Burning Man Bugs Infestation: 2015 Festival Plagued By Insect Swarms

Organizers of Burning Man report that bugs have infested the venue. According to an ABC News report, staff and event planners of the 2015 Burning Man Festival say swarms of insects descended on the Nevada desert.

John Curley is a resident blogger and photographer for the Burning Man website. Despite rumors on the internet, he wants to assure visitors that the “bugs are real.” Curley reported observing plumes of bugs near a service station near Black Rock.

“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. They get up and in you. ‘So I pulled in, got out of my car and was immediately swarmed with what seemed to me like locusts at the time. They were really all over. I just said, ‘Forget it.’ I got back in my car immediately. There was no way I was going to brave that little bug storm.”

The Burning Man blogger posted a picture of bugs covering carpet and another pic of a woman covered with welts from many stings. Many call the invasion an insect apocalypse.

“We don’t know where they came from, but there are two main theories: One is that all the spring and summer rain has hatched critters that lie dormant, or usually come to life at a different time of year. Or maybe they hitchhiked in on a load of wood from somewhere. Or maybe, as Shade postulated out at Man Base, there’s a Johnny Bugseed making the rounds at night, sprinkling them anywhere and everywhere.”

So, what’s up with the arrival of the uninvited guests ahead of the start of the gala? Rich Pollack, a public health entomologist and senior environmental public health officer at Harvard University, thinks he has an idea. First of all, he’s identified the culprits as seed and stink bugs. Although the pests are plant-eaters, Pollack says they are not too upstairs, and humans are often on the menu — sort of.

“Most of them are plant feeding; they are all endowed with really stout probicious. The plant-feeding bugs generally have no interest in feeding on anything else except their preferred plant, [but]they’re so stupid that when they land on something or stand on something, they might sample [it.]”

Pollack predicted that the insects would likely die off before the first day of Burning Man. The conditions that ushered them in — fresh desert rain and blooms — are waning and signals their departure.

Thankfully, there is good news about Nevada’s bug problem. According to an NPR report on August 22, the Burning Man campgrounds are free of bugs. Apparently, as fast as the critters arrived, they quickly packed up shop and hit the road, Jack. Turns out, the Harvard expert was right. Now, organizers only have to worry about the two-legged infestation, but they pay — and, that’s a good thing.

[Photo by David McNew/Newsmakers]