Bugs on the Playa: Don’t Believe the Buzz

(Image maybe made by j0k3rCPG, maybe by elizabeth, but this is the internet, so who the hell knows?)

If you’ve been keeping up on the latest rumors flying around the internet, people are in a bit of a frenzy about an alleged bug infestation of plague-level proportions on the Black Rock Desert this year. We understand the eagerness to swarm around this click-worthy story, as the media most certainly has. We’re here to dispel the rumors (bless you, internet), provide some facts, and hopefully calm some nerves.

So are there bugs in Black Rock City? Yes. Due to unseasonably wet weather, the grass on the hills is unusually verdant, and that’s resulted in more bugs showing up in the desert than usual. There are green beetles called stink bugs (so-called because they emit a coriander-like odor when disturbed), mosquitos, and gnat-like seed bugs called Nysius. One entomologist reports that they might be causing skin irritations not because they’re biting, but because they’ve likely been eating mustard seed, which has been proliferating in the region recently, and the mustard oil irritates the skin when the bugs are smashed.

But despite the rampant rumors, these bugs are more of a mild nuisance than a full-blown infestation that should cause any major concern with Burning Man participants.

We’re hoping that continuing hot weather and a huge swarm of Burners descending upon their Black Rock Desert home sends them packing before long, but we can’t say for sure that’ll happen. So here’s how you can prepare (y’know, Radical Self-reliance and stuff) …

We’re told that these types of bugs are particularly attracted to bright lights (sorry, artists burning the midnight oil) and dark clothing (sorry, Death Guild), so if you’re concerned about getting bugged, wear light-colored clothing that provides good coverage. For the mosquitos, some mosquito repellent will do the trick. That’s the word from the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health.

On another bug-related note, there have been recent reports of West Nile Virus showing up in mosquitoes in Northern Nevada this summer — one in South Meadows (south of Reno), and one at Rye Patch Reservoir (near Lovelock) — and abatement procedures are underway. None have been found within proximity of Gerlach or the Black Rock Desert this year. Here are the most recent reports from Pershing County and Washoe County health departments. While of course there’s the remote possibility of exposure (to provide some perspective, here’s a map of all the current West Nile Virus activity in the US), we believe that this is extraordinarily unlikely to affect Burning Man participants.

In the end, we’ll remind you that Radical Self-reliance is a thing. We tell you every year to be prepared for damn near anything, and this time? We’ve got a new, interesting challenge. Welcome to it. We’ll see you on playa.

About the author: Burning Man

Burning Man

The official voice of the Burning Man organization, managed by Burning Man's Communications Team.

161 Comments on “Bugs on the Playa: Don’t Believe the Buzz

  • JCB says:

    Bugs ??? … yes there are bugs… you are Out Doors !! and thats where Bugs Live. I live in Nevada but I am from Georgia and trust me, the bugs in the BR Desert Are Nothing compared to the bugs in the Southeastern region of the US. If it flys, crawls or slithers & can bite you, the SE has them. So my Merry Burners… stop the whining about something thats natural. Use a little bug spray on your fragile skin and go & Be Happy !!!

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    • JBC says:

      The thing is that Burning Man is usually null of bugs. They’re not on the lake bed.

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      • Jeff Buckley says:

        No bugs, no flora, no nothing. That’s why it surprised me to learn there was any sort of infestation. Given they don’t like blood I suspect they’ll move on quickly.

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    • Tim says:

      It’s fair to say there are worse bugs in other areas, but we’re not camping for a week there nor are we running around all night hanging around bright lights.

      That said, I agree these bugs probably aren’t as big a deal as the hype.

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      • Lizifer says:

        Well, some of us DO camp in those woods for a week or more, hanging bright lights and burning giant sculptures. And we make it through, multiple times a year. It can be done.

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      • mike says:

        Then you haven’t read the reports up and down hwy 395. It’s a massive infestation that won’t go away until the first freeze. I should be a good fun to watch all the naive naysayers meet a trillion seed bugs every night.

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      • Qat says:

        Not everyone stays in an RV. I’ve been camping at burning man for years. You know, in a tent.

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    • twisty says:

      Waah? They are just stink bugs. Harmless, yet aromatic creatures when aroused. (aren’t we all?!) On the Palouse we thought of them as good luck charms and we did not mind their fumes.

