Residents in a suburban neighbourhood were left gobsmacked after walking out of their house one morning to find what appeared to be a bunch of sticks slowly creeping across the road.
On closer inspection however, the mysterious wood-coloured lines were seen to be moving – with the explanation behind them as strange as the objects themselves.
The lines were revealed to actually be rows of tiny larvae, which formed to create what looked like long worm-like animals.
Footage emerged after a resident from Sylvania in Ohio filmed the bizarre event and sent it to local news network abc13 on July 5, which then aired it in a Facebook Live video.
Viewers were just as flabbergasted at the sight, with hundreds sharing their amazement and disgust in comments to the post.
“Kill them before they get to another lawn,” one Facebook user suggested.
Others were convinced it was a sign of alien life, while some thought they were travelling to form a “giant super mutant bug”.
A social media user joked someone nearby must have “had a good cleanse”.
Many speculated the uniform bugs had reacted to bug spray of some kind, with some saying it must be their reaction to the town’s high taxes.
‘Moving sticks’ could appear in Australia
Ecology expert Dr Thomas White at The University of Sydney said the collective swarming behaviour was actually quite common in Australia.
“We have a number of insects in Australia that showcase it. The White Cedar moth and the ‘Spitfire' sawfly, which is actually a wasp, might be most familiar in and around backyards,” he told Yahoo News Australia.
He said there were many benefits for the tiny animals to use the particular method to move, including for defence against predators, warmth and speed.
“They can move considerably faster when piled atop one another than when walking alone,” he said.
Bug expert Dr Daniel Pavuk at Bowling Green State University told the abc13 news program the larvae were likely escaping a repellent after populations grew following recent rain.
“It's either killing them later or it's causing a repellent effect or something and they're reacting to it and trying to get away from it,” Dr Pavuk said.
This isn’t the first time the creepy crawlies have been found in unlikely places. In 2018 a Sydney pool had to be drained after high tide washed in an infestation of maggots.
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