Beachgoers were shocked and disgusted at the sight of millions of maggots that have washed up on Newport and Bilgola beaches.
The wriggly squirmers were spotted at Newport 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 rock pool on Tuesday and now it is a waiting game for the larvae to develop into flies, news.com.au reports.
Bilgola man Colin Weir was preparing to swim at the rock pool when he was confronted by clusters of the wriggling larvae.
"It was disgusting — this moving carpet of white maggots," 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."
Before the pool was closed, Weir said he had been told of one unlucky woman who went for a swim, only to later realise her swimming costume was full of maggots.
And although 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," Weir said.
He said a council pool cleaner told him they emptied the pool, only to fill it again and then realise the water was still infested with maggots.
Council manager of environment and infrastructure, Ben Taylor said flies had laid eggs on seaweek that washed ashore.
"Natural beach conditions along with warm weather have contributed to an infestation in the seaweed caused by flies laying larvae," he said.
The council said it was preparing for more seaweed to be washed back into Bilgola rock pool with the next high tide.
"This is an unfortunate but natural occurrence and we have cleaning crews monitoring and managing the situation," he said.
"We encourage people not to swim in the areas affected and abide by any pool closures. Council will continue to keep an eye on the rock pools and reopen Bilgola as soon as possible."