Image Credit: CC BY 2.0 Gabriel Gonzalez
The ladybugs spent the winter up in the mountains.
A storm that appeared on National Weather Service radar recently turned out to be something else entirely.
The vast swarm of insects, which covered a 6,400-square-mile region of Southern California, showed up on June 4th at an altitude of up to 9,000ft.
“The size of that is bewildering,” said ladybug expert Tim Kring from Virginia Tech University.
It is believed that the ladybugs had spent the winter engaged in a form of hibernation up in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains before waking up to find food as the warmer weather settled in.
The National Weather Service was able to tell the swarm apart from a meteorological event because the skies over the region were clear at the time and there was no rain.
A weather spotter also observed the cloud traveling towards the San Diego area.
These particular insects, which are known as convergent lady beetles, will ultimately lay their eggs and die after they have eaten enough food and the next generation will begin the cycle anew.
— NWS San Diego (@NWSSanDiego) June 5, 2019