Columbia bridge goes dark for mayfly invasion

COLUMBIA, Pa. (WHTM) – Columbia Mayor Leo Lutz thought someone dumped mulch on the Route 462 bridge two years ago when thousands of mayflies covered it.

The pesky insects piled up in 2015 and caused horrific crashes on the bridge.

Lutz believes the mayflies are getting ready to make their annual return.

“This past week, there was a festival at one of the local churches and we got reports that during the night, there were quite a bit of mayflies in and around the lights,” he said.

For at least the next month, the lights on the bridge will be turned off.

“We wanted to get ahead of it,” Lutz said.

According to Dr. John Wallace, a professor of biology at Millersville University, there is no entity that predicts how many mayflies will be out this summer. He said the mayflies are attracted to light because they use it to navigate.

Wallace suggested that folks tint their windows and turn off their lights if they want to keep mayflies away from their homes.

“People are going to be having them,” he said. “It’s just how many. I think reducing light exposure is the main focus that people should have.”

This is the second year that Columbia officials have turned off the bridge lights.

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