Their appearance is often an indicator of thunderstorms on the way.
And these insects are swarming in Hull right now.
Thunderbugs, also known as thrips, are clinging to peoples’ clothes in the city centre and causing a nuisance.
These small black creatures have feathery wings but jump rather than fly and can be found in abundance during this hot, sticky weather.
What are thunderbugs?
They are an order of insects with many names including include thunderflies, storm flies, thunderblights, and corn lice although they are officially called thrips.
Thunderbugs found in the British Isles are tiny insects, just 1-2mm long, but in other parts of the world they can be up to 14 mm. They have two pairs of narrow, fringed wings, although some are wingless.
More than 6,000 species of thrips are known around the world, with more than 300 of these in Europe and only around 150 are native to Britain.
Do they bite?
Thunderbugs are not bloodsuckers thankfully and most feed on plants.
Some species can bite but they only cause minor irritation and they do not pass on any diseases.
To be honest, they are just generally a nuisance and it is best to avoid bright clothing if you want to avoid them.
Are thunderbugs classed as pests?
Yes, they cause small silver patches and black dots on the leaves of plants. Feeding thrips can also turn petals on flowers brown.
New growth can be distorted, browning and curled.
Virtually all garden plants can be affected, from ornamental species, to fruit, vegetable, and cereal crops.
Flowers and leaves of plants are most affected.
Could the appearance of thunderbugs mean a change in the weather?
Thunderbugs are so called because they tend to swarm just prior to thunderstorms.
They love hot and dry conditions. They don’t really fly but, with a warm breeze, they can travel from plant to plant. It is these conditions that emerge in the run-up to a storm, so that is when you’ll see them swarm.
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