WATCH: 'Knee-high' heaps of mayflies take over Iowa bridge

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Thousands of Mayflies Force Shutdown of Bridge


Extraordinary measures were taken in Sabula, Iowa on Saturday after an enormous swarm of sticky, slimy mayflies invaded a town bridge over the Mississippi River.

While mayflies, tiny bugs whose life-spans can be as short as 24 hours, periodically emerge over the Mississippi River, the millions of tiny insects that bombarded the bridge connecting the town to Savanna, Illinois on Saturday was much more extreme than any past occasions.



As the police arrived at the scene to handle the horrifying plethora of bugs covering the bridge, Sabula resident Teena Franzen caught it all on camera from her son's cop car. She told WQAD that it was the worst swarm she's seen since moving to the area in 1975.



The astounding invasion was like a scene out of a horror movie. The bugs gathered "knee-high" piles as traffic was blocked and emergency crews fled to the scene. Eventually, the Iowa DOT snowplowed through the bridge, leaving a disgustingly slimy mess for citizens to drive safely over.

Officials plan to keep the bridge's lights turned off for a few weeks in hopes that the insects will be less attracted to the area.

See more fascinating photos of the insects:

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Mayflies
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WATCH: 'Knee-high' heaps of mayflies take over Iowa bridge
Long-tailed mayflies (Palingenia longicauda) dance around each other in large groups on the surface of the Tisza river near Tiszafured, 150km east of Budapest, early evening on June 13, 2011. The larvae live under water for three years, and then millions of these short-lived mayflies engage in a frantic rush to mate and reproduce before they perish in just a few hours during 'Tiszaviragzas' or Tisza blooming season from late spring to early summer every year. The species was once widespread across Europe, but now have disappeared on the a large part of the continent. AFP PHOTO / PETER KOHALMI 
Long-tailed mayflies (Palingenia longicauda) dance around each other in large groups on the surface of the Tisza river near Tiszafured, 150km east of Budapest, early evening on June 13, 2011. The larvae live under water for three years, and then millions of these short-lived mayflies engage in a frantic rush to mate and reproduce before they perish in just a few hours during 'Tiszaviragzas' or Tisza blooming season from late spring to early summer every year. The species was once widespread across Europe, but now have disappeared on the a large part of the continent. AFP PHOTO / PETER KOHALMI (Photo credit should read PETER KOHALMI/AFP/Getty Images)
Long-tailed mayflies (Palingenia longicauda) dance around each other in large groups on the surface of the Tisza river near Tiszafured, 150km east of Budapest, early evening on June 13, 2011. The larvae live under water for three years, and then millions of these short-lived mayflies engage in a frantic rush to mate and reproduce before they perish in just a few hours during 'Tiszaviragzas' or Tisza blooming season from late spring to early summer every year. The species was once widespread across Europe, but now have disappeared on the a large part of the continent. AFP PHOTO / PETER KOHALMI (Photo credit should read PETER KOHALMI/AFP/Getty Images)
A man rows in his boat on the Tisa river as millions of endemic insects Palingenia Longicauda, Europe's largest mayflies, mature and begin to fly from the Tisa river, near the town of Kanjiza, some 160 km (100 miles) north of Belgrade, Saturday June 21,2008. The rare phenomenon that attracts many scientists, tourists and nature lovers is called Tisa Blossoming, and lasts only a few hours every year. (AP Photo/Jaroslav Pap)
Mayflies (Palingenia longicauda) or ephemera hover over River Tisza as may-flies begin to swarm in Szeged, 170 kms south of Budapest, Hungary, Thursday June 11, 2009. May-flies are water insects, their larvae coming out of the eggs after spending three years on the bottom of the river and they emerge to the surface. Every year from late spring to early summer a natural spectacle called 'Tisza blooming' happens on the surface of the Tisza River. These insects rising in huge clouds, take flight, make their wedding dance and after mating females lay eggs on the river's surface than both sexes perish in just a few hours. (AP Photo/Gyoergy Nemeth)
Some of millions of endemic insects Palingenia Longicauda, Europe's largest mayflies, mature and begin to fly from the Tisa river, near the town of Kanjiza, some 160 km (100 miles) north of Belgrade, Saturday, June 21, 2008. The phenomenon that attracts many scientists, tourists and nature lovers is called Tisa Blossoming, and lasts only a few hours every year. (AP Photo/Jaroslav Pap)
A boy watches from a boat as a millions of endemic insects Palingenia Longicauda, Europe's largest mayflies, mature and begin to fly from the Tisa river, near the town of Kanjiza, some 160 km (100 miles) north of Belgrade, Saturday, June 21, 2008. The rare phenomenon that attracts many scientists, tourists and nature lovers is called Tisa Blossoming, and lasts only a few hours every year. (AP Photo/Jaroslav Pap)
People watch from a boat on the Tisa river as millions of endemic insects Palingenia Longicauda, Europe's largest mayflies, mature and begin to fly from the river, near the town of Kanjiza, some 160 km (100 miles) north of Belgrade, Saturday, June 21,2008. The phenomenon that attracts many scientists, tourists and nature lovers is called Tisa Blossoming, and lasts only a few hours every year. (AP Photo/Jaroslav Pap)
Endemic insects Palingenia Longicauda, Europe's largest mayflies, mature and begin to fly from the Tisa river, near the town of Kanjiza, some 150km northwest of Belgrade on Wednesday June 23 2004 The rare phenomenon that attracts many scientists, tourists and nature lovers is called Tisa Blooming and lasts only a few hours each year. (AP Photo/Jaroslav Pap)
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