Radar shows annual menace mayfly is making its presence known

Hani Barghouthi
The Detroit News

How do we know summer is finally arriving in Michigan? Radar images showing apocalyptic swarms of insects descending on lakeshore communities, of course! 

The Great Lakes Region appears to be on the precipice of mayfly season again, with the potentially slippery foes that many see as a nuisance but experts tout as a sign of healthy environments making an appearance on the Doppler radar. 

Swarm of mayflies registers on weather radar, signalling the arrival of warmer weather in parts of the Great Lakes Region.

Ross Ellet, a meteorologist with WTVG in Toledo, posted the above photo on his Facebook page Wednesday morning, showing a swarm of the insects emerging from Lake Erie. 

Mayflies, or fish flies, are known to fly together in search of bright light, often clinging to lamp posts and generally being eyesores in lakeshore communities. They are harmless but can be a challenge for homeowners and businesses to keep at bay.

Their lifespan is about two days, and when they their carcasses can appear an apocalyptic scene on boats, sidewalks and roads, where crunches can be heard when cars drive over them. They also emit an odor after they die.

Though viewed as an annoyance for the most part, many also see them as an indicator, however inconvenient, of warm weather and summer activity. 

David Lowenstein, Michigan State University Extension educator, told The Detroit News last year that mayflies are most active from mid-June to July. More mayflies are likely to turn up in the coming weeks.

"Mayflies are a good thing when they emerge. They indicate better quality water, higher oxygen levels and less pollution. ... It's a good sign the waterways are still supporting these kind of insects."



Staff Writer Kim Kozlowski contributed.