Mayflies are back in Northeast Ohio in numbers large enough to show up on radar!

Midges aren’t even gone yet and now mayflies are here to annoy.

Mayflies are back in Northeast Ohio in numbers large enough to show up on radar!

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) -The National Weather Service (NWS) tweeted out radar pictures from Tuesday night that showed the annual mayfly invasion has begun in numbers so large they showed up on the radar.

Mayflies are different from midges even though most would say they are annoying and sometimes creepy.

The two bugs do have somethings in come, like the fact that both are completely harmless. Neither bites, or sucks your blood.

Both come out in swarms that number in millions.

Those numbers are important because they are a sign Lake Erie is healthy.

Dr. Gavin Svenson with the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, studies bugs and helped explain the differences.

Mayfly or midge? You hear these terms all the time living in northern Ohio, especially along the lakeshore.  (Source WOIO)
Mayfly or midge? You hear these terms all the time living in northern Ohio, especially along the lakeshore.  (Source WOIO)

Lake Mayflies

Mayflies are an ancient group of insects related dragonflies and damselflies. They spend most of their lives as immature nymphs in lakes, rivers, ponds, and streams. Once they reach adulthood, they gain wings and fly to find a mate and reproduce. They live for a very short amount of time as adults. Mayfly adults don’t even feed, their mouth parts are not functional, which means their only interest as adults is to reproduce. They are harmless to humans and do not carry any diseases. They are an important source of food for fish and other aquatic organisms. They also transfer energy from the lake to the land by serving as important food for birds and other terrestrial organisms.

Lake Midges

Midges are small flies related to mosquitoes and crane flies. However, they don’t bite. They spend most of their lives as worm-like larvae on the bottom of the lake. They live as adults for a short time and gather in large swarms to find a mate and reproduce. Adults are thought to not feed, but evidence suggests that they will eat nectar and pollen to extend their lives. They are harmless to humans and do not carry any diseases. A healthy population of midges means plenty of food for the animals that depend on insects as food.

So which are the most annoying or helpful according to Svenson?

Most annoying?

Midges

Most likely to get in your mouth while walking/running/exercising outside?

Midges (which is why they are the most annoying)

Most important to the environment?

Tie, they are both good in different ways. Midges probably have a bigger impact on the region.

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