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Insect invasion just part of the cycle

Summertime in Ohio included a familiar pattern of events. There were trips to the beaches at Lake Erie and there was the annual attack by “Canadian soldiers,” aka Mayflies. Canadian soldiers sounds more exciting, don’t you think? As a boy, I tried to extract more meaning from that label than perhaps was intended. Looking at those flies, they appear to be carrying a long sword. Maybe that is what they mean, I thought.

Mayfly, you rarely see just one
Mayfly, you rarely see just one
Getty Images
Arlington, Virginia streams
James George

Well, as menacing as they appeared, the flies were harmless. The trouble was that they came in a hoard in very large numbers. They attached themselves to screens and sides of buildings.

The fishes enjoyed them as they landed on the water. It may have been more difficult to catch fish in their presence because the fish were full and not hungry.

Having once lived along the Rocky River in Berea, Ohio just south of Cleveland, I experienced their arrival as reported by

What brought this up was Jen McDonnell mentioned them in the Ballston Pond blog this week. She writes about stream monitoring of macroinvertebrates.

See the link: Ballston Pond

Barb Galbincea, Northeast Ohio Media Group, posted pictures of Mayflies on Pinetrust. Her firsthand visual experience in Cleveland, Ohio describes the situation better than words.

At this time of year, the water in the streams appears to be crystal clear for the most part. That is because there is little or no rain to cloud them. The water level evaporates to a lower state and all living things head for the shade, except for some small fishes for which it doesn’t appear to make much difference.

We’re in a summertime transition now. Flowers are mature, drying out and seeding. Birds are finding plenty to eat. As we are experiencing the hottest and driest season, the autumn plants will begin to emerge and transform. Fruits are appearing in trees and will ripen at summer's end.

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