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    • Emmet Brady says:

      Hello Fellow Humans – I have been documenting the human-insect connecting on the Playa for many years, including the 3 Burns I attended myself. This includes not only the living creatures but also the many ways insects, spiders and the rest of the invertebrate world inspire the art installations, shamanic expressions, costumes , decor, art cars, tattoos, etc. The presence of insects in Black Rock desert is fascinating and quixotic, and I promise you if you avail yourself they will make their presence known to you, esp. dragonlfies, damselflies, mantids, water beetles, ants and spiders. (I have dozens of images and videos as evidence). And now, for reasons cosmic, planetary, and profoundly contemporary, the Burn is the scene of a stink bugs and cynch bug explosion (greatly misunderstood little buggers) . Methinks this situation lends itself to a fantastic opportunity: A Gathering of the Insect Tribe, to explore our indelible and complex relationship with the Microcosm while under the spell of the Playa. I suggest anyone interested gather at sunset to sit together with friends who are down with the MIcrocosm. At some point spend some time in silence and wait for the insects to appear – they almost always do. Just sit and observe and welcome them as friends into the space. However you experience it, I invite you to touch base and let me know what message you get from the living creatures of Black Rock, especially these little critters that are causing such a row. (PS – I will be covering this topic and many others related to the Burn on a radio broadcast this coming Tuesday on KVMR 89.5 FM in Nevada City). Bzzzzz . . . Emmet

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    • Ze Baron says:

      “Nevada but I am from Georgia and trust me, the bugs in the BR Desert Are Nothing compared to the bugs in the Southeastern region of the US. ”

      It’s not a contest. But, thanks for your encouragement.

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    • epiphanystarlight says:

      Well said JCB from Georgia. We’re Burners, not babies.

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    • David says:

      This Guy/Gal is Great! I love your Humor! Find me on the Playa, I will be giving out Frozen Blueberries!
      DaddiBrown

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    • David says:

      DaddiBrown: ATTENTION ALL BURNERS. RE PLAYA BUG ALERT. I want to reach out with a good idea ASAP. There are mosquito net hats made of fine mesh available at Wal Mart, prices from $1.80 to $4. I will be bringing some, as I do not want to inhale a bug while cruising on my bike. Hopefully the bugs will have vacated by the time Burners show up! I will be posting this message a couple of times so more people see it. Cheers!

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    • BBQ says:

      This urgent update just might have come in from BRC…..McGnews crit-flash services;^ ” The Burners Without Borders acronym has metamorphosed into Burners Without Bugs group now focused on somehow flooding the playa in hopes of quickly sprouting a boom in the Desert Tadpole and subsequent Desert Frog population that is expected to eat all of the bugs prior to the start next week of the Burning Man Festival. Critics of the plan fear that the unchecked rise in the frog population will lead to the unanticipated yet likely surge in the Desert Komodo Dragon population in BRC. Festival organizers are working up contingency plans to integrate any and all Komodo Dragons into the BRC Mutant Vehicle mass transit system.” #end clip.

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    • mike says:

      Can’t wait for your report after the first night

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  • Josh says:

    “We understand the eagerness to swarm around this click-worthy story, as the media most certainly has”

    Hmm, I thought the most alarming story was right here 2 days ago;-)
    “the bugs are real. They’re everywhere. They bite. They crawl all over you. They get up and in you.”

    http://blog.burningman.com/2015/08/building-brc/a-second-generation-and-yeah-those-bugs/

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  • Flyrone says:

    Let’s keep the bug repellant chemicals to a minimum, brothers and sisters. No need for toxic sprays and lotions all over and in us.

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  • A says:

    I’m not really impressed with the way this whole thing is being handled. Just a few days ago, this blog was singing a very different tune. “They’re everywhere. They bite. They crawl all over you. They get up and in you.”

    Today, they are nothing more than a “mild nuisance”.

    So… which one is it?? If we are to truly believe they’re nothing more than a mild nuisance, what was the point of using the over the top sensationalist language from the original bugs post? Why do I get the feeling that I’m being trolled/given the runaround? This whole post just screams of a cover up because people are starting to realize how huge of a PR issue the bug situation is becoming.

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    • TRUTH SEEKER says:

      ITS COVERUP THE BORG IS ILLUMINATI BUGS ARE ROBOTS THAT USE CHEMTRAILS FOR BRAINWASHING, IF YOU RUN THE WORD “STINKBUG” THROUGH MY DECODER RING IT EQUALS 666, COINCIDENCE???!

