Sunday, July 3, 2011

Fish Flies

It's that time of year again.

(Smaller than actual size)

There are thousands of different species of them. Most people around the world know them as May Flies.
Here in Michigan, they are Fish Flies. In the evening light, the swarms of them can be so thick, it blocks out the sun. They snap and pop under your feet as you walk. They land all over you; in your hair; on your cloths; they're even stupid enough to fly right into your mouth.

I love to tell the story of when I had my convertible down at the fishfly festival . I had left a soda in the cup holder of the car with the top down. Knowing that these things are everywhere, I had a lid on the soda with a straw sticking out so that none landed in my drink. I returned to my car after dark and proceeded home. I then reached for a refreshing drink of my protected soda. I wrapped my lips around that straw and took a big sip. I then realized that something was fluttering in my mouth. It appears that one had landed on the straw. I have since learned to check the straw.

They have no mouth and can not bite you. They serve no real purpose at all, except to feed the fish and birds. They only live less than 24 hours in most cases. So you are left in the morning with blackened streets around every street light, lighted sign or porch light. Some communities even bring out snow plows to clear them. If you try to stop quickly with your car under a light, you will slide as if you are driving on ice. Millions of dead flies everywhere. Living near the water makes it even worse. The spiders will create webs around the lights, knowing that dinner is on it's way. In the light of morning, you are left with swaying black masses dangling from every light fixture. Such was the case this morning picking up the hearse to go to work. We have a light, right next to our garage door. I declined to take  a picture of that. And I'm sure that you all thank me for that.

Another of my fish fly stories dates back to my first job. I was a stock boy at a drug store (of all places) and every morning in the summer, it was my job to hook up the hose and wash down the front of the store. They would be so thick on the lighted sign that you couldn't even see it. Let me reassure you that it was a smelly job. I don't think they paid me enough now that I think back on that.

This parody of a Pure Michigan ad about sums it up....


betty said...

never heard of them. Are they around for the whole summer or do they have a short season? I can't imagine. I'd like to see it just once but only for one night. Amazing!

that ad was funny I have to say; it looked so pretty there until the fish fly part of the ad, very clever whoever wrote it.

we definitely don't have fish flies or May flies here in Southern California.

thanks for sharing this; learned something new today


Unknown said...

Aren't they wonderful!
They are around for about 6 weeks or so. Between late June and early August. So I never understood calling them may flies.

We also have June bugs. Maybe I'll do a special on them too.

Jim said...

Never heard of these before! You know who would have had a 'field day' with these? Alfred Hitchcock! That's who!
Actually get swarms of flying ants in late August early September. But nothing a thick as your Fish Flies. Are there more some years than others?

Unknown said...

Although we wish there were less some years, the answer would be NO. It's just part of life in the fresh water area.

936000 said...

Well, it could be least they don't bite, but still, how annoying!
Thanks for a much needed chuckle on this Tuesday that is a Monday!