May 08-10

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2010: May: May 08-10
Something up ahead    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by John Dodge
Swarms of bugs    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by John Dodge
Rising up in the air    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by John Dodge
Buggy    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by John Dodge

Mary Drew at Pasty Central (Mdrew) on Saturday, May 8, 2010 - 08:39 am:

John Dodge was recently driving on US 2, west of St. Ignace, when he spotted what looked like columns or clouds of smoke up ahead. Looking closer, he realized it wasn't smoke at all, but swarms of insects. John figured they were hatching right then and must have liked the heat that was rising from the highway. He said he didn't see them on any of the other roads he traveled, so the conditions must have been just right along the Lake Michigan shore for them to be coming out like that. Definitely a unique U.P. phenomenon.

The red rectangle in the third shot is just to show you where I "cut out" the close-up of the bugs in the air, for the fourth photo. John had no idea what type of bugs they were, so if there are any entomologists out there, amateur or otherwise, feel free to let us know your thoughts.

By E. Neil Harri (Ilmayksi) on Saturday, May 8, 2010 - 08:48 am:

Our sensors in the automated weather stations on the East end of the UP sometimes give false readings for cloud cover. I was told it is actually bouncing the signal off insect migrations.

By Alex "UP-Goldwinger" (Alex) on Saturday, May 8, 2010 - 08:53 am:

That looks pretty weird. At first, I thought that the State had legalized Marijuana (for medicinal purposes, of course).

By Charlie at Pasty Central (Chopper) on Saturday, May 8, 2010 - 08:58 am:

A week ago today Edie and I followed US-2 past the western end of the U.P. into Wisconsin. We took roads trough Minnesota, South Dakota and Wyoming to end up in Utah. The most bugs we encountered were in the U.P., though it may be a result of temperatures falling all across the upper midwest, extending to the Rockies.

The Pasty Cam was published under unusual circumstances today. We are staying with Bryan and Becky (our daughter and son-in-law) in Logan, UT. I got up before everyone else this morning, to do the daily upload of the pictures and comments that Mary had prepared back in the Keweenaw. But I had left my computer out in the car, so I quietly crept out the front door... and closed (locked) it behind me. So here I have sat for the past half hour, publishing today's Cam Notes - in a freezing car. There's a two hour time difference here in the mountains, so I'm just waiting awhile until the family begins to stir inside.

And for those wondering... the baby hasn't arrived yet. Maybe on Mother's Day?

By Roger (Rog1) on Saturday, May 8, 2010 - 09:57 am:

Charlie, methinks I'd blow the car horn.

By Alex "UP-Goldwinger" (Alex) on Saturday, May 8, 2010 - 10:02 am:

Well, I may have thought of a new idea, Charlie..."Emergency Pasties". For those who are sitting in a freezing car because they locked themselves out of the house. Just your luck, everyone will decide to sleep in today :)
And congratulations on being a Grandpa (again).

By Rowdy (Roudymi) on Saturday, May 8, 2010 - 10:18 am:

At least there were no bugs in the car. Right?

By eugenia r. thompson (Ert) on Saturday, May 8, 2010 - 11:11 am:

Mayflies swarm like this sometimes. Anyone have a close-up of the insects?

By Diana P. (Diana) on Saturday, May 8, 2010 - 12:47 pm:

Gee, Charlie, hope that you got back into the warm house by now! Watch out for those door locks, especially when Becky and Bryan are at the hospital. :)

By Donna (Donna) on Saturday, May 8, 2010 - 02:16 pm:

And here I thought it was only me that did things like that! LOL

Thank you Charlie!

And Blessings on that new little "about to" arrival!

By Kim (Kim) on Saturday, May 8, 2010 - 02:50 pm:

I was coming back from Marquette last weekend, and I saw the same thing.I had no idea what it was until I got closer.

