Anybody who has visited Michigan during the summer will know that flies and insects can be a nuisance. Through July, stinging flies and wasps find their way into backyards and inhabit parks and lakes where many people go to relax. Michigan experiences an increase in insect numbers over the summer as a result of more moisture in the air following the summer rains. The state is home to at least 51 different type of insect including yellowjacket wasps, mosquitoes, black flies and stable flies.
Yellow jackets predominantly inhabit the Northern Hemisphere. The queen begins harvesting her workers in spring. Workers emerge from the nest in late spring. Up to a thousand yellowjackets may occupy a single nest during the summer months. Nests built in warm habitats can reach half a ton in weight. Queens abandon nests in winter to mate. Yellowjackets kill harmful insects such as house flies and caterpillars which can damage shrubs.
Approximately 176 species of mosquitoes inhabit the United States with more than 2,500 worldwide. Eight different mosquito species are known to populate Michigan. Mosquitoes are the only species of fly that have wings with scales. Coquiillettiidiia perturbans and Anophelles punctiipenniis are the most common species of mosquito found in Michigan. Mosquitoes are abundant July through September because there is an increase in standing water and damp soil where breeding takes place.
Lake Huron Locust and Emerald Ash Borer
The Lake Huron locust grows up to 1.6 inches in length. According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Lake Huron locusts are one of the state’s rarest insects. Lake Huron locusts breed through midsummer; nymphs are born in late spring. Larvae mature in mid-July and numbers are considerable. Lake Huron locusts belong to the short-horned grasshopper species. Their preferred habitat is coastal dunes. Lake Huron locusts are commonly found around north Michigan's Great Lakes.
Originating from Asia the emerald ash borer was first seen in Michigan in 2002. Adults emerge from the nest in late May. Eggs are laid shortly after emergence. Emerald ash borer live approximately 12 months. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources states that emerald ash borer are responsible for killing millions of the state’s ash trees, particularly in the counties of Livingston, Wayne and Oakland.
The stable fly is a member of the Muscidae family. Females perish following the laying of eggs; males die after mating. Agricultural areas such as farms are the flies preferred home. Stable flies feed on the blood of horses and farm animals.
The black fly belongs to a family of over 1,700 humpbacked flies; 65 species inhabit Michigan. Black flies congregate around the lakes and streams of northern Michigan. A black fly larva only develops in oxygenated water. Adults emerge from pupation May through June. Black flies can be seen up to September because of the abundant numbers that hatch during summer.
- Encyclopaedia Brittanica: Yellow Jackets
- Cornell University Master Beekeeper Program: Stinging Insects: Ground Nesting Yellow Jackets
- American Mosquitoe Control Association: Mosquito Information
- Department of Natural Resources Michigan: Lake Horn Locust
- Department of Natural Resources Michigan: Emerald Ash Borer
- University of Michigan Museum of Zoology Animal Diversity Web: Stable Fly
- Photo Credit Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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