Army of insects invades Coast
IT’S not quite the Biblical plague of locusts but the wave of beetles swarming the coast is definitely unmissable.
They are crawling over the ground, congregating in drains and clouding street lights.
In some places, it is impossible to walk a few metres without squashing them and they are being killed in such great numbers that their bodies have created piles centimetres deep.
But Amalgamated Pest Control zone supervisor controlled Chris Ryan said the insects – three-punctured diving beetles – would actually do more good than harm.
“The adults and the larvae feed on mosquitoes and sandfly larvae, so they’re helping keep mosquito numbers down,” Mr Ryan said.
“Other than being an eyesore and having a bit of a strong smell, they’re actually beneficial to us.”
He said the beetles were attracted to both light and water, and would lay eggs in any fresh water source.
“With the heavy rain we’ve had recently, it’s created new waterways and ponds so they’re reproducing in record numbers,” he said.
“This number of them is virtually unseen for as long as anyone can remember – they are definitely in plague proportions.”
He said people who were bothered by the beetles in their swimming pools or ponds should try to scoop them out with a net, and move them to another waterway in the wild.
“We’re definitely not looking to kill them,” Mr Ryan said.
“You just need to give them a new watercourse to mate in.”
And while Maryborough and Hervey Bay have suffered a record infestation, the insect army is not nearly so big as the one faced by Sunshine Coast families.
“They have had to close down swimming pools on the Sunshine Coast because there’s so many, and they’re building up a foot high around the power poles,” Mr Ryan said.