If you haven’t yet heard the news, there has been a swarm of conversation around the bugs infesting La Playa this year at Burning Man in Black Rock City. Social media is abuzz with chatter and photographic evidence of the locust plague that has descended upon the festivities this year. So what are these little critters and why is this happening?
There are four main types of bugs that are present: pentatomidae, which are colloquially known as stink bugs, nysius or seed bugs, and species that are members of the family miridae. Desert species can be prone to booms and busts in population based upon the weather conditions of the year. This year the wet spring has led to a verdant crop of grass and this allowed for quite the successful breeding year for these species. These swarms of bugs are not uncommon and have been documented during years with similar climate conditions. Within a couple of weeks the critters will move along to a new food source and the burners can continue the festivities.