Sometime around the middle of May and lasting through June and into July, there is a plague of insects that strikes the cities, towns, and villages along Lake Erie's shoreline. This plague is outdone only by those described in the Bible (or so it seems that way to townsfolk) of great hordes of insects invading the land and laying it to waste. Fortunately, this insect is totally harmless... unless you are sliding on them in your car. They are drawn to any light source - coating the sides of buildings and telephone poles. They are actually a handsome bug... windswept transparent wings, two long graceful tails no thicker than a hair, streamlined body... the main problem... they stink like dead fish! What am I talking about, you ask.... The now famous Lake Erie Mayflies!
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Here's some quick facts about our winged wonders
Mayflies usually live for 24-72 hours. Don't forget that they've already spent 1-2 years on the bottom of the lake as a nymph living burrowed in the mud. Within that three days, though, they manage to get into about everything you can imagine. You will find dead mayflies lying around on the sidewalks, in spider webs, on window ledges, etc. They'll go anywhere where there's light at night. Wear a white shirt outside at night and you'll see what I mean.
Many mayflies stack up on the streets below street lights. This is where they land after they get tired of flying around the light for hours on end. Once on the street, they are usually run over by cars and make this "snapping" sound and it's all over. If its dry, they turn into a dust after several hours of traffic. If it's raining, they turn into a thick soup that smells something awful (read 'real dead fish'). The City of Port Clinton has gained approval from the Environmental Protection Agency, and a grant from the Ohio Lake Erie Commission, for the very first mayfly composting site in America! Now isn't that quite a claim to fame for the city that's already The Walleye Capital of the World!!.