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How To Control CaddisfliesCaddisfly

If you’ve taken a swim in a pond or a lake, you may have noticed a winged insect that swarms in huge numbers that looks similar to a moth. That insect is a caddisfly. While these insects mainly like to hang around bodies of water, they may wander off and end up in homes where they can be a troublesome pest especially when they swarm in large numbers. These insects are heavily attracted to light and may have wandered away from their aquatic habitat by the lure of a light.

Caddisflies thankfully do not cause any harm to people in the form of stings or bites nor do they damage our homes or contaminate our food like other flying pests. However, caddisflies are known to swarm in large clusters and are very attracted to lights, particularly the lights inside and around the structure of your home.

It is this swarming behavior that can make them annoying to have around if you would like your home to be undisturbed. Also there have been reports of people coming down with allergic reactions and asthma due to caddisflies being present.

While adults only live for a few days once they reach adulthood, they do not breed and develop inside homes and buildings. Caddisfly swarms can occur practically any time of the year, so if they are a problem for you, hoping for a season of relief may not happen.

If you have a caddisfly issue in or around your home, there is a way to get rid of them and we here at Solutions Pest and Lawn can tell you how to handle them and what the best products are for caddisfly control.

Browse our caddisfly control products below. For more information or to get any questions or concerns address, chat with us online or call our customer service line and we’ll help you right away.

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How To Get Rid of The Caddisfly: 4 Step Solution


Step 1: Identification. To know that you are dealing with a caddisfly and not some other fly, you need to identify how the caddisfly looks. As we mentioned earlier, caddisfly adults are long, slender, and can range between a quarter of an inch to an inch long. They have two pairs of wings that are held in the shape of a tent over their body when at rest. Their antennae are as long or almost as long as their entire body. They normally stay near bodies of water but may wander onto homes usually by accident.


Step 2: Inspection. Before getting into chemical control, a fine inspection should be done to get to the bottom of why the invasion is around. The most obvious signs of caddisflies are adults swarming away from their homes near rivers and streams and showing up around sources of light at night. A few may not be a big problem but it can become an issue when large swarms of caddisfly are attracted to the light and make their way by accident into homes and land on walls and surfaces.


Step 3: Control. If you have observed caddisflies are swarming near outdoor lights or into your home some things you can do to eliminate them is vacuuming them up or applying the insecticides we recommend on this page such as Reclaim IT or Pyrid Aerosol. These will deliver a quick knockdown of the swarming caddisflies. Spraying the bodies of water where they reside is not recommend as it won’t work and may be damaging to streams by spraying chemicals into the water.


Step 4: Prevention. To discourage caddisflies from targeting your home, you will need to manage the lights which are attracting them and put into place exclusion measures to make it harder for them to get indoors. This means putting screens on doors and windows and placing lights far away from buildings. Using sodium vapor lights is recommend as they are less alluring than fluorescent lights for caddisflies.


closeup of caddisflyCaddisfly Background Information

The Caddisfly is an aquatic insect which belongs to the Trichoptera order and share similarities with moths and butterflies. There are at least 7,000 species of caddisfly found across the world and 1,100 of them are found in the U.S. alone. Even though they are an aquatic insect, they can also live and thrive on land. They are also known by other names such as sedge, shadfly and periwinkle.


Caddisfly adults are long, slender, and vary between being ¼  to 1 inch long. They have two pairs of wings that are held “roof-like” over their body when they are resting. The also have long antennae which are nearly as long as their entire bodies. Most caddisflies are a dull-colored browned but certain species are brightly colored.


During the larvae stage, caddisflies are aquatic, spending most of their time around bodies of water such as  streams, rivers, lakes, ponds. Caddisflies complete four developmental stages – egg, larva, pupa and adult. The larval stage lasts 1-2 years; the pupal stage lasts around 2-3 weeks; and adults emerge from their water habitat and fly away in large swarms.


While the adults may venture out away from water but most of the time they make sure to keep close to a water source and try not to stray too far. Adults live less than 30 days, but before they die, they mate and the adult female lays her eggs in or near the water.


Caddisflies diet mainly consists of feeding on decaying aquatic plant debris and algae in their immature stages. Some species of caddisfly in this larvae stage may even prey on aquatic organisms. Adults on the other hand, do not feed. Their primary purpose during their short life span is mating and laying eggs by the females.


Adult caddisflies become a pest problem for humans when they enter homes which they usually enter into because they are attracted to light coming from the home. They have a tendency to intrude upon homes and land on walls and other surfaces usually in very large numbers and thus, control measures are important to remove them from the home.


Tips on Dealing with Caddisfliesswarm of caddisflies


Adult caddisflies as they only live for a short time before dying off in large numbers. If caddisflies have set up camp in or around your home, your best bet would be to wait out the swarm and let them die off on their own. There are ways, however, to discourage caddisflies hanging around near your home.


  • • Reduce or change the lighting: caddisflies have an affinity for bright and especially white light. If you live in an area prone to infestations, we recommended managing light as much as possible around your home around night time or replacing white lights with yellow diffused bug light bulbs or light made from high-pressure sodium vapor. 

  • • You should also do what you can to reduce the amount of light that escape through windows by closing curtains and your shutters tightly.

