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US'Merits some investigation': Weather service says massive ladybug swarm spotted. One expert is skeptical

17:05  06 june  2019
17:05  06 june  2019 Source:   usatoday.com

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The National Weather Service reported a massive swarm of ladybugs flying over the Inland Empire. One expert is skeptical . This article originally appeared on Palm Springs Desert Sun: ' Merits some investigation ': Weather service says massive ladybug swarm spotted .

The National Weather Service reported a massive swarm of ladybugs flying over the Inland Empire. One ecologist said it requires more investigation . Weather service says massive swarm of ladybugs flew over county. One expert is skeptical .

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. – The radar footage showed a green mass, spanning more than 60 miles, and moving.

In a Twitter post, the San Diego office of the National Weather Service referred to it as a "cloud" or "bloom" of ladybugs.

And while the weather service's tweet has prompted several news reports about the swarm of ladybugs, one local scientist is skeptical.

James Cornett, senior scientist with James W. Cornett Ecological Consultants, said a swarm of that size and density would have darkened the skies over the region.

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"Insect swarms ," National Weather Service meteorologist Kate Guillet said . Most of the flurry found on the screen, she said , was a sprawling swarm of pallid-winged grasshoppers now plaguing Ladybug swarm : Weather Service says a massive ladybug swarm was spotted . One expert is skeptical .

"Insect swarms ," National Weather Service meteorologist Kate Guillet said . Most of the flurry found on the screen, she said , was a sprawling While some of the activity in the northern sector of the radar display included rain, a majority of the green coloring in the southern half of Las Vegas represented

"There would have been unbelievable numbers of telephone calls to the police," Cornett said. "It merits some investigation."

'Merits some investigation': Weather service says massive ladybug swarm spotted. One expert is skeptical© Provided by USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Satellite Information Network, Inc.

According to Mark Moede, a weather service meteorologist, the agency attributed the radar readings to the insects after a weather spotter in Wrightwood, a town in the San Bernardino mountains, reported a high number of ladybugs in the area.

"Our weather spotter said that this happens often," Moede said. "He said there were ladybugs everywhere."

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National Weather Service meteorologist Miguel Miller meanwhile told local radio station KNX the bloom appeared on screens as 80 miles long and wide. However, one expert was skeptical that a loveliness (the collective noun for the insects) of ladybugs could show up so strongly on a radar map.

' Merits some investigation ': Weather service says massive ladybug swarm spotted . One expert is skeptical . The National Weather Service reported a massive swarm of ladybugs flying over the Inland Empire. One ecologist said it requires more investigation .

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Casey Oswant, another weather service meteorologist in the San Diego office, said the weather on Tuesday could not have accounted for the radar readings.

“If you look at the satellite for that area, there weren’t a lot of clouds,” Oswant said. “This radar return was much larger than what those clouds could’ve been producing.”

Oswant said she was not able to verify where the ladybugs came from or where they were heading. However, they were off the radar’s perimeters before noon Wednesday.

Cornett, a scientist who has authored books on desert ecology, remained skeptical that a migrating swarm of ladybugs could cover an expanse larger than Hesperia, a city in the alleged swarm's path.

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"Ladybugs do gather in large numbers during the winter and the fall," Cornett said. "But we’re talking about thousands of individuals not tens of millions."

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' Merits some investigation ': Weather service says massive ladybug swarm spotted . One expert is skeptical . The National Weather Service reported a massive swarm of ladybugs flying over the Inland Empire. One ecologist said it requires more investigation .

National Weather Service meteorologist Miguel Miller meanwhile told local radio station KNX the bloom appeared However, one expert was skeptical that a loveliness (the collective noun for the insects) of ladybugs could show Massive swarm of ladybugs appears like a giant storm on weather radar.

Cal Fire-San Bernardino County Fire Department received no reports of a ladybug swarm, said spokeswoman Tracy Watts.

The size of the green area shown on the radar reading is more than 60 miles long, expanding from Riverside to Barstow, and appears to cover more than a 1,000 square miles.

Cornett also said it's very strange for ladybugs to be moving south this time of year. He said ladybugs would be moving north to find more food.

Additionally, he said, ladybugs and other beetles would not fly high enough to be spotted on radar because their wings are too heavy. Moede was unable to comment on what elevations can be detected by the radar.

Cornett said ladybugs are also not known to migrate across great distances, as shown in the weather service's post.

"I'm not the last word on ladybugs, but it sounds so unusual to me," he said. "The world must be coming to an end."

Follow reporter Joe Hong on Twitter @jjshong5

This article originally appeared on Palm Springs Desert Sun: 'Merits some investigation': Weather service says massive ladybug swarm spotted. One expert is skeptical

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