GIMLI, MB —; As summer gets into full swing, there’s one visitor at the beach many are doing their best to keep away.
Fish flies have taken over many areas of the Interlake, including Gimli.
Millions of flies are perched along every building, coating every car, blocking drains and leaving behind a stench of dead fish.
“They are everywhere,” said one woman. “You’re always swatting them away.”
WATCH: Global’s Brittany Greenslade goes to Gimli to witness the fish fly invasion first hand
No matter where you look, the fish flies have taken over. The outside walls of buildings are completely covered, picnic tables are unusable and boats are coated in the insects.
“They’re everywhere,” said one girl. “The streets were covered last night.”
Millions of dead flies are washing up on the shores with each passing wave. As you walk along the beach, the sound of crunching is unmistakable.
“Absolutely horrible,” said Doreen Gilroy. “It makes you itchy and grimy.”
The fly infestation is nothing new and generally only lasts a few weeks. The insects don’t bite and are more of a nuisance than anything else but they do leave behind quite an odor.
It smells like rotten fish,” said Kevin Watt. “My job right now is to get rid of the fish flies that decided to drop along the sidewalk and side of the building.”
Twice a day, Watt uses a leaf blower to try to clean the sidewalks of the dead bugs.
“We blow every morning,” he said. “The parking lot is a little hard to do because they stick to the ground and all the cars.”
While the insects are piling up around the town, this year’s infestation is not even close to some prior years where heavy machinery needed to be called in to help with the clean up.
“Some years where in fact we not only had to use our street sweepers but front end loaders to sweep up the piles from critical areas in town,” said former mayor William Barlow.
The flies are also attracted to light and in years past, Barlow said they would turn off the street lamps to try to keep them away.
“There are times when we saw this happening where we would turn off as many lights as we could to avoid that,” said Barlow.
While they may be a nuisance for many, fish flies are a good sign of a healthy ecosystem.
“They don’t like really polluted water,” said entomologist Taz Stuart. “There’s lots of good sites out there, good healthy water.”