Mayflies swarming through central Wisconsin - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Mayflies swarming through central Wisconsin

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WAUSAU (WAOW) -

It's gotten a bit buggy recently in central Wisconsin.

People are noticing swarms of mayflies in the area, but ecologists say that's not a bad thing.

An aquatic ecologist says the bugs live in wet environments like those long the Wisconsin River or Mississippi River.

He says they come out in the warm summer months to reproduce, which creates the swarms.

Ecologists say swarms contain thousands to even millions of mayflies.

They say the largest swarms can even be seen on the National Weather Service radar.

But scientists say it wasn't this way until the government passed the Clean Water Act in 1972.

Before then, they say mayfly populations were down drastically.

"The river is cleaner now than it was in the 60s and 70s and these mayflies are little biological indicators that the water quality is getting much better," said Jeff Dimick, an aquatic ecologist at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point. "These mayflies are repopulating these rivers in response to more favorable environmental conditions."

The specialist says when mayflies die, they can pile up on the roads, which sometimes creating slippery conditions.

 

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