Fishflies: Nuisance or Cause for Celebration?
They may be irritating and stinky, but around Anchor Bay they represent summertime and a popular festival kicking off this week.
Massive swarms of fishflies in the New Baltimore area this time of year are a nuisance or cause for celebration–depending upon how you view them.
Thousands of the aquatic insects, less commonly known as mayflies, seem to come out of nowhere to invade the lakefront. But their presence can also represent healthy water quality.
Adult fishflies usually live for about a day. During their short time on land, they molt, mate and lay eggs, according to the Columbia Encyclopedia online.
Lacking a developed mouth, adults do not feed during their lifespan. But, they are a source of food for fish and play an important role in the food chain, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
New Baltimore 'bugs out' with pride
As the only known festival in the nation to honor the insects, Bay-Rama Fishfly Festival in downtown New Baltimore will kick off this week and run June 22-26.
“(The festival has its name) because it’s put on at the time the fishflies are out, and we celebrate them,” said Cheryl Hepp, parade co-chairwoman for Bay-Rama.
While Hepp acknowledged the presence of fishflies in other Michigan cities, she said New Baltimore seems to get more than its fair share of the smelly insects.
“For some reason, our waters are conducive to it,” she said. “When you have a lot of fishflies it means the water is better and cleaner, and we have so many of them, which might be because of the shallow water we have.”