Attack of the flies! Mayfly swarm large enough to be picked up on weather radar makes landfall, blanketing streets in Northeast Ohio
- Port Clinton, Ohio, residents woke up to a city covered in mayflies Thursday
- The mayfly swarm had been spotted on Doppler radar Wednesday night
- The mayflies hatched in Lake Erie and were swarming during a mating frenzy
- One dramatic picture shows mayflies carpeting cars in a parking lot
Northeast Ohio residents were plagued by a swarm of mayflies, which transformed their normal streets into scenes straight out of a horror movie.
While mayfly swarms are said to be an annual issue for residents in the area, locals in Port Clinton, Ohio, have been hit particularly hard by the unusual level of insect activity recently.
On Wednesday night, local news weather reports revealed that there were were so many of the insects flying over the Lake Erie and the Port Clinton area that they actually showed up on radars.
A Port Clinton, Ohio, resident captured this terrifying scene of a mayfly swarm covering cars in a parking lot. The mayflies had hatched in nearby Lake Erie and made landfall Thursday
Cleveland 19 News’ chief meteorologist Jason Nicholas tweeted out a radar image showing what appeared to be a large green cloud covering the lake region, captioning it: ‘Not rain… but MAYFLIES on the radar tonight out near the islands!’
Meanwhile, News 5 Cleveland meteorologist Mark Johnson also posted a Doppler radar image on Facebook, noting ‘Millions of Insects filling the skies over Western Lake Erie again tonight.’
The next day, Port Clinton residents woke up to find mayflies blanketing parked cars, boats, streets and more.
One particularly startling image from Thursday morning showed cars in a parking lot at Miller Ferry that were completely carpeted by mayflies, which can be anywhere from a quarter of an inch to an inch long.
Thousands of mayflies were spotted covering boats in Put-in-Bay, Ohio, Thursday. The mayflies are said to be attracted to light
The mayfly swarms are an annual occurrence in the area and are thought to be a sign of clean water in Lake Erie
Local news reports revealed that the mayfly swarm was large enough to have been picked up by weather radars
A Doppler weather radar map showing the mayfly swarm Wednesday night over Lake Erie
A Miller Ferry employee told News 5 Cleveland that this kind of a scene appears annually and the mayflies ‘are attracted to light, so that car must have been under the light.’
The employee also noted that that particular parking lot purposely doesn’t have many lights in it, as part of the facility’s efforts to avoid people having to deal with mayfly swarms in this situation.
An Ohio Department of Natural Resources spokesperson told the news station that it looked like the mayflies had been blown over the cars and parking lot and not a ‘natural occurrence.’
The presence of mayflies in the area is said to be a good sign of healthy, clean lake waters, however.
Mayflies range from half an inch to an inch and are said to be harmless. They mate while swarming and only survive one or two days after making landfall (stock image)
‘Scientists agree that the inconveniences caused by swarms of mayflies during about a month each summer are more than offset by the potential benefits to the sport and commercial fisheries of the western basin of Lake Erie and parts of the other Great Lakes,’ the Ohio Sea Grant told CNN.
Mayflies lay eggs in lake sediment, which go on to hatch about a year or two later. Fully-grown mayflies then swim to the lakes’ surface. Swarms last about a month, with individual mayflies only surviving a day or two after making landfall.
While swarming, the mayflies engage in a mating frenzy, according to TribLive.
Although mayflies don’t bite and are harmless, their habit of covering roads, bridges and other street surfaces can create hazards for drivers. Cars crushing female mayflies leads to liquid being released from their eggs, making surfaces slick, which can lead to crashes.