“Just have to throw the whole gas station away…” Watch as this biblical proportion of mayflies descends on an unwary Alabama marina gas station. At least they’re not locusts?
“How many mayflies is too many mayflies?” asked no one ever. At least, they won’t after watching this viral video. With over 5 million views, Ty Leo’s recent TikTok video has countless social media users wondering what fresh hell the young man entered.
Turns out – it’s a marina gas station in Cedar Bluff, Alabama. The sight comes courtesy of a massive mayfly mating extravaganza at the city’s Weiss Mart Marina.
Ty Leo recorded the video at Weiss Mart Marina in Cedar Bluff. The marina, which also has a discount liquor store and motel in addition to their gas station (see: Alabama), lies off the Coosa River’s Weiss Lake. There, 2021 is hosting one of the largest mating seasons for mayflies in recent memory. See it with your own eyes below courtesy of Barstool Sports’ share on Twitter, wherein they say we’ll “just have to throw the whole gas station away”:
Within, millions – and you know we’re not exaggerating now that you’ve watched the footage – of mayflies swarm the gas station’s windows, grounds, pumps – even people – as they attempt to mate on every surface available.
If you’d like a bit more context, you’re not alone – and Outsider is here to provide.
Mayflies: Life in the Fast Lane
Though far from an entomologist (see: zoologist who focuses on insects), I’ve had more than my fair share of mayfly-swarm encounters as a wildlife technician. Heck, any outdoorsman – anglers, especially – can tell you how remarkable a sight these insects can become.
So why do they congregate in such mass swarms? As mentioned, mayflies do so to mate. It’s literally all they do for one reason: Mayflies live for less than 48 hours.
That’s it! That’s all they get. The species is as infamous for their short lifespan as they are their ravenous mating within it. Their single goal in existence is to breed and make more mayflies. And evolution has seen them develop the most efficient way to do so – which is to congregate in the largest numbers possible – mate – have the females lay eggs – then all die.
As for their presence at the marina above, “Mayflies are a common sight around Alabama lakes, including Weiss Lake, during the summer,” says local CBS 42.
If this all seems a bit too much, however, fear not. Mayflies are never around for long, and when they show up in such biblical proportions it’s actually a positive sign of water quality.
“The good news is that it’s a sign of clean water,” says Dave McShaffrey, professor of biology at Marietta College. “And so, seeing them there that’s a sign that the river is in relatively good shape. Probably has plenty of oxygen in it. And maybe the silt loads are down a little bit because they can tolerate some silt but they need a lot of oxygen. And it’s a good sign if they’re out there,” he continues for WTAP.
Moreover, mayflies are completely harmless. They do not bite. If anyone tells you otherwise, they’re lying – as mayflies literally do not have mouths. Now you know!