LA CROSSE, WIS — It’s June in La Crosse! Time for the Coulee Region’s annual Mayfly hatching; an event so exciting, gas station employees choreograph their sweeping of Mayfly corpses by the thousands to a song and dance as if they were the chimney sweeps in Mary Poppins. But because 2020 is a pants-shit of a year, this event decided to follow suit with a hatching that was a bit… unusual.
So many Mayflies hatched at once near the Mississippi River Saturday night the cloud of flying fish smell was picked up on the National Weather Service’s radar. Though the life cycle of a Mayfly is ecologically vital for local wildlife, the sheer mass of the mayflies is problematic for drivers and well-lit places that have to deal with the piles of dead Mayflies.
Apart from the cloud’s massive size, this does not appear to be an ordinary Mayfly hatching. The La Crosse National Weather Service shared an image of the radar, showing a mass of Mayflies over the Mississippi River in what appears to be a middle finger. The hatching in the shape of a middle finger is an ominous sign that the Mayflies are not messing around this year.
“This batch of Mayflies is definitely not ordinary,” said Department of Natural Resources (DNR) entomologist Gordan Bombay, “As a matter of fact, they appear to be pretty pissed off.”
Bombay speculated several reasons why the Mayflies may be enraged, but said he won’t know for sure until they establish communication with the swarming mass.
“I speculate that they are pissed because their entire life is pretty much wake up, have sex, and then die,” Bombay added, “Personally I think that is a great life, but what do I know?”
There is no report on what the swarm’s intentions are, but DNR officials are asking to keep their outdoor lights off and keep a tennis racquet handy.
Reporter Dr. Jonathan H. Dong contributed to this article.