We’ve had a hatch of mayflies on Lake Wisconsin right around the Merrimac Ferry Landing (And probably elsewhere). It can look pretty crazy with so many bugs out and about, but once they take flight, they only live about 24 hours so it’s hard to begrudge them their short existence. The hatch started about 2 days ago, so their numbers will be falling quickly as we head into the weekend.
Interestingly since adult mayflies have such short lives that they have no mouths or digestive systems. They aren’t needed. Mayflies don’t bite or sting. They simply fly, mate and die.
Mayflies begin their lives as nymphs that live at the bottom of the lakes and rivers. Their sensitivity to pollution and other water quality issues mean that when you see mayflies you are getting good news about the quality of your waterway. Good news for Lake Wisconsin! Mayflies are also an important food source and can have an impact on sport-fishing, so much so that in 2015 mayflies were captured and reintroduced to Green Bay**!
So in the end, enjoy the clouds of mayflies. They don’t bite or sting and they are a good omen for the lake. But, yeah, you might want to cover your ice cream while you wait for the ferry!