Mayflies taking flight on a warm Alabama night!

You can bet the bass are going crazy on Lake Guntersville right now; the mayflies are swarming!

That spot on radar Wednesday evening north of Scottsboro is a large swarm of mayflies (and some other flying insects and/or bats) that took flight from the area around Lake Guntersville just after sunset and drifted north with a light southerly breeze.

Other parts of the country have more dense hatchings than those here in Alabama, but it doesn’t make it any less creepy if you are the one caught in the swarm!

One big swarm in 2015 got a lot of attention in the Decatur area: Waterfront residents dealing with annual mayfly mess!

Just after 10 PM, Brian Carcione (Science Operations Officer/Meteorologist at NWS Huntsville) tweeted this image showing something that looks more like bats than bugs:

Bassmaster.com calls the insect hatching ‘Mayfly magic’ in a 2013 article that describes their hatching process:

They began as larvae on the bottom of rivers and lakes, a time when they are equally attractive to predators. We refer to larvae as “wigglers” which are trapped and sold as livebait throughout the north. Wigglers are especially deadly on panfish and popular among ice fishermen.

When they mature, they float toward the surface and a fly emerges from the shell of the larvae. As they reach the surface, the mayfly will sit on the water and fly when their wings dry.

A telltale sign of a mayfly hatch – other than seeing the bugs fluttering on the surface – is to notice floating larvae shells. These shells are 3/4 to 1 inch long and what I look for along the shore if I suspect there has been a hatch and no flies are visible.

Hatches generally occur during the evenings and will continue into the night. Once they fly, the flies mate quickly and die within 48 hours. They fall into the water or land in a tree, usually one that overhangs the water’s edge.

If you have photos or stories about the mayflies in your area, let us know! Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, or send pics to photo@whnt.com.

-Jason
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