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Millions of mayflies invade a gas station in Nekoosa

Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 7:47 PM CDT|Updated: 21 hours ago
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - The annual invasion of mayflies in Nekoosa came once again this year, but this time there was a lot more of them at the BP gas station on Market St. Millions piled on top of each other on the pumps and the store.

An employee said that they were six inches high on the windows. They were attracted by the bright lights from the gas station at night.

Many people were afraid to use the gas pumps. An employee working that night said that she saw at least six cars pull in the parking lot and then right back out without pumping gas.

This strange phenomenon caused a lot of conversation on social media and many questioned why the bugs were back.

A professor at UW-Stevens Point said it was because there weren’t enough parasites to eat the mayflies this year when they emerged from the water.

“If our water quality goes down, like pollution for example, then we will start to see the populations decline simply because of negative changes in water quality. So Mayflies also serve as a really good indicator of the health of some of our streams and rivers and some lakes,” said Jamee Hubbard, UW-Stevens Point Biology Professor.

The bug boom shows there is a healthy ecosystem in the Wisconsin River. Females can lay 400 to 3,000 eggs according to Professor Hubbard. Their life span is 24 to 48 hours. This is what causes a massive pile-up of dead mayflies in one location.

Professor Hubbard assured that it is normal for them to make an appearance this time of year and the name comes from its origin story associated with a May Flower.

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