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:

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. photo: Mayor Luigi Brugnaro walks on St Mark's Square as exceptionally high tidal flooding engulfed the city.
    Environment

    Venice Faces ‘Apocalyptic’ Flooding

    Seasonal acqua alta reached the highest level since 1966, leaving two dead and devastating damage. The city’s ambitious flood barrier isn’t ready yet.

  2. A view of a Harlem corner.
    Equity

    How Ronald Reagan Halted the Early Anti-Gentrification Movement

    An excerpt from Newcomers, a new book by Matthew L. Schuerman, documents the early history of the anti-gentrification and back-to-the-city movements.

  3. a bike rider and bus riders in Seattle.
    Perspective

    There’s No App for Getting People Out of Their Cars

    “Mobility as a Service” boosters say that technology can nudge drivers to adopt transit and micromobility. But big mode shifts will take more than a cool app.  

  4. photo: A metro train at Paris' Gare Du Nord.
    Transportation

    Can the Paris Metro Make Room for More Riders?

    The good news: Transit ridership is booming in the French capital. But severe crowding now has authorities searching for short-term solutions.

  5. photo: A woman crosses an overpass above the 101 freeway in Los Angeles, California.
    Transportation

    Navigation Apps Changed the Politics of Traffic

    In an excerpt from the new book The Future of Transportation, CityLab’s Laura Bliss adds up the “price of anarchy” when it comes to traffic navigation apps.

×