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Millions of maggots invade Sydney beaches forcing residents from rock pools and the surf

Bryn Kay, February 1, 2018 6:47PM Manly Daily

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Maggots in Bilgola ocean pool. Picture: Manly Daily media_cameraMaggots in Bilgola ocean pool. Picture: Manly Daily


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Beachgoers in Sydney have been shocked at the sight of millions of maggots washing up on the northern beaches.

The creepy crawlies were first spotted at Newport beach on Sunday when a woman named Jane Gardner posted photos on Facebook with the tagline: “Zillions* of maggots washed up on the tide at Newport Beach.”

The infestation* forced Northern Beaches Council to close Bilgola beach’s rock pool this week and yesterday the insects were seen at popular Dee Why beach — now it is a waiting game for the larvae* to turn into flies.

possible maggots at the beach media_cameraColin Weir out the front of maggot-infested Bilgola ocean pool. Picture: Manly Daily

Bilgola resident Colin Weir was preparing to go for a swim at the rock pool when he was confronted by clusters* of the wriggling larvae.

“It was disgusting — this moving carpet of white maggots,” Mr Weir said.

“I’ve been going to this beach every year for 15 years and have never seen anything like this.

“It has been quite the talk of the beaches this morning. There were millions of them.”

Maggots on northern Sydney beaches. Picture: Jane Gardner/facebook media_cameraMaggots on the sand on a Sydney beach. Picture: Jane Gardner/facebook
possible maggots at the beach media_cameraA close-up of some of the maggots in the pool. Picture: Manly Daily

And while the thought of swimming alongside one — let alone millions — of maggots is off-putting to anybody, the seagulls were happy.
“You look up the beach and there were about 200 seagulls feeding off them … it was quite extraordinary,” Mr Weir said.

Council’s manager of environment and infrastructure, Ben Taylor, said flies had laid eggs on big chunks of seaweed that had washed up on the shoreline of the two beaches.

“Natural beach conditions along with warm weather have contributed to an infestation in the seaweed caused by flies laying larvae,” he said.

“This is an unfortunate but natural occurrence and we have cleaning crews monitoring and managing the situation.”

Hazardous* surf conditions yesterday raised hopes the water may have washed away many of the maggots.

“Large swells overnight have removed the bulk of the seaweed across the northern beaches and the council will continue to monitor the situation,” a council spokeswoman said.


  • zillions: an extremely large number of people or things
  • infestation: the presence of an unusually large number of insects or animals in one place
  • larvae: he active immature form of an insect
  • clusters: groups of similar things or people positioned or occurring closely together.
  • hazardous: dangerous



1. Read the story carefully.
Why have millions of maggots washed up on Newport and Bilgola beaches?

Write down all of the steps that have led to this.

Time: allow about 10 minutes.
Curriculum Links: English.

Extension: Do you know what the life cycle of a fly is? Use the information in the story to create a diagram that shows the different stages of the life of a fly. Include labels that help explain the different stages.

Time: allow about 45 minutes.
Curriculum Links: Science.

2. Write a story
Use the following sentences to start a story. Don’t forget to plan your ideas first.

‘I stepped onto the sand and felt something slimy and squishy between my toes …’

Time: allow about 30 minutes for planning and writing
Curriculum Links: English.

Extension: Think about the story that you have just written.

Retell the story from the point of view of:

  1. One of the maggots (or whatever was squishy and slimy in your story)
  2. A seagull on the beach.

Time: allow about 45 minutes.
Curriculum Links: English, Critical and Creative Thinking.

Extra Reading in environment