  • • Reduce standing water as much as you can around your home. If you have a pool, keep it covered at night. caddisflies will flock to wherever water is to drop their eggs.

  • • The use of a heavy-duty vacuum is a good way to suck up caddisflies which have gathered around your home. Make sure to use a disposable vacuum bag and replace it immediately.


Learn More About The Caddisfly

Caddisflies aren’t usually a typical pest we humans deal with and often when they are a nuisance to us it’s usually by accident since the caddisfly likes to be around water and is essentially an aquatic insect. If you’ve ever been fishing, you know full well about the caddisfly as it is a popular source of food for trout and is commonly used as bait for fisherman to capture trout.


Caddisflies don’t mean to embark upon your home, it’s just that they were allured by light and are drawn to it much similar to a number of other insects. They prefer to be near rivers and streams for their nourishment and for breeding.


underwater caddisflyThe Caddisfly Life Cycle

The caddisfly starts out in the bottom of a body of water as a larva. It actually looks a lot like a worm or a grub that lives on the bottom of the river. Now what happens is that the caddisfly will live on the bottom of the river for essentially a year and when water temperatures and time of day are ideal, it will hatch and will pupate.


Depending on the species, the caddisfly will collect river bottom debris, little stones and twigs and maybe some rubble or mud and it’s going to create a little tiny armored case for itself. It will then pull this armored case alongside much like a snail and live in this armored case and when it’s time to hatch, the caddisfly will seal itself up in the little case and it will actually pupate inside.


Then it will carve its way out and rises to the surface on a little nitrogen bubble and by the time it reaches the surface of the water, it will have become a full winged adult and starts flying.


An interesting little tidbit about caddisflies is that if you are near a river or are fishing near a river and you see trout leaping out of the river or jumping out and going back under, it usually because it’s hopping up to eat a caddisfly. A trout actually sits back and watches a caddisfly pupa rise to the surface of the water into adulthood and then right there seizes their opportunity to eat a caddisfly adult when they come up out of the water.


When the caddisfly isn’t getting eaten up by trout, it will lay its eggs into the water and the cycle will start all over again.


Caddisfly Habitat and Behaviorcaddisflies are attracted to light.


To us humans, we may see a peaceful mountain stream. But if you’re a bug living on those algae-covered rocks in the water? You’re living in a state of constant underwater chaos with powerful currents and debris circling all around. How does the small meek caddisfly survive such conditions? By building a shelter of course.


When building a shelter all the caddisfly needs is some raw materials and a little bit of tape.This insect has evolved a tool that’s more advanced than anything us humans have invented: tape which stays sticky underwater.


As we mentioned earlier, adult caddisflies are a favorite food for trout. And artificial baits mimic them in painstaking detail. But caddisflies actually spend the majority of their lives as larvae in shallow, rushing waters which gives them plenty of oxygen they need for their survival.


While the caddisfly’s head and legs are covered in a thick layer of insect armor, they have soft, white lower bodies soft, white lower body can be left exposed to the elements and serves as a weak spot to be exploited by predators. The caddisfly wisely knows how to protect this soft spot via building an armored case.


The caddisfly pulls this off by by binding together pebbles with a special silk that looks, and acts, a lot like a type of double-sided, waterproof tape. Every case starts with one pebble and as the caddisfly travels, it adds more pebbles one by one, like a bricklayer putting up a wall, using its tape as the mortar.


When the caddisfly brushes the surface with his mouth, that’s the insect’s tape dispenser at work. It’s in a gland under the chin. Caddisflies are quite particular about their building stones. Only the right shape and size will do. If it doesn’t fit, it’s out. When the caddisfly finds a match, he fits it into place.


Once the basic shape of the case is taped down with the silk, the caddisfly seals it up from the inside, The problem with the tape we use is that when it’s wet, it loses its stick. Not the caddisflies, it’s totally waterproof and not only that, it’s stretchy and pliable.


Differences Between A Caddisfly and A Mayfly

The caddisfly is often confused with the mayfly. The difference between a caddisfly and a mayfly is that a caddisfly has a complete life cycle while a mayfly does not. The stage that the mayfly doesn’t have is the pupal stage.


Another difference between the caddisfly and the mayfly is during the adult stage. The wing for a caddisfly is considerably different and is more of a tent style. It lays down while the mayfly has a traditional sailboat or upright shaped wing.


Solutions Recommended Products for Caddisfly Control


If you have a large swarm of caddisflies near your home or lakeside where you are residing, we recommend using a spray like Essentria IC3 Natural Pesticide. Essentria has a quick contact kill and can be sprayed freely without worry about harming any other aquatic life. Spray Essentria around bushes, trees, your lawns walkways and banisters and all around the lights they tend to gather at.


If your caddisfly activity is in a place where there aren’t bodies of water, we recommend using a product like Talstar Pro instead. This product will do a great job and will dry clear on the surfaces you treat, however the Essentria because it is all natural, will have a stronger odor of peppermint/spearmint when you do the application and may linger for a few hours after treatment. Talstar, on the other hand, is odorless.


Additional Resources:


Caddisfly | insect | Britannica.com

Caddisflies: Freshwater Species of the Week - National Geographic Blog

Caddisflies of Kentucky - University of Kentucky Entomology


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