Swarm of ladybugs surfaces on NWS radar: How rare is something like this?

Meteorologist says birds, insects can pop up from time to time

Pexels/stock image
Pexels/stock image

Meteorologists spotted a green blob, for lack of a better word, on their radar last week -- and it wasn’t a weather pattern.

When the meteorologists contacted a weather spotter near the blob’s location, in Southern California on June 4, the spotter passed along some news: it was actually a giant swarm of ladybugs, according to NPR.

The phenomenon is known as a ladybug bloom, and while this one appears particularly large, it wasn’t the first time local meteorologists have seen something like this.

This tweet really turned heads on social media, as people were surprised this could happen.

The swarm kind of looks like a "light rainstorm," the article points out. It didn’t quite have the density of a severe thunderstorm. The ladybugs were flying about a mile above the ground, she said, in the cloud that was about 10 miles wide.

So, how rare is something like this?

Not “as rare as people are making it out to be,” meteorologist Paul Gross said. “Yes, this is the first time that I think I’ve heard it associated with ladybugs, but every summer [there's an] annual fish fly invasion [that] occurs (and) we see them on radar. And I’ve showed live on the air a large flock of birds leaving their roosts at the first crack of dawn in the morning. … People love that stuff.”

Radars can definitely pick up on insects when there is no precipitation anywhere in the radar’s area of coverage, Gross said.

“During those times, the radar is switched to a more sensitive mode, so we see things like insects,” he said.

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Michelle is the Managing Editor of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which writes for all of the company's news websites.