Downtown Dubuque littered with Mayflies Friday morning - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Downtown Dubuque littered with Mayflies Friday morning


Many streets and sidewalks were littered with insect carcasses Friday morning after the largest emergence of Mayflies in Dubuque this year took place Thursday night.  Mayflies or fish flies, as some people call them, are winged insects that don't bite of sting. The insects live most of their life in the Mississippi river. When the flies do emerge, they emerge for just 24 hours to mate, lay eggs and then die.

The dead insects can typically be seen around light fixtures, the flies are attracted to those bright lights. Connie Schute is Owner of The Jewelry Box located in downtown Dubuque. She says it's a street light that attracted thousands of mayflies to her business.

"I have this street light here, so they are usually located around my door and on the window ledges. The insects never really get any higher then that." Schute said.

Schute spent Friday morning sweeping around her business to get rid of those dead insects. Mark Wagner is the Director for Education at the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium. He says big mayfly emergence are a sign of a healthy river.

"If the river had pollution in it, heavy metals or something that would actually kill the larva and nymphs living in the river we wouldn't have any hatching at all." Wagner said.

There are usually two or three mayfly swarms that take place in Dubuque throughout the summer.

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