The Burning Man bugs are gone, and this year’s weeklong Burning Man festival at the Black Rock Desert in northern Nevada appears to be freed of “horrific fear-saturated nights of swarming green beetles, clouds of fluttering moths, biting flying ants, stinging noseeums and locusts so thick” that festival organizers had to wear Hazmat suits “and run in sheer terror from container to container to avoid being eaten alive.”
As reported by NPR on August 22, Riverside entomologist Dr. Douglas Yanega from the University of California was able to identify three types of bugs attending the Burning Man festival a week before its official opening on August 30.
“The really small ones that are present in the largest numbers, those are seed bugs. There’s the slightly larger bug that are plant feeders … and then there’s the really big ones which are stink bugs.”
The bugs were first detected by John Curley, a photographer and blogger for the Burning Man website. Curley initially noticed the bugs at a gas station near Black Rock. Within no time, the “unknown bugs of mysterious origin showed up by the thousands or millions in Black Rock City over the past week,” wrote Curley.
And where there are bugs, there are birds, and up the chain of predators it goes until man puts an end to it, according to Burning Man blogger Moze who calls John Curley their “esteemed Burning Man Organizer.”
“No more do colonies of bats descend from the sky so thick that they obscure the moon and the hordes of kangaroo rats, ravens, crows, scorpions, snakes and coyotes have also moved on. There was a moth as big as a baby chicken in my camper the other night that had fangs and I finally chased it away with a machete. I haven’t seen it since.”
After the uninvited Burning Man bugs were eliminated with “water trucks spraying vegan and gluten-free Malathion,” “BRC Drone Bug Zappers,” and Ranger Rico and his Roughnecks (equipped with armor exoskeletons and flamethrowers) captured the Brain Bug, the Burning Man festival is bug free.
According to Rich Pollack, a public health entomologist and senior environmental public health officer at Harvard University, the appearance of massive amounts of bugs at the Burning Man site was most likely caused by the recent rains in the desert, and the bright lights used by crews setting up for the festival most likely attracted the insects in large numbers.
The Burning Man bugs are gone, writes John Curley in his latest update. “It’s all over. You can resume your packing. Sure, throw in some bug spray, because you never know, it could happen again. … And it could rain. It could flood. It could be freezing cold or blisteringly hot. We could get dust storms. Winds could reach 100 mph. We could be stranded for days. And listen: We are not making any of this up. We are not hyperbolizing. Be prepared. Always be prepared when you come here. It’s called radical self reliance.”