Disgusting grey clouds of millions of mayflies swarm the Minnesota skies this week. "Mayflies are nearly harmless; they don’t bite, sting, or even eat because they fly only about 24 hours after hatching," reports Fox 9 Minneapolis. "They spring from their muddy homes, fly for a day, mate, and then die."
That's the good news. The bad news is they're gross by the millions and millions, and they cover everything like a nightmarish horde of winged sonofabitches.
As terrible as these hatching events sound, it’s actually good news. The recent surge of these mayflies have many in the Department of Natural Resources applauding because the amount of mayflies seen often correlates to how healthy area lakes and rivers are. With the huge influx in pollutants during the latter half of the 20th Century, mayflies nearly became extinct because their larva are especially sensitive to pollutants in the water like lead, mercury, and many pesticides. But since humans have learned how harmful these can be, the slow cutting back of these has allowed the waterways to become cleaner in recent years and has allowed the mayflies to flourish once again.
This is important because the mayfly can be a BIG source of food for area fish whose food supplies have been dwindling over the last few decades. So the moral of this story; they may be gross, but they are good for the environment.
More photos here.
[myfoxtwincities.com. Photos: National Weather Service]