River Bug Etiquette: Preparing for Spring Term’s Crowded Campus

Winter is slowly coming to a close here at Lawrence University. The snow is melting, the sky is bright, and on some days the temperature eclipses 40 degrees. Ask any Wisconsinite and they’ll tell you that these are the telltale signs of the transition from winter into the next season. Of course, in Wisconsin, that next season is “fool’s spring,” followed by “second winter,” then “mud season,” and  then  spring (though spring is typically overshadowed by the following season, “construction”). Nevertheless, as spring inches its way closer, it becomes all the more important that we acknowledge the bug in the room. To help guide Lawrentians through the turmoil that can be river bug season, we’ve compiled a thorough FAQ.

Q: What are river bugs?

A: The proper term is actually caddisflies, and they are a species of river-dwelling insects that lay eggs in the water. As adults, they fly out of the river in large, impressive swarms. These bugs are commonly considered a nuisance, but they are actually the sign of a healing ecosystem here along the Fox River. They are a vital part of the environment here, and while they may accidentally fly into you every once in a while, they are passive and do not bite.

Q: Why do they have to swarm up all over campus?

A: For a few weeks towards the end of spring term, you’ll notice massive swarms of riverbugs circling the tops of trees and gathering along the sides of the buildings. They will stick around for the whole summer into autumn, but many of them will awaken at the same time towards the end of May. These insects know their life is quite short and therefore their highest priority is to breed. In many ways, Lawrentians and river bugs really aren’t all that different.

Q: What should I do if a river bug gets into my dorm room?

A: Do not panic. The river bug likely just wanted a nice calming break from the outside world, but has now gotten trapped. It’s a lot like going to the spa for a relaxing vacation, only to find that all the doors have been locked and you are now trapped inside of the spa. Gently place a cup over the river bug and bring them outside so they can enjoy the rest of their life.

Q: I’ve heard that river bugs will fly into my mouth — yuck! Is this true?

A: Yes and no. River bugs never intend to do such things, but they are curious beings. They have just as much a right to explore everything on campus as you do. Besides, you’re never really in danger if a river bug flies into your mouth. The real danger is for the bugs, who run the risk of being swallowed, stepped on, or (unfortunately) even swatted to death. For everyone’s safety, it is probably best that you minimize the amount of time you spend outside during river bug swarms. Also, if ten or more river bugs land on your sweatshirt, legally it’s theirs now.

Q: What do river bugs eat?

A: As juveniles, river bugs catch food particles in the river and grow up eating that. As adults, they have grown to enjoy buffalo chicken wraps and hot chocolates from the cafe. River bugs are well known for their exceptional taste in food, though they have yet to organize a substantive culinary culture due to their species’ oppression. In the event that you donate a clamshell of food to your river bug neighbors, you should stick around to ward off any wasps looking to bully the river bugs out of their rightful bounty. Birds should also be killed on sight. River bugs are a mutualistic species for Lawrentians and deserve your protection.

Q: What are the political goals of river bugs in the near future?

A: We believe that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. River bugs are only one step better. In addition to an increased voice in The Lawrentian, the river bugs demand accountability for those who slaughter us in the street and sweep our corpses around like dirt. We demand a statue be erected outside of Andrew Commons in honor of all those souls who gave their lives to repopulate and revitalize the motherland of the Fox River.

We hope this has prepared you for the change to come this spring, Lawrentians!