South Tweed 7-Eleven petrol station manager Amir Ishaq cleans up after his uninvited guests, the water beetles.
South Tweed 7-Eleven petrol station manager Amir Ishaq cleans up after his uninvited guests, the water beetles. Scott Powick

Water beetle plague hits Tweed

A SWARM of water beetles is wreaking havoc across the Tweed, baffling experts.

Retired entomologist and Kingscliff resident Felix Jenkins said thousands of bugs had converged on the area.

“I was fishing the other morning in Cudgen Creek and there were all these flying insects diving into the salt water,” Mr Jenkins said.

“The bream were trying to catch them; I've never seen anything like it in my whole life.”

Mr Jenkins identified the bugs as water beetles and said they were normally only seen in fresh water.

“There are millions of them at South Tweed too,” he said. “I've never seen them in such large quantities. A swarm that size is phenomenal. It's very unusual.”

South Tweed 7-Eleven petrol station manager Amir Ishaq said the store's lights had attracted thousands of water beetles over the past three nights.

“We've been cleaning and cleaning,” Mr Ishaq said. “Every five or 10 minutes we are cleaning inside the store, but they just keep coming.

“We are filling six or seven bin bags at night.”

Mr Ishaq said the beetles were sticking to the ground outside, making them very hard to clean.

“Customers are asking what are they and ‘where are they coming from?',” he said.

“At night people are having problems filling the fuel; the beetles are everywhere and people are scared. People have told me they came at night and after seeing them left and came back in the morning to fill up.”

Mr Jenkins said the extra rain and floods may have caused the beetles to breed more.

“They give you a little nip if you pick them up, but they're not dangerous.”



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