Bug swarms (and accompanying swarms of swallows)

fusty_overalls(z6 PA)July 19, 2005

Last nite I was driving home (across the McKees Rocks Bridge near Pittsburgh, for those of you who know where that is) and first I noticed a very happy swarm of swallows diving and swooping.

When we stopped at the light, I realized that there were many little bugs around my car...just flying around and bumping into the car and stuff. As I sat there watching the swallows, I noticed what looked like mini tornados...kinda grey and off in the distance...but, the weather was nice and not breezy at all.

When the light changed and I drove closer, I realized that these were not tornadoes (of course) but HUGE swarms of bugs all flying in circles together forming a tall column several stories high! There were probably 4 or 5 of them that I could see from the bridge. What do you think was going on?

I wanted to run home and give the bats that live in my woods directions to the bridge! ;-) There were just too many bugs even for the dozens of swallows that were gathering.

Thanks for any info you can provide.

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If you were near water, particularly moving water(stream, river, etc.) I'm gonna guess what you were seeing was one of two things.

1) A swarm of caddis flies, an aquatic insect that gathers in huge numbers along streams before ovipositing; that is, dropping eggs on the water.

2) It could also have been a swarm of mayflies beginning their final act of female ovipositing, and male fertilizing, both of which take place over water. Once accomplished, the adults die and drop to the water flat-winged. This is called a "spinner fall." Adult mayflies have no mouths, they don't eat, they live but about one full day. Hope this helps. Cheers!

    Bookmark   July 19, 2005 at 2:13PM
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wolfe15136(z6 PA)

I once attended a Pirates game, as the mayflies were swarming on the river. ICK! Nasty!

However, its a good sign that the river is returning to health.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2005 at 2:17PM
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fusty_overalls(z6 PA)

oh! ok. are they (caddis or mayflies) large? these were kinda mosquito-looking...maybe a little bigger. they didn't seem to be falling. they were sort of going in an upward spiral. they were over water...right under the bridge is the river and the sewage treatment plant.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2005 at 4:52PM
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