Beetles invading Vilonia by the thousands

    6:25 PM, Oct 4, 2013   |    comments
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    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - They're small, they're mysterious, and they've come to visit central Arkansas by the thousands.

    If you've seen tons of little black beetles around, you're not alone. The city of Vilonia is experiencing beetle mania. It's not the Beatle invasion of '64, but day and night, Vilonia residents have been working like dogs to battle shiny, black beetles.

    Vilonia Athletic Director, Ed Sellers said the beetles are especially attracted to the lights at the school's football stadium.

    "Our maintenance people have been using the blowers and brooms and picking them up and trying to discard them," he said. The beetles even ran several fans off during Thursday night's middle school game. "I heard several people comment about the beetles. One or two of them were a little nervous about them and actually two or three left the game early because of the beetles."

    The big question is, why are they here? Experts with the University of Arkansas Extension Service said the bugs are sugarcane beetles. Typically they feed on sugar cane, but they also eat the roots of corn plants. The extension office believes the beetles may have hitched a ride on the southerly flows we've seen in Arkansas lately.

    "The last couple of nights we've had just these, it's just like a little rain shower, but it's these small beetles just falling from everywhere," described Vilonia resident Shane Brackett. "You can just be walking across the parking lot and you just hear them popping when they hit the concrete, but they are alive when they fall. They'll crawl around and also they'll start dying-off."

    Brackett said the most shocking part of this invasion is just how many there are.

    "Just the quantity of them. I mean, they're everywhere and they're in abundance," he added. "You can't step without stepping on one."

    Sellers expects the beetles to be in attendance again Friday night.

    "Big football game tonight, and I anticipate will have the same beetle problem we had last night," he concluded.

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