      BURNING MAN IS OVER, IT’S TOO POPULAR WITH BUGS

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      • A says:

        Hah, okay I wouldn’t go that far. My point wasn’t that I think it’s some tin-foil conspiracy, just that I wish whoever’s writing these posts could post, you know, ACCURATE information, rather than major click-bait articles designed to get us up into a frenzy.

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      • Adrienne says:

        Make a tinfoil hat and be done with it. Just sayin’.

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      • epiphanystarlight says:

        LOL Truth Seeker. Run the faint of heart away.

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      • David says:

        I think the bugs are a great idea. Who thought of bringing bugs? It is obvious Burners are oblivious to the effects of dust, some high winds, heat, and moderate amounts of water. Just one more little challenge to acknowledge and CARRY ON! Yea Burners!

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    • Will Chase says:

      While John Curley provides eloquent reportage and beautiful color commentary of the building of Black Rock City, the Burning Man byline on this blog provides official statements and announcements. So while John was giving his personal perspective on the situation, which the media has in turn whipped into a frenzy, we’ve provided the official word about what’s actually happening on playa.

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      • sheppard says:

        That’s right Rabbit!!!! Thanks for the ‘official’ word. I realized this the other day when I was reading… I was just awaiting for an update.

        It seems to me the man is burning away all of the ‘tech bubble’ mainstream folks who are afraid of a few bugs. A filter if you will.. to allow the souls who will truly shine and participate. *(dont get me wrong, burning man is for everyone) however I have seen over the years with the plug and play camps and the unconsciousness of the masses pouring in, throwing trash on the ground, etc.. even if they are AT the EVENT, they aren’t burners.

        As far as I can see, this is the perfect blessing. Sell your tickets and don’t come. Let the real burners deal with the dust, and the bugs, and the fire.

        BTW- Does anyone else find it funny that FOX NEWS and CNN think of burning man as a ‘tech bubble’ event. Bahahahahah. #dipShits

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      • Chris says:

        Why is no one discussing the spreading of these bugs to other places by participants? No, I’m not a shit stirrer, worry wart or otherwise. Deserves some discussion considering the 40-ish% of burners who live in California, an agricultural center for many in the US…

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    • JC says:

      That sounds like people’s reactions to playa dust itself. Every comment board runs the gamut of “it’s just dust, breathe through a wet towel and you’ll be fine” to “I was hospitalized for lung irritation even though I wore a gas mask.”

      Report comment

    • Kynthia says:

      Its called damage control. BM is pissed that they have to pay taxes that all entertainment venues do in NV, a crippling 9%, (sarcasm intended) at fire the horror stories were published to make a move to Utah, and then the damage control stepped in because bad publicity like that would be felt in the deep pockets of the organizers.

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      • Andicicle says:

        Spoken like someone who really has zero clue. Deep Pockets? Ha! Their books are free for you to peruse, fully transparent, so keep your ignorance to yourself.

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      • xela 8 says:

        The truth speaks for itself and doesn’t need our permission to be exactly what it is.

        Our “mission” …. should we choose to accept it… in my (not so) humble opinion is this – TO THYN OWN SELF BE TRUE!!!

        I don’t dispute my gut level reactions just because some “burners” don’t agree with me.

        Go on with your BAD ASS self my friend!!

        Peace, Love, and Light NOW HERE and ALL WAYS <3

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    • H says:

      I agree entirely.

      Report comment

    • Luda says:

      Totally agree….the original post kinda freaked me out!

      Report comment

      • Stephan keating says:

        Ok just because I have a crippling fear of bugs and bats doesn’t mean I am not a true burner and that I throw garbage on the ground. That’s just fucking rude. It’s a phobia something one cannot just say “fuck it! I’m not scared anymore !” Doesn’t happen like that. I get one trip every two years. This is my happy place, and now it’s swarming with my nightmares. Let’s play on your fears and insecurities and see how you like it. Fear of heights? Ok last minute burning man requires everyone arrive by parachute! Fun right!? Snakes? Ok, last minute news reports a large RV of 80million non life threatening snakes overturned just outside of Gerlach, just ignore them! Put your big girl panties on and live with it! A REAL burner would! So don’t fuck with people’s insecurities and phobias because if the light up shoe was on the other foot, you would be freaking the fuck out too!

