Officials prepare for the potential for mayflies on bridge over Susquehanna River

COLUMBIA, Pa. - It's been two years since mayflies infested the Veterans Memorial Bridge over the Susquehanna River, and it's something that is only now being seen as lighthearted.

Columbia now hosts a mayfly festival, and there's a new shop called The Mayfly.

"Most people are saying 'Yeah, it was it was a problem, yeah it was a little bit of an inconvenience,' but we're a river town," Columbia Mayor Leo Lutz says. "We live along the river. We've dealt with this all our life."

Over the weekend, borough officials here and across the river in Wrightsville started shutting off the lights on the bridge in the hopes of keeping the bugs away. It's prompting warnings about driving conditions.

"Exercise some caution, slow down a little bit," Lutz said. "If there happens to be a hatch that's swarming around and they get on the windshields and you try to run your wipers are going to smear things off, you're going to lose visibility, so be careful keep an eye out."

At the River Park, people are on the lookout for the pests.

"I heard about them," Craig Shaubach of Lancaster said after kayaking on the river with his dog. "We've been here one time when they were out but I haven't witnessed them lately. I hear they get pretty bad."

"It's just a natural part of what goes on," Ron Baier of Manheim said while on a bike ride at the park. "It's just this is the time of year for them, and they come out when it gets warm, and they're all over the bridge and you've got to turn the lights out."

The bridge lights are expected to be turned off for about a month. The boroughs did the same thing last year and were mostly successful at keeping the bugs away.

"We knew it was on," Lutz said about the pending mayfly season. "To what extent we don't know. That's kind of up to Mother Nature and folks are telling us we may not see quite the hatch that we've seen, before but we're going to prepare for whatever comes."