The spring in the south has gone a bit crazy this year. In March we had hundreds of millions of the butterfly painted lady Vanessa cardui migrating through Israel and stopping for a generation including lots of caterpillars. Recently we saw lots of the moths Heliothis peltigera in many places and the birds got crazy with the new delight. We also had in one day a burst of the black beetle Calosoma olivieri. This is a ground beetle from the family of Carabidae. The Calosoma feeds mostly on caterpillars but can feed on any invertebrates. It has been seen in our work at the LTSER in Evrona reserve, in many places in the Arava, in the Negev LTSER and up to Beer Sheva. Many residents of cities have called in pests control to spray. This is a pity since these beetles are harmless and in California they even introduced Calosoma beetles to control agriculture pests. They may squirt an unpleasant smell to protect them from predation, but that’s all. It is not clear why the burst of many insects. One possibility is the even distribution of rain events along our winter in the south. Another is that they all immigrated from Saudia Arabia, where they had a wet winter. Since the Calosoma are feeding on caterpillars it is possible that they fed on the painted ladies.

Image by Emilian Robert Vicol