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Mayflies can be more than a nuisance; they can also bring safety issues

Weather radars show the mayflies are already sliding eastward, ready to take over areas near the lakefront.

PORT CLINTON, Ohio — It's an annual event that not a lot of people look forward to, but there's no stopping it.

Yes, the mayflies are hatching, eventually covering trees and everything else in sight, similar to midges.

"Mayflies are about two to three times the size [of midges]," Jake Kumda with the Cleveland Metroparks explains. "They've got larger wings, and they've got three little tails that come out the back of them, so that's one way you can identify them."

The first places to see then are typically out west, where the lake water is warmer. Port Clinton is seeing early swarms, attracted by street lights in the city. FirstEnergy is going dark to combat them.

"[We're] temporarily turning off street lights in selected areas to discourage swarms of mayflies from gathering near them," FirstEnergy spokesperson Lauren Siburkis told 3News.

It's a helpful trick, but hardly a fix for the clouds of mayflies that are heading east to take over areas near the lakefront. Weather radars show they are already sliding eastward.

For anglers, it means the catches will be a little more difficult, as the fish will have plenty of food to eat in the coming weeks. On land, the buildup of mayflies presents another issue when they start to die.

"The carcasses contain an oily substance that makes the surfaces they coat very slippery," Siburkis said.

The problem is exacerbated if it rains, making walkways and areas near doorways extra slick when you'd least expect it. While it's something to be aware of, the good news about mayflies is they don't stick around for long.

"Similar to midges, mayflies are going to emerge as adults and only be around for a few days," another representative from the Metroparks stated.

Harmless flying critters that only emerge to mate. They don't bite; they're just annoying. But the more you see, the better, as they're a sign our Great Lakes are in good health.

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