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Swarm of insects invade Aussie woman's home: 'It's their house now'

The Aussie woman was gobsmacked after discovering the mass plague of insects in her bathroom.

A swarm of bugs have infested a home on the outskirts of Sydney as a mix of hot and humid weather brings creepy-crawlies out into the open.

Sharing photos of the mass plague, the concerned western Sydney woman took to a community Facebook page asking for help identifying the insects which she first spotted on Australia Day.

“Anyone else getting swarmed by these this morning?” she wrote on the Camden-Narellen Community Noticeboard. “My laundry, bathroom and toilet windowsills and back door are covered in them.”

Other people in the group seemed equally perplexed with many asking: “Omg, what are they?” One person commented: “It’s their house now, sorry sis”, while another simply wrote: “Call the pest guy.”

Photos show dark brown bugs swarming in a doorway (left) and on a windowsill (right).
A horrified Aussie woman found this plague of unidentified bugs in her bathroom. Source: Facebook

It seems the woman was not alone in having all her nightmares realised, with one social media user sharing: “I had absolutely trillions of these invade my front grass a few weeks ago. As soon as anyone went out front we were swarmed.

“They lasted about three weeks then they disappeared. Such a pain, hope yours disappear soon.”

Mystery bugs identified by expert

One commenter, who appeared to have expert knowledge on the cause of the infestation, correctly identified the bugs as plague soldier beetles, stating they were “named because when they swarm like this it can seem like a plague is upon you”.

“But they’re actually harmless, and good pollinators in the garden,” she continued. “They swarm like this when they’re having a sexy time and in a matter of hours they’ll be done and will all go their separate ways.”

Insect and taxonomy expert Nicole Gunter, Scientist and Curator in Entomology at Queensland Museum, agreed and told Yahoo News Australia: "It’s clear enough to see they are soldier beetles".

"It’s quite common to observe large aggregations of plague soldier beetles - Chauliognathus lugubris -around this time of the year as they form mating swarms.

"They are found across south-eastern Australia and swarms are usually reported outside in gardens, but occasionally in houses if windows are left open. The soldier beetles will disperse after mating.”

She said the concerned resident didn’t need to do anything but if she really wanted them gone, she could gently use a dustpan and brush to relocate them outside.

"They won’t do any damage there, although the weight of larger mating swarms could damage small plants," Gunter added.

Cruise ship passengers aboard P&O's Pacific Encounter got more than they paid for recently after discovering a similar infestation. The unfortunate holiday-makers faced an army of “revolting” plague soldier beetles on top of one another along crevices, furniture and drinking glasses.

Swarms were also spotted in the ship’s Byron Bay Club private retreat area.

Plague soldier beetles swarm on a piece of furniture inside (left) and a wall outside (right).
Passengers aboard the P&O cruise ship Pacific Encounter came face-to-face with this 'gross' infestation. Source: Facebook

Plague soldier beetles too busy 'copulating' to cause any real damage

According to the Australian Museum, plague soldier beetles live in urban areas, forests and woodland, and are so-called because vast numbers appear on plants throughout spring, summer and autumn.

They feed on other insects and plants while their larvae live on the ground and prey on other insects. While generally considered harmless, these beetles can release poisonous chemicals as a deterrent to predators.

“The plague soldier beetle infests blossoms of native trees, fruit trees, vegetable plants and other garden plants in such numbers that they can actually weigh down weaker plants,” the Australian Museum's website said. “While this may be distressing to gardeners, the plants do not suffer much.

“This may be because the beetles are too interested in mating to bother eating the plants. Scientists found that in one such infestation 92 per cent of the animals were copulating.”

So, it seems they do indeed enjoy a “sexy time”.

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