Massive mayfly 'blizzard' causes crashes and closes a bridge in Pennsylvania

'They were getting in our mouths,' says firefighter

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A massive swarm of mayflies was so dense that it caused motorcycle crashes and forced the closure of a bridge in the US state of Pennsylvania over the weekend.

The LancasterOnline newspaper reported how thousands of the bugs swarmed around the lights on the bridge - over the Susquehanna River in Lancaster County - and then fell to the ground, forming piles of up to two-feet deep.

Wrightsville Fire Department Fire Chief, Chad Livelsberger, described how the phenomenon was like “a blizzard in June.” He added: “But, instead of snow, it was mayflies.

Watch the video:

“The black mayflies are close to two-inches long and a quarter-inch wide. It looks like a meal worm with wings.”

The fire chief also spoke about the complications the crew faced while tending to the crashed cycles: “They [the mayflies] were getting in our mouth. We had to close our eyes. We had to swat them away. Even when we got back, it felt like bugs were crawling in you.”

Young mayflies live in water before hatching as adults to mate in swarms.

Details of the crash victims were not made immediately available, however, the bridge was reopened sometime before 6am yesterday while the local authorities dispatched street sweepers to begin the clean-up operation.

Swarms of mayflies, like this one, are not uncommon: last year, one in Wisconsin was so big that it appeared on local radar as rain.