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    • O.K. says:

      I agree with A. Just a couple of days ago this very blog was telling a very VERY different story. Moreover- friends who are on the playa already say it is nothing short of an epidemic. 2 people I know had to see medical help. All have very strongly recommended to those who were planning to bring their kids to avoid doing so. May I add that everyone I know who already is on the playa is there to set up camps- none of whom is the type to ever panic.
      What I don’t hear in any of these reports is what the organization is doing to deal with the problem- other than touting self reliance & bug spray. As to avoiding bright lights… That is like a bad joke. Are we going for mutant car accidents all over or a curfew at susnset??

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      • Ze Baron says:

        “What I don’t hear in any of these reports is what the organization is doing to deal with the problem”

        It’s the desert. Napalm strikes, DDT, maybe nuke the whole area with Monsanto products? Catch them all in little jars and relocate them to a better habitat?

        What do you suggest? Are you volunteering?

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      • Andicicle says:

        They are going to do nothing whatsoever about the bugs, deal with it, or don’t bother coming, princess.

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    • UnsweetenedCaroline says:

      My thoughts exactly.

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    • kojack says:

      Agree, thanks for pointing out the hypocrisy, although, maybe they were being sarcastic? who knows? I guess I’ll find out for myself when I get there.

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  • Joe says:

    I once had a cold and it went away in a few days. Oh yes and conspiracy theories, please, we need more of those.

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  • Little Spoon says:

    “One etymologist reports that they might be causing skin irritations not because they’re biting…”

    Well I’m glad you’ve got the language historians looking into the matter! ;)

    Report comment

  • greenlantern says:

    I feel the same way and would like some actual information.

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  • Shalaco says:

    I heard the rumors were better next year.

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  • Illuminaughty says:

    Chances are, these things will have lived out their life cycle by the time gate opens.

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  • Please everybody panic sell your tickets.

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  • MetaKim says:

    It’s good that you consulted an etymologist, as it’s important that we understand the history of the words we use. But an entomologist might have been able to provide more insight, under the circumstances.

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  • TRUTH SEEKER says:

    I *demand* to be provided with *accurate* information, such as, how much will *I, personally* be bothered by insects? Exactly how many individual bugs are there? Do they have names? Families?? Until such time as the BoRG can provide me with *accurate* information, I have no choice but to continue insinuating, darkly.

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  • ziffy says:

    first time, every time.

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  • Otter says:

    These bugs are the core of my interspecies interactive art installation this year. It’s called Meet the Bugs. Since I didn’t need funding (just collaboration from the weather) and didn’t need a Kickstarter or to show up at the Artist’s Preview, it was hard to get the word out. I’m glad people are so excited about it now that it’s open and operating!! Feel free to use any type of bug repellant, bug collection for making beetle snacks, or other interactive methods – that’s the whole interactive point of interactive ART right?!?! The bats and scorpions are part of the design, too, and I’m still hoping for some bug eating birds: Barb Swallows or Cliff Swallows, which could attract small birds of prey and the Gerlach Falconry community. Cultural exchange is always good. Thank you!

    Report comment

  • Monster says:

    Isn’t this why we bring flamethrowers?

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  • elizabeth says:

    Ha! Yeah the image was mine. Now I’ve made the big time.

    Report comment

  • Daniel says:

    That photo is from the movie Sarship Troopers. If that is any indication of the nature of the bug problem out there, then I hope you guys relax your rules about bringing weapons to the Playa.

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  • Sife says:

    Update the BM logo for this year:
    http://imgur.com/Uv7wSGw

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  • Starrbooty says:

    finally my plan to take over bmorg has come to fruit. you shall all bee mineeee!

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  • Vern says:

    I take it radical inclusion went out the window (so to speak) when the bugs came marching in? :)

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  • bobby ackerly says:

    THIS IS DRIVING ME — BUGGY !!!

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  • Rawr says:

    Never been more glad to NOT be attending the Burn! The extreme temps, dust & dryness are bad enough…now there’s an infestation of several types of bugs? No thanks.

    Please consider holding this event in a more hospitable environment. It could be so much more enjoyable. The Nevada desert in August is literally the worst place you could camp for 8 days.

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    • Tim says:

      No, that’s okay. Scorching sun, freezing night, inescapable dust, and now bugs are why we go to the desert. Weeds out the weak.

      Report comment

      • Kenneth says:

        Hala-effin-looya Tim! Could you imagine what it would be like if it were hospitable?! Ick!

