John Metcalfe is CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, based in Oakland. His coverage focuses on climate change and the science of cities.
Close your mouths, everyone.
It’s the perfect storm for entomophobes: a dark, buzzing cloud of bugs rising out of the depths and, er, beelining straight to your home.
That’s exactly what’s going on in communities around Lake Erie, thanks to a massive emergence of mayflies. The seasonally activated insects kicked off their mating ritual in typical style, covering surfaces in wriggling, hairy-looking mats and flying in a horde so dense it appeared on radar. Look, here’s a Doppler image of flies coming out of the lake on Tuesday night, courtesy of WEWS meteorologist Mark Johnson:
That ghastly picture has one woman on Twitter wondering, “is Mother Nature related to Stephen King?”
The Cleveland Scene says to “expect to see them in the millions any day now.” And then expect to see them dead by the millions, as their adult life span can be as brief as 30 minutes. That can cause problems for people, as piles of rotting bug carcasses smell foul, and in a recent case in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, can make roads so slick they cause traffic accidents.
Insect hordes besmearing weather radars aren’t unheard of; last September, the signature of a mysterious cloud over St. Louis wound up being butterflies. But folks shouldn’t expect this invasion to be as lovely as drifting veils of Monarchs, given early sightings on social media:
Invasion of the mayflies pic.twitter.com/ER2yW7fTEC— Benjamin (@frankartb) June 24, 2015