US: High-flying ladybug swarm shows up on National Weather Service radar - - PressFrom - US
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USHigh-flying ladybug swarm shows up on National Weather Service radar

17:25  05 june  2019
17:25  05 june  2019 Source:   latimes.com

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Scientists at the National Weather Service ( NWS ) first mistook the orange radar blob for birds and had asked the public to help identifying the species. They later established that the 70-mile wide (110km) mass was a kaleidoscope of Painted Lady butterflies. Forecasters say it is uncommon for flying

High-flying ladybug swarm shows up on National Weather Service radar© Jeff Vendsel / Independent Journal

At first glance, it looks like a rain cloud.

But in reality, the massive blob showing up Tuesday evening on the National Weather Service’s radar in San Diego County was just a lot of ladybugs.

Joe Dandrea, a meteorologist with NWS San Diego, said from the radar, the ladybug bloom appears to be about 80 miles by 80 miles, but the ladybugs aren’t in a concentrated mass that size. Rather, they’re spread throughout the sky, flying at between 5,000 and 9,000 feet, with the most concentrated mass about 10 miles wide.

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Scientists at the National Weather Service ( NWS ) first mistook the orange radar blob for birds and had asked the public to help identifying the species. Forecasters say it is uncommon for flying insects to be detected by radar . "We hadn't seen a signature like that in a while," said NWS meteorologist Paul

Recently, the weather service radar observed and captured radar images of birds flying within the eye of Hurricane Irma. The Doppler radar has also picked up birds swarming during an earthquake , and seeking shelter from past hurricanes . The NWS uses Doppler radar to monitor weather via

After seeing it on the radar, Dandrea called a spotter near Wrightwood in the San Bernardino Mountains to ask what they were seeing.

“I don’t think they’re dense like a cloud,” Dandrea said. “The observer there said you could see little specks flying by.”

California is home to about 200 species of ladybugs, including the convergent lady beetle, according to the University of California Integrated Pest Management Program.

In early spring, after temperatures reach 65 degrees, adult convergent lady beetles mate and migrate from the Sierra Nevada to valley areas where they eat aphids and lay eggs.

In the early summer, once the aphid numbers decline, beetles become hungry and migrate to higher elevations, according to the UC program.

It wasn’t immediately known what type of ladybugs were causing the phenomenon.

But at least it wasn’t locusts.

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This is interesting!