, Donnelly suggests washing the area once a week as they can leave a residue behind.

Photo by Tom Koerner, USFWS

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