80-mile-wide ladybug swarm shows up on National Weather Service radar

Clay Curtis
June 7, 2019

"The large echo showing up on SoCal radar this evening is not precipitation, but actually a cloud of ladybugs termed a 'bloom, '" the National Weather Service office in San Diego wrote, in a tweet that has had more than 1000 likes and retweets.

NWS San Diego shared a radar map of the odd phenomenon that occurs every year in places like Wrightwood, California. The imagery is so detailed, in fact, that it frequently picks up so-called non-weather targets like the ladybug swarm on Tuesday. The image wasn't rain, NWS said, but rather a cloud of lady bugs known as a "bloom".

But Dandrea asserted that they weren't in a concentrated mass but moreso spread across the sky, flying from 5,000 to 9,000ft above ground. He said a spotter in the San Bernardino Mountains described the ladybugs as "little specks flying by". Lady beetles typically migrate down from the Sierra Nevada in early spring into the valleys in order to eat aphids and mate.

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Ladybugs, one of the few insects that don't cause us to automatically wretch in disgust, will make good overlords once they land and choose their capital city.

About 200 species of ladybugs exist in California, and most are predators both as adults and larvae, the University of California Integrated Pest Management Program said. Then in early summer they begin moving to higher elevations for food.

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