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      • Mermaid Salad Bowl says:

        I thought burning man started on the coast? remember back then? when the weak were welcome, embraced, and subsequently enlightened? I think your comment speaks of natural selection. Natural selection means NATURE is selecting (that’s mother nature – so all the children understand), not human egos. thankfully, nature is not human, so there’s no cash exchanged. that shit just happens. burning man costs money because it’s managed by humans. you are a bully and that type of human selection is the brightest, shiniest, glittery, lit up art fart car, form of dysfunction in America. Say this to yourself… we are all equal human beings of the SAME species. equal. not weaker or stronger. equal. fucking grow up already, you are running out of time to get in touch with your own feelings, and live time-free. feelings are real – just ask any woman.

        by the way, I’m a dude. like you. I figured your judgement could use some more info to help our gender.

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      • Kenneth says:

        Mermaid – I believe your definition of weak may not be what Tim was speaking of… just a thought.

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      • Mermaid Salad Bowl says:

        Thanks Kenneth :-) I was in a mood yesterday! I appreciate you looking out for communication breakdowns. My comments to Tim were how I felt yesterday. I was a judgmental ass most of yesterday. Today, turning the finger on myself. My words yesterday were about a lot more than Tim’s comment. I used the forum to say some shit that is meant for all of us, but I directed it at Tim. This part is on me. If I want to speak my mind about bullying and feelings, I should create a platform for myself and take it to burning man. How we humans resist each other in the subtlest ways is driving me crazy brother. Thanks again for the shout :-)

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      • Toon says:

        A new place with less heat would finally radically include those of us with medical conditions, like MS, that get worse in the heat.

        I miss BRC.

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      • Beth84 says:

        Weeds out the Weak… one of my favorite things about this city.. Thank you. More room for the true burn family: talented artists and passionate believers that create this magical and indescribable experience. Real, honest, incredible people who not only Attend but also live and share their experience with the hope that it will expand global consciousness and awareness to a world in need of change.

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    • thanatoid says:

      Seriously? I can’t tell if you’re joking or what. Boy are you missing the a huge part of what this thing in the desert is all about…

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  • Cabana Boy says:

    Thanks for the info folks, I’m grateful for the reports and I’ll be PREPARED. In dust we trust )'(

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  • bobby ackerly says:

    I’LL BE CAMPED OVER ON MT SHASTA WITH A HIGH POWERED TELESCOPE — SMILE !!!

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  • brodown says:

    these bugs know whats up

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  • Zach says:

    Come on. The real question we’re all wondering is ARE THE BUGS EDIBLE??

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  • Merrith says:

    Stink bugs bite. And when smashed they attract more bugs. The best thing is dragging them back home in your things. They get inside and forget it. Not a fun situation at all.

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  • Justice says:

    Well. As long as it doesn’t affect the annual Daft Punk show at the trash fence, amiright?

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  • Milky says:

    I’m starting an Etsy line of tiny dust masks for the bugs so they can *participate*. Radical inclusion, dats right.

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  • el says:

    im glad i am here in my not-bug zone ,maybe karma strikes upon burning man and love is going too win

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  • doc says:

    lets hope a plague of fire and hail rain down on the pagan motherfuckers!

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  • doc says:

    self absorbed, egotistical, narcissistic sons and daughters of Satan! in fact, they rejoice in it!

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  • rosethistle says:

    I think the BM response is totally trivializing the bug issue. Just put on some spray?? Most sprays are very toxic, that’s why they “work”. Natural herbal ones just don’t work as well, I know, I’ve tried them all. So what? Tens of thousand of people on a Playa they really shouldn’t be anyway, spraying toxic shit all over the place to kill what the natural environment provides? Radical what?? Oh and let’s not forget the West Nile Virus! It’s only been found in counties close by? I don’t know Burners. Spray your toxic crap, burn your propane powered installations, call it radical self reliance, or whatever the crap you want, but I see it as another example of destructive behavior of humans over the natural environment. I wish you bugs in all your orifices, cos they live there, and you don’t.

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  • doc says:

    most go for the unprotected sweaty sex.

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  • Melvina says:

    How can the bugs be attracted to bright light *AND* dark clothing? ?

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    • Thumper says:

      During the day they’re attracted to dark clothing because it’s contrasting to the white playa and at night there Attracted to the bright light because it is contrasting to the dark night.

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  • markansas says:

    starship troopers

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  • mesa says:

    Are bugs considered moop?

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  • Dr. Bungee says:

    Will the Plug & Play camps be bug free? After all, those people are paying for extra shit.

