Tuesday, July 7, 2015

First Batch Has Hatched

If you lived along the Mississippi River in the summer, you've experienced the swarms of Mayflies. Although they hatch in late June to July, not May as one might expect, these short-lived insects hatch, breed and die in a single day.

To the amazement of outsiders, billions of Mayflies can cause bridge and road closures as their decaying bodies pile up inches over night creating slick surfaces. Never fear the snow plow trucks serve a dual purpose clearing the way again. The even show up on weather radar. It's raining Mayflies.

I was enlightened to their cycled many years ago when the Heart of La Crosse made their debut at the Pump House, giving us their interpretation of the lifecycle of the Mayfly. You had to be there.

While you are sleeping the hatch begins and the mating follows. The females return to their water source to lay the eggs, while the male goes to the proverbial light. Yes, if you leave your porch light on you'll have your own collection at your doorstep in the morning. So gas stations, downtown streets, the Cass Street Bridge are the gathering points for the mass exodus.

Now since Perrot State Park doesn't have many street lights to attract these buggers you won't find the big messes. The fisherman will tell you thought the aquatic life is well fed during these hatchings and on the plus side the appearance of the Mayfly is an indication of a healthy water system.


  1. I can't tell you how glad we missed their first hatching at the fireworks on the 4th. YaHoo.

  2. I remember seeing them blanketing the sides of buildings as they were dying - they are disgusting...but fascinating as well.