Oh no, they are back, and they keep multiplying. Mayflies, better known as fishflies, are all over and landing on everything – the light posts, the sign at 7-11 and the sidewalks. But in reality, having all these fishflies around is actually a good thing.
The lifecycle of a fishfly is a very unique one. After the female lays her eggs on the surface of the water, they float to the bottom of the lake and become nymphs. This will be the nymph’s new home for the next year before they surface and become known as subimago. The subimago phase lasts a few hours. During this process, they shed their skin and are now a fishfly.
At this point, the fishflies mate. The females return to the water, lay their eggs and die on the surface of the water. The males fly off to land and will live between 24 hours and 7 days.
Fishflies are a water quality indicator. Fishflies are very sensitive to pollution. When the environment from which they are hatched from is producing large qualities of fishflies, it reflects on the good quality of our lakes.
In addition, fishflies are such a part of Macomb County’s summer that a community festival is named after them, Bay-Rama Fishfly Festival in New Baltimore. This festival is a yearly event and will be taking place next week, June 21-25. Check out the calendar of events and stop on down at beautiful downtown New Baltimore. Event highlights include carnival rides, fireworks, 5K run and a parade.
While visiting the festival, check out this very unique fishfly bike rack. On July 8, 2015, Campbell & Shaw Steel donated this bike rack to the New Baltimore Downtown Development Authority and the city of New Baltimore.
Next time you go for a walk and you hear the popping under your feet, remember it will only last for a short time and all these fishflies are really a good thing. It is when we see fewer fishflies that we need to be worried.
Lauri Cowhy is a senior communications specialist for the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development.