Residents in a North Memphis, Tenn., neighborhood have found themselves in the middle of what appears to be a spider invasion. The grass along the road is covered by spider webs, at times measuring up to half a mile long, WMC Action News 5 reported.
The area looks like a scene out of a horror movie, according to Frances Ward, who is working with other residents to find a way to stop the spider invasion.
"I've never seen anything like this," Ward told the station.
She and the others want the city to intervene to "clean this area up and spray for these spiders and make it safe. There are kids running around. A spider could bite the kids or anything."
However, experts say there is no reason to panic, as the sudden appearance of numerous spiders is a natural event called "ballooning" which is quite common.
"Young juvenile spiders of most families disperse by sending out a swath of silk threads that may be over a meter in length," Susan Riechart, professor at the University of Tennessee Knoxville, told The Washington Post.
"Particular air currents favor ballooning. This would explain the fact that thousands to hundreds of thousands may take off at the same time. Caught by the air currents, the spiderlings have no control over where they will land, but it is not surprising that they may fall in the same area," Riechart explained.
Memphis Zoo curator Steve Reichling said the spiders could be sheetweb spiders.
"It's a mass dispersal of the millions of tiny spiders that have always been in that field, unnoticed till now," Reichling said, according to WMC Action News 5. "The presence of these spiders tells us that all is well with nature at that location."
Ballooning is commonly observed in spiders from the Linyphiidae family. They can travel thousands of miles using their silk threads as "parachutes" that are carried by the wind, and some of them have reached as far as Antarctica, according to Discovery News.
As for spider bites, Riechart said they are "totally harmless," adding that the spiders' mouth parts are too small to even pierce the skin.