North Shore Mayfly infestation is a tragic love story - FOX 8, WVUE, fox8live.com, weather, app, news, saints

North Shore Mayfly infestation is a tragic love story

Dead mayflies litter a gas station after their daylong life of mating. (FOX 8) Dead mayflies litter a gas station after their daylong life of mating. (FOX 8)
SLIDELL, LA (WVUE) -

North Slidell residents were stunned, but a local bug expert say they have little to fear from a swarm of insects that nearly covered a convenience store Monday night.

Several posted facebook videos that quickly went viral. Residents are used to bugs in south Louisiana, but this was different.

 It appeared to be one of the largest termite swarms anyone had ever seen in the area, but upon closer inspection

"That’s mayflies not termites," said a social media  poster.

Mayflies are two inch winged cousins to dragonflies that appear to have been lured to the convenience store by the bright lights.

"They come at night to find a mate and they use the moon to navigate and they're tricked into finding these gas stations with big lights and that’s where they tend to swarm," said entomologist Kevin Caillouet, Ph.D., with St. Tammany Mosquito Abatement.

 But the attraction to this store, was not  confined to night.  Thousands clung to the side in broad daylight, while thousands more lay dead by the pumps.

"They literally hatch out of the water and live for just one day to mate, and deposit eggs less than 24 hours," said Caillouet.

There are a number of theories as to why the mayflies are congregating at this Slidell area convenience store and it mainly has to do with the stores proximity to the Pearl River swamp.

 The mayflies are indicators of good water quality, they lay their eggs in fast-moving clean water," said Caillouet.

 Caillouet said they are a key part of the food chain, but  Harmony Lairsey doesn't care much about that.

"I thought they were gonna break my window," said Lairsey.

 Kenny Hickman also saw the swarm at the EZ Quick.

"I don't think I've ever seen them this bad," said Hickman.

"I was  like freaking out," Lairsey said..

St. Tammany mosquito control says the mayflies, are not harmed by mosquito spraying designed to kill much smaller insects. They say they don't bite people, and venture out strictly to find mates.

Copyright 2018 WVUE. All rights reserved.

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