Ladybug swarm over California appears on weather radar | News | DW | 06.06.2019
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Ladybug swarm over California appears on weather radar

The forecast: cloudy with a chance of insects. What looked like precipitation on a US weather radar was actually a migrating swarm of beetles.

A giant blob that appeared on the US National Weather Service's radar wasn't a rain cloud, but a massive "bloom" of ladybugs flying over Southern California.

The National Weather Service's radar showed a green mass moving over San Diego on Tuesday that meteorologist Joe Dandrea said was about 80 miles wide (130 kilometers).

Read more: Over 40 percent of insect species face extinction: study

Dandrea told the Los Angeles Times that the ladybugs are flying at between 5,000 and 9,000 feet (1,525 and 2,745 meters) with the most concentrated mass 10 miles wide.

Rather than being a dense cloud they are spread throughout the sky.

It wasn't clear which one of the 200 ladybug species in California caused the phenomenon.

The Times reported that Hippodamia convergens, the convergent lady beetle, mates and migrates from the Sierra Nevada mountain range to valleys in the early spring to eat aphids and lay eggs.

They then return to higher elevations in the early summer when aphid numbers decline.

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