BEKAA–Monday morning proved to be a very unusual start of the day for residents of the Bekaa Valley as millions of black beetles covered the region, causing dismays and concerns, to say the least.
The invasion, suspected to occur as a result of the quantity of rainfall over the winter, was initially thought to be a swarm of cockroaches rather than beetles. The swarm hit many regions of the valley, including the Rashaya villages of Bakka, Yanta, and Jub Jennen.
This news broke around the country as a viral video, depicting the beetles being attracted to the light of the tower at Our Lady of Zahle Church, started to circulate.
Many of these insects were subsequently exterminated in large numbers after the outbreak, and there are also several videos going around that show large quantities of dead beetles being swept away.
However, according to Zinette Moussa, the head of the entomology laboratory at the Lebanese Agricultural Research Institute, the beetle species is known as Calosoma inquisitor, a natively occurring species to the region. In addition, she claimed that this particular species is beneficial in terms of agriculture.
“…it feeds on many species of Lepidoptera caterpillars that attack forests and agriculture,” she said via The Daily Star.
Because of the significant amount of rainfall Lebanon has had this year–more than double the amount of last year’s rain–many of these types of caterpillars were attracted to the moisture, which in turn attracted their predators, the Calosoma.
However, Moussa insists that the sudden arrival of these beetles is not a threat to urban areas. She explained that they were probably largely attracted to the light, which caused them to swarm in such great numbers.
In addition, locals have speculated that these beetles arrived from Syria, but Moussa refuted the idea, stating that this species is not a migratory one.
Nonetheless, the occurrence was a very bizarre one that many of the residents of the Bekaa Valley were in awe of.