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  • Scooby Doo says:

    What type of stinkbug? There are many different kinds. Would these be the Pinacate beetle, aka clown bug, In the genus Eleodes?

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  • hchapot says:

    In college on a science field trip, we put up a sheet and lit it with an ultraviolet light in Sierra Valley on a warm summer night and the bugs came flying in droves. Dozens of species and they big belostomatids started copulating right there in the bottom folds. It was awesome!

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  • Washington says:

    I love the music your all playing

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  • Black Rocker says:

    Were having a difficult time working here the bugs get in your clothes and bite hard. None of the repellant’s seem to work. Any tips?

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    • Andicicle says:

      Deet. If that doesn’t do it, a flamethrower should.

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    • Helen says:

      Black Rocker, are you on the playa now? I am so sorry that you have to endure these unpleasant biting bugs attacks! Any improvement at all, or it’s the same? Please report!

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    • dvs says:

      I used to do field work in bug-rich places and used toxic bug repellent- Deep Woods Off, with deet in it. I sprayed it on clothes, hair, and the outside of a scarf that I wrapped round my head. Aside from the times I lost my mind and directly sprayed swarms of mosquitos while screaming quotes from Aliens. That’s my recommend- nasty toxic stuff, only on the clothes, then of course bathing afterwards which..sorry. eating raw garlic also dissuade biting, and human company.

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  • Andicicle says:

    Soooooooo, there’s going to be a great deal of, sadly, rather large insect bodies (the stink bugs are a bit larger than a peanut m&m), does the blm count these as moop? It’s an odd thing to ask, but these corpses aren’t going to rot out there under any circumstances.

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  • Bobbug says:

    “Don’t Kill Bugs” Elron McKenzie Sermon – Bob And Doug McKenzie: https://youtu.be/FNLF2kx-9RQ

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  • Ben G says:

    “attracted to bright lights (sorry, artists burning the midnight oil) ”

    don’t you mean, “sorry, everyone”. since the only way to be seen at night is with lights
    not to mention any art installation

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  • TROPIXXX says:

    THIS IS THE BUGS. WE HAVE COME TO INVADE. THE BLACK ROCK DESERT WILL BE THE STARTING POINT OF OUR DOMINATION OF YOUR PLANET. BOW DOWN AND WORSHIP YOUR NEW MASTERS. YOU ARE NOTHING BUT MOOP TO US.

    PS We’re throwing a Welcome Party out by the trash fence and would love if you could join us for one last boogie with the bugs before you are all destroyed, we have a very special headliner booked.

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  • C3PO says:

    this approves my view of bm – upper class playing wild artists in the desert. but hold your shit together when it comes to nature in the nature. how can there even be a “hype/buzz” about bugs?! this is outdoors, a festival… you murican ppl should stop being afraid of simply EVERYTHING.

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  • Kay says:

    There’s always an Arquillian Battle Cruiser, or a Corillian Death Ray, or an intergalactic plague that is about to wipe out all life on this miserable little planet, and the only way these people can get on with their happy lives is that they DO NOT KNOW ABOUT IT!

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  • Stephan keating says:

    Ok just because I have a crippling fear of bugs and bats doesn’t mean I am not a true burner and that I throw garbage on the ground. That’s just fucking rude. It’s a phobia something one cannot just say “fuck it! I’m not scared anymore !” Doesn’t happen like that. I get one trip every two years. This is my happy place, and now it’s swarming with my nightmares. Let’s play on your fears and insecurities and see how you like it. Fear of heights? Ok last minute burning man requires everyone arrive by parachute! Fun right!? Snakes? Ok, last minute news reports a large RV of 80million non life threatening snakes overturned just outside of Gerlach, just ignore them! Put your big girl panties on and live with it! A REAL burner would! So don’t fuck with people’s insecurities and phobias because if the light up shoe was on the other foot, you would be freaking the fuck out too!

    Report comment

    • Helen says:

      I agree with Stephan – this is not a small issue and should be addressed promptly and informatively. Besides the fact that there are many people who have serious fears of insects, there are very serious health issues that may arise from this situation, as some insects can be disease carriers, which use humans as hosts, or just directly infect them. Also, some people may get severe allergies to bites of insects that are not common in their areas, it could be anything form mild allergic reactions to anaphylactic shock! If insects do attract bats, it’s also bad news as bats are known to carry a variety of diseases. So it’s all great to try to laugh it off and make countless jokes, but the issue at hand remains and it is responsibility of BM organizers to OFFICIALLY POST IDENTITIES OF THESE INSECT SPECIES and provide participants with TIMELY UPDATES and health risk information.

