An Australian couple was horrified when their wedding anniversary onboard a cruise ship was suddenly interrupted by swarms of insects.
Australian couple Paul and Kim England booked a cruise on P&O cruise ship Pacific Encounter. To celebrate their 35th anniversary, they even booked more expensive accommodations in the Byron Bay Club.
Countless beetles everywhere
However, they were dismayed to find their cruise infiltrated by countless plague soldier beetles that began appearing everywhere.
Paul was relaxing in the hot tub when the insects began falling from above. “I was in the hot tub in the Byron Bay area when these bugs were falling in the jacuzzi. They were everywhere,” he told Yahoo News.
The beetles made their presence known while the ship was traveling from Melbourne to Brisbane for a week-long cruise. Other passengers also noted their sudden appearance, spotting them in various nooks, crannies, furniture, and even drinkware aboard the ship.
In addition to the Byron Bay Club’s exclusive (private retreat) areas, they were crawling inside and outside the ship, including near the outdoor pool and on the ship’s handrails.
“The most revolting [thing] for me was they were on the handrails,” he narrated as he recounted his ruined holiday.
Images surfaced online showing the infestation, raising questions about the ship’s response and cleanliness.
Though Paul said that the crew dismissed the issue when he reported it, the cruise company later sent a letter on November 10 to apologize for the incident. “We received your feedback regarding the bugs infestation, which we deeply apologize for and acknowledge the inconvenience that this has caused,” it read.
Since then, P&O has worked hard to clean the area and rid it of the beetles.
Plague soldier beetles multiply during this time of year
Despite regular pest control treatments and ship health inspections, plague soldier beetles are known to multiply rapidly during spring, summer, and autumn in many parts of Australia.
Large numbers can be attracted by food and light. Though the beetles can secrete venom to defend themselves and their eggs, it isn’t harmful to humans.