Residents of north Slidell, Louisiana had quite a scare a few nights ago after what looked like a swarm of termites descended upon several houses and a gas station in the town. Although the scene may have been terrifying, a local pest control professional in the area insisted that the insects were not harmful. At this point, residents of Louisiana are probably getting pretty sick of termite swarms, as an unusually high amount of swarms have been spotted already this year. Although residents of Louisiana are used to bugs, several residents insisted that the recent swarms were different. A multitude of videos showing footage of the swarm at the gas station were posted to Facebook by Slidell residents. The termite swarm appeared to be the largest termite swarm that had ever occurred in the region. However, after several viewers looked closely at the swarming bugs, they found that they were not termites at all, but instead, mayflies. Mayflies are smaller relatives of dragonflies and the swarm descended upon the gas station due to the bright lights that were present in the parking lot and by the gas pumps.
According to entomologist Kevin Caillouet, Ph.D., with St. Tammany Mosquito Abatement, mayflies emerge in swarms during the night in order to find a mate. The swarms use the moon as a directional guide, but they are often sidetracked by bright artificial lights, such as the ones at the gas station. However, what is odd about the recent swarm was its activity during the daytime. Thousands of mayflies were still clinging to the side of the gas station while thousands more were lying dead on the ground during the daylight hours. Mayflies hatch underwater and they only live for twenty four hours. During this twenty four hour period mayflies struggle to mate and deposit their eggs. Many people are still puzzled as to why so many mayflies were attracted to the gas station, but experts believe that they originated from a nearby lake.
Have you ever witnessed a mayfly swarm?Tags: pest control