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    • Mar says:

      While its fine to be afraid of bugs(you’re still a burner, it’s really ok), and I agree that posit I’ve identification is important to ensure people with allergies are safe, none of your examples that follow work. Requiring people to parachute in and dumping an RV of snakes onto the playa are things that are done by humans. No one -wants- the bugs there,no one put them there, they are a force of nature that we all have to deal with.

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      • Stephan keating says:

        These bugs could have hitched a ride with a truck delivering supplies or in a shipping container, so humans could have most certainly brought them to the plays.

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  • Tiny Dancer says:

    It would be a shame to waste a good crisis,” he says.

    A great crisis. :-) I love how Burning Man finds a way to confront ourselves each year. You can never get comfortable and think it’s the same deal each case summer. Each BM experience is doing the playa all over again, newly. Awesome.

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  • Tiny Dancer says:

    *Larry Harvey says

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  • ToxicWorld says:

    Whatever the critter situation is out on the playa, PLEASE don’t pick up, and bring any extra chemicals to deal with the situation. What we DON’T need is 70,000+ burners saturating the desert eco-system with anything else. The levels of PBR and Fireball spilled and pissed in a concentrated area are already stressful enough for Mother Nature.

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  • Drowkcab says:

    Nature I understand. Can anyone explain to me, however, how this became international news? The fascination of a bunch of fun loving folks camping in a dust hole is off the map.

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  • Andrea says:

    I’m not going to worry about a few bugs to destroy our trip. I’ve waited my whole life for this. One week away, I am beyond excited!!!

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    • epiphanystarlight says:

      This has been a very lively and entertaining blog. The most diverse responses I’ve seen in some time. My sympathy to the brave and hard working crews out there now enduring the assault. I’m asking for battle energy release and harmony for all. <3 Spaceship EARTH.

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  • Birdman says:

    Mmmmmmm — bugs
    Remember, it’s just part of “the experience”

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  • scotto says:

    I talked to God so we could get to the bottom of this. I asked
    “Why the mob of itchy stinky insects now, just as Our mob of stinky, itchy & sometimes irritating humans descend on the desert floor?”

    He said “One reason son- The complete idiocy of the parking pass debacle- Something equally diabolical had to be done in response not only the greed, but also the monumental stupidity of the way it was implemented” He then went on about how the parking pass directly contradicts half of the 10 principals- particularly the radical self reliance, and mumbled something about Exodus 8:24

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  • Creativepaddler says:

    As a former entomologist geekster, I can tell you this:

    The Playa’s bugs’ ability to thrive locally throughout our Burn week will be partly dependent on their finding survival sources amongst us and our camps/venues.

    WE can POTENTIALLY decrease their numbers:

    – Securely cover all grey water evaporations with cloth to prevent insect breeding/feeding

    – Mildly Chlorinate any standing fresh water supplies. 1 tsp of Clorox per 10 gallons will do.
    Tastes like swimming pool water. No biggie. If we can stand EDM and B.O., we can handle that too.

    – Avoid using scented skin products that may attract them to you. Skin-So-Soft is an exception, as it is itself a known repellent. (yeah, I know it smells like a grandma at Walmart.)

    – Understand that our powerful lighting is most likely attracting insects EVERY NIGHT from beyond the fence line.

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  • Margaret Oberg says:

    I am totally confident that with all the creative minds that are planning to attend Burning Man thinking of solutions to this small challenge, there will be a humane, effective solution to any possible inconvenience these insects may present.

    Bugs didn’t stop Burning Man from coming, it came just the same!

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  • low rez says:

    BUGGINGMAN 2015! YAAAYYYY!!!!!

    I love the fact that they are attracted to light and can fly from 1-3 kilometers away!

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  • Daniel says:

    I hope all the insects are dead by the time I get there. I’d hate to have bugs crawling on me or buzzing by my ears. That would just ruin everything.

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    • Creativepaddler says:

      Daniel,

      It is almost certain that they will NOT all be dead, as the lights will continue to attract more in nightly even as others perish.
      You should plan for your own defenses and consider the bugs part of what you are going to experience, just as if you were traveling in a remote landscape.

