Getting ready for a week of peace, love and radical self-expression involves swatting away stink bugs in the Nevada desert this year. This pretty describes the days leading up to this year’s Burning Man for the folks setting up this event. The social media bug infestation rumors are not rumors, what folks are saying about Burning Man’s creepy bug-saturated desert site is the real deal. These bugs are everywhere and they do bite!
According to the experts, while the bigger stink bugs and the small flying seed bugs do not eat the flesh of living things, they are not very smart and sample most anything they land on. So while these bugs aren’t trying to make a meal out of the people in the desert, they need to take a nibble when first landing on something before deciding this is not the plant they feed on!
Burning Man is an event held annually where folks get together in the middle of the desert and the grand finale of the festivities is burning a man made out of wood in effigy. The event starts on the last Monday in August, ending on the first Monday in September, which brings it into Labor Day.
The website for Burning Man offers the 10 principles of Burning Man, which include radical inclusion, radical self-reliance, radical self-expression, gifting, communal effort, civic responsibility, leaving no trace, immediacy, decommodification and participation. It appears that this event offers one radical shindig!
According to ABC News on August 21, Rich Pollack, the public health entomologist and senior environmental public health officer at Harvard University, has identified the stink bugs and seed bugs via photos sent from the Burning Man site. He reports that these bugs are “stupid” and if they mistake people for food this can be very irritating to folks.
The bugs have no interest in eating people as their diet consists of plants, but it takes a sample bite for the bugs to realize the party goers are not the leafy menu they are searching for. There are a few reasons these pests showed up this year as events unfolded making this almost like a perfect storm for conjuring up a bug invasion.
The Huffington Post simply states that, “It’s official, Burning Man has a bug problem.” That’s putting it lightly if what the folks on the social media sites are saying gives any indication of what these pests are like. Folks are seeing their vehicle tires covered with the bugs and they’ve got the insect bites to prove they’re plentiful.
So why are the bugs invading this year’s Burning Man when they’ve not infested the festivities in the past? First of all, the bright lights at night as the crews set up for this event was their invitation in an otherwise very dark desert. The bright lights are causing them to flock to and then congregate at the light source. But it was events that Mother Nature set into motion that put the bugs in the area, because these lights are there every year and the infestation is not.
The experts say it is due to the recent rain storms in this neck of the woods, which made the bug life bloom. The plants they love to eat came to life after the drenching rains. The rain brings the climate to grow the plants that the bugs fancy as food. While the bugs were dispersed throughout the area, it is the bright lights, which are the only lights for miles around, which beckoned the bugs to the Burning Man location as the crews work into the night.
The good news is that these bugs won’t be swarming for much longer. Pollack said, “They’re not very long-lived,” he explained. “They’re going to develop quickly because they have got to make the most of a very limited resource. When those plants start to brown up, they’re going to disperse or die.” This means that there will be a Burning Man-dying bug leg of the event!