Mayfly Apocalypse confirmed by Doppler radar

by JGordon on Jun. 04th, 2010

A storm... of mayflies: They're coming for you. Well, no, not really. Or are they? No.
A storm... of mayflies: They're coming for you. Well, no, not really. Or are they? No.Courtesy NOAA
I hope y'all have your Mayfly Apocalypse plans laid out. Quick! Raid the fly swatter store! Get used to mayfly burgers!

What you're looking at is a Doppler radar image from La Crosse, Wisconsin, from Saturday. Mayflies just hatched on that section of the Mississippi. The pink, purple, and white area along the river is where the insects were thickest, so thick that the Doppler weather radar picked them up. Wild. Cover your mouth, eh?

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

mdr's picture
mdr says:

I had the pleasure of driving through the same area several years ago when a hatch was in full swing. I don't care to repeat the experience.

posted on Fri, 06/04/2010 - 4:10pm
Liza's picture
Liza says:

I've never seen a mayfly swarm. But I hear that in some places, their little buggy corpses cover the roads in layers so thick and slippery that cities have to use snowplows to clear them away. And I've heard they stink. Like, really stink.

MDR, is it true? What do they smell like?

posted on Fri, 06/04/2010 - 4:32pm
mdr's picture
mdr says:

You know, I don't remember there being a bad smell but that could be due to fading brain cells and the fact we were in our car (possibly with the windows up and the air conditioner on). This happened at least 35 years ago, and I just remember coming upon a sudden and tremendous swarm of flying vermin in the air as we were driving. It was at night and was like driving during a snowstorm with your high-beams on. I'm pretty sure we were on the Wisconsin side of the river, and I remember having to turn on the wipers to clear the windshield. It didn't last very long but it was memorable.

posted on Fri, 06/04/2010 - 5:04pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

After they die and wash up on lakeshore, they smell like dead fish

posted on Fri, 06/18/2010 - 8:27am
stevea's picture
stevea says:

Wow, that must be a lot of mayflies to get such a big radar return. Radars routinely pick up birds and bats - so they do more than just weather.

posted on Sat, 06/05/2010 - 1:37pm
JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

There was another massive mayfly hatching in the LaCrosse area on July 20. I'm not sure if I can post a .gif file (I'll try below), but this one is sort of cool, because you can see the cloud of newborn/hatched mayflies spreading out over the river as the evening goes on.

Another mayfly eruption: Mayflies on Doppler weather radar.
Another mayfly eruption: Mayflies on Doppler weather radar.Courtesy NOAA

posted on Mon, 07/26/2010 - 11:04am
John Lucas's picture
John Lucas says:

The areas around southern Lake Erie (Toledo and Cleveland Ohio area) has been inundated annually with mayflies since the mid 90's. They show up on Doppler radar regularly during the season.

posted on Sun, 05/03/2015 - 11:12am

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