The loud booms, weird hums and other odd noises being reported around the world are often attributed to supersonic jets, meteors, secret experiments or weather. Now they can be blamed by cauliflowers too. Meanwhile, that huge blob on the nightly weather forecast’s Doppler radar may be something scarier than a storm – it may be a massive swarm of bugs.
The cauliflower story comes from Cornwall, England, where farmers swear there’s something called a “cauliflower creak” that can be heard when the vegetables begin their high-speed growth during the first seasonal heat wave. Expanding at a rate of three centimeters (1.2 inches) a day causes the florets to rub together and “creak.” Sounds kinky but it’s apparently quite loud when you’ve got fields with 6,000 heads of cauliflowers per acre. (Sorry, couldn’t embed a recording of the actual sound but perhaps you’ll enjoy this cauliflower song)
In the Great Lakes region of the U.S., another strange occurrence signals that summer has arrived – swarms of mayflies so big (the swarm, not the bugs) that they show up on weather radar. This is one I’ve actually witnessed since I live near Lake Erie. Immature mayflies are aquatic and feed the perch, walleye and other lake fish. In June (not May), these nymphs crawl up on land en masse, hatch all at once and take flight in a swarm cloud.
That cloud can contain millions of mayflies flying in such close formation that it can appear on Doppler radar and provide entertainment for weather reporters. The close formation is due to mating activity which results in eggs dropping back into the water for next year’s swarms.
After mating, mayflies have nothing else to live for since the adults have no mouths. Birds and car windshields put a small dent in the population but most of them end their 24-hour lives covering buildings, cars, sidewalks and people.
Not all strange sounds are sinister and not all UFOs are spacecrafts. Some are just a lot of veggies and bugs.