By Capt. Paul (Eclogite) on Saturday, May 8, 2010 - 04:05 pm:

I believe what we're seeing is the long awaited sequel to Hitchcock's The Birds called "Bugs, The Blackflies Cometh"; coming to a forest near you.....

By Richard L. Barclay (Notroll) on Saturday, May 8, 2010 - 06:39 pm:

Hi all,
Last year my wife and I were traveling across that same stretch of US-2 and saw the same sight, it was shortly after a rain where the conditions were ideal for the flight. We found out they were ants on their mating flight and that must have emptied hundreds of nests there. While we haven't seen the carpenter ants doing it I have seen the results. There are hundreds of mated queen carpenter ants roaming around some with their wings off and some with only one wing or both. I'd bet these are this year's hatch.

Charlie, I did the same thing at my wife's cousin's place yeaterday morning in Billings, Montana - luckily there were others up to answer my soft knock so the wait wasn't long - and I was going after my computer, too.

By Shirley Waggoner (Shirlohio) on Saturday, May 8, 2010 - 06:55 pm:

Not a pretty sight. Speaking of bugs/flies/etc., the only place we've lived where there were NO pesty flying critters was Bakersfield, CA....we were always able to keep the sliding glass (no screen) door open from kitchen to patio. With all the orange groves a few miles from our home, we figured that was where the flies stayed.:>

By Walter P McNew (Waltermcnew) on Saturday, May 8, 2010 - 10:09 pm:

perhaps obtaining a few would or may be a possible way to identify the bugs or does that sound silly./// i remain walter p.

By Jeff Kalember (Jeffkal) on Sunday, May 9, 2010 - 08:05 am:

I'd guess its a swarm of mayflies. Blackflies require moving water like a stream (and this looks like a lake here), but mayflies can live virtually anywhere there is clean, cold water. What kind of mayfly? hard to tell as there are 75+ different species in michigan. One trip along US 2 near the Cut River bridge i ran into a swarm so thick that my windshield wipers wouldn't scrape them off my windshield!! I had to stop and use my snow/ice scraper!!

By Richard L. Barclay (Notroll) on Sunday, May 9, 2010 - 05:33 pm:

From the following site I copied and edited for reading this paragraph.

Winged carpenter ants will emerge in May. Known as alates, these winged ants are both males and females that have developed during the previous year and over-wintered deep inside the nest. When day length, temperature, and humidity send the right clues, all the alates gather at the nest entrance, "sunning" in the spring light and twisting their abdomens in an excited dance. They take off on their nuptial flight in dense clouds that can be mistaken for smoke wafting off treetops and provide food for any number of insect-hawking birds. In the air, the males copulate with the females, who store the sperm in internal pockets. While the males soon die, surviving females spiral down to the ground to make their attempt at becoming full-fledged queens.

By Charlie at Pasty Central (Chopper) on Wednesday, May 6, 2015 - 09:31 am:

Good morning

By FRNash/PHX, AZ (Frnash) on Wednesday, May 6, 2015 - 02:26 pm:

Walter P McNew (Waltermcnew):

Well lookie who's here!
It's been nearly five years (May 15, 2010?!) since your last post; welcome back!
I hope all's well with Walter P. and don't stay away so long, we missed you!

By Diana P. (Diana) on Wednesday, May 6, 2015 - 05:42 pm:

Wonder if anyone else ended up here today, and didn't post? Before I realized that we are in a "time warp" here, I scrolled up, and started to read Charlie's post about being locked out of the house; and, after thinking it interesting that they would undertake such a journey at this time, realized that it sounded familiar, and finally checked the date. Later, I realized that I went right by one of my own posts, too. Too much on my mind today?! :)

By FRNash/PHX, AZ (Frnash) on Wednesday, May 6, 2015 - 06:16 pm:

Oops, It looks like I was caught up in the time warp as well today … fooled by Charlie's current "Good Morning" post, I guess. So Walter P's post was from the "wayback" machine! I must learn to pay a bit more attention! 😉

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