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Burning Man = Bug Armageddon

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You may have seen the bug rumors on the internet. We are here to tell you that they are all true. Well maybe not all of the rumors, but the bugs are real. They’re everywhere. They bite. They crawl all over you ...

We don’t know how the little critters survive in the heat and the sun. All we know is that if you pick up some wood, you’re likely to uncover hundreds or thousands of the things. They’ve blown up inches deep against the sides of the Commissary tent. They’ve covered the carpets at the Depot. They’re all over the Man Base. So it’s not a localized occurrence, it’s everywhere.

Several species of Nysius seed bugs range into the Sonoran Desert and are very catholic in their choice of seeds to feed upon. Weeds and grasses of many kinds with their often abundant seed crops can result in huge populations of these small, ca. 3mm, bugs. As bugs, they feed exclusively on liquid food through piercing-sucking mouthparts. When disturbed the bugs can release a noxious odor.

Seeds fed upon by seed bugs have reduced viability - a benefit for weed control. Once the weeds dry out, however, the bugs often move in mass in search of new food sources and may arrive at electric lights. Landing occasionally upon people they may seek moisture by inserting their proboscis into the skin - i.e. they bite and can be rather annoying! They soon move on and do not persist for blood is not their preferred meal. Vacant lots in Tucson, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Casa Grande and other desert cities can be quite weedy following wet weather which encourages these seed bugs to flourish. Keeping down weeds adjacent to dwellings and effective window screens are probably the best control strategy.

Entomologist Douglas Yanega noted that reports of rashes from the bugs may not be from probiscis probing, but from people crushing the bugs. There’s a huge bloom of invasive mustard plants in California that may have been feeding the bugs (and causing their population to explode). So their bodies are full of mustard oil. He told entomologist Gwen Pearson, “These bugs are coming off the invasive mustards, and a bit of the problem is likely to be that people are crushing the bugs and releasing mustard oils onto their skin.” And that oil is going to cause burning and possibly welts.


ROTFLMAO! XD This sounds horrible. This has the makings of a Syfy movie turned real. XD



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