'Gross' scenes as P&O cruise ship 'infested' with 'revolting' insects

The insects are known to be rapid breeders despite being 'harmless'.

P&O cruise ship passengers have had to contend with an "infestation" of insects during their voyage between two states this week.

Images show the plague soldier beetles on top of one another along crevices, furniture and even drinking glasses in the cruise ship's communal areas.

Plague soldier beetles are seen throughout the P&O cruise ship on walls (left) and on drinking cups (right).
The P&O cruise ship Pacific Encounter had swarms of plague solider beetles aboard this week. Source: Facebook

The swarms of beetles were spotted both indoors and outdoors, with the insects also found in the Byron Bay Club — the private retreat area of the Pacific Encounter ship.

The week-long cruise is set to return back to Brisbane on Saturday after it travelled down to Victoria for the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday.

Aussies respond to 'gross' sighting on cruise ship

A Byron Bay Club member shared the images online to warn others of the conditions, and many were quick to express their shock.

"That's revolting! I do hope you complained about it. We are sailing mid next year, hopefully it's all cleaned up by then," one prospective passenger wrote, while another called the swarms of insects "disgusting".

"That's gross. Are they trying to fix it?" another questioned.

Beetles can be seen inside on wooden furniture (left) and outdoors near the pool area (right).
The beetles were spotted both indoors on furniture and outdoors on the deck. Source: Facebook

It is unknown how long passengers had to contend with the beetles, however, Yahoo News Australia understands the insects were only aboard the ship during its time docked at Melbourne which lasted several days. It is unclear how the insects were removed.

'Harmless' plague solider beetles breed rapidly

The insects are commonly found in southeast parts of the country, with many residents in Victoria and NSW often spotting them in their yard.

Although they are "harmless" to humans — as a cruise passenger pointed out online — plague solider beetles secrete a poisonous venom to protect their eggs which are abundant this time of year.

Scientists found that in one such infestation, 92 per cent of the insects were copulating at one, making them a rapid breeder, according to the Australian Museum.

P&O Cruises Australia declined to comment.

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