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Mayfly swarm thick enough to cause car accidents

Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Saturday, June 20, 2015, 8:24 AM - A mayfly swarm forced the closure of a Pennsylvania bridge two nights in a row last week. Officials say the cloud of insects was large enough to cause several car accidents.

No injuries were reported.

"It was just crazy," Chief Chad Livelsberger told the Associated Press Sunday.

"It was an inch to 2 inches of mayflies on the road."

Mayflies are attracted to light and tend to congregate on roads and bridges. When they're hit by cars, the female's eggs release a liquid that makes the road slippery.

Officials say motorists who encounter a mayfly swarm should approach it as if it were a blizzard, due to the reduced visibility and slick conditions.

But, unlike snow, the bugs produce an odour that Livelsberger likens to "dead fish."

Mayflys hatch in the spring in large numbers and while can be an annoyance, officials say their presence in Pennsylvania is actually a good sign.

Apparently, the insects are an indicator that water in the Susquehanna River is getting cleaner.

Source: Associated Press 


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