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  • Greatwolf says:

    I hear you can eat the stinker!!! I’ve found a couple recipes. If we eat em all ….end of one of the concerns…

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  • Kazzey says:

    You’ve got a bug situation ? Here’s a Singing Bug you guys gonna Loooove : https://youtu.be/20ZXfzSDyeI

    HAPPY BUR EVERYBODY! x

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  • pancho frank says:

    That’s because the first real report on the bug problem was an “oops” and had to be updated and downplayed as to not scare the more fragile and less radically self anything burner of today that’s heading out…those bugs are running from the cali forest fires, not here cuzza rains bigger than usual , and they are here for a while…..

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  • Joe M says:

    This morning I was listening KGO when they were talking about how bad the bug infestation is out there on the playa this year. And was comparing it with other harsh environmental conditions such as the heat, dust storms, rain storms etc. Then one of the talk show hosts who has his own show later at noon. He made a snide comment about how Burning Man is only for 20s – 30somethings and anyone in their 40s, 50s and older has a serious mid life crisis issue. Well I just got really incensed to the ignorance of this guy’s comment. He doesn’t have his own email on KGO but was to inbox a message on his FB page and here is what I wrote to him. Question? Two things: First, Why do you not have an email address on the KGO page?

    Second, I heard you talking this morning about Burningman and you made a rather snide and ignorant remark talking about the ages of people who attend. You made some statement that it’s a place for 20s-30somethings and anyone older are there because they have serious mid life crisis issues.
    Well given your remarks, it’s pretty clear that you have never been to Burningman as the age level ranges from the 20s on up to 70s and even 80somethings!!
    With the medium age ranges from mid 30s to mid to late 50s
    And given the cost of the ticket, all of the supplies, food and water, plus whatever cost of art project most younger 20somethings really may not be able to afford to go to Burning Man.
    There are people from all over the world and from all walks of life including NASA scientists, Harvard and Stanford professors, some of the biggest people in the tech world, high profile politicians, celebrities etc. Dude Burning Man has nothing to do with dealing with some BS midlife crisis! There are artists, performers etc. who go out to the playa some individually others in large organizations who may use the playa to display their works of art, giant sculptures etc.
    I guess if your reasoning is this, then one can only assume that you would feel the same way if some retirees decide to continue to painting, playing a musical instrument or even play in a band are just trying to work through midlife crisis??? I for one have been out to the Man 6 times since 1996 and although I can voice a few opinions on the direction it has gone since And as one who is over 51years old I still have some ideas for some ambitious art projects that could only be displayed out in Black Rock Desert. I certainly don’t have any age related issues. I just want to take my ideas and turn them into a creative reality. So when you poo-poo the festival as a place for those older folks to work out their psychological issues you do a serious injustice to it’s meaning and an insult to me and the tens of thousands who make it their passion and life to participate in such an amazing environment. And as you carry your voice over the airwaves to millions of listeners you need to realize that you are responsible for your words. Perhaps just because you may be too weak minded to endure a few days of inconvenience while dealing with some harsh environmental conditions. It makes me wonder how you will handle having to live in a tent city for a month should we ever have the big one hit and your home and entire city gets wiped out.
    My suggestion to you Chip is that if you want to be credible and respected talk show host , Please, unless you have actually been there and experienced it, don’t just take the words of others and start talking shit about things you obviously don’t know what you are talking about!!!!

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    • David says:

      Hi,
      My Heart is 30, just my ass is 63.
      DaddiBrown

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    • Dr. Bungee says:

      You speak for me Joe. I will be celebrating my 20th year at BRC this year. I’m 62, but we still manage to bring our incredibly fun gift to share with 70,000 of our closest friends, most of whom we haven’t met yet. If this is my mid life crisis, it’s lasting a little long, and it sure is a lot of fun.

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    • Carol says:

      My partner is a young 92 year old again packing for Burning Man. I don’t believe he is experiencing a mid life crisis lol

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  • ? says:

    This would be my first time burning this year but this bug talk has me on 2 sides of thought right now:

    -Side 1: Welllll that’s inconvenient. Can we maybe do a burning man in the dark this year? Then on the last day we can burn the man and those little mofos with it! Burn baby Burn!!!!!

    -Side 2: Fuuuuuuuuuuck that! If there are levels to burning man, this is going to be a year for expert levels and I barely know what my tent situation is going to be like. One of the first things I looked at after buying my ticket was what the bug situation is like there. I was extremely relieved to find out there arent any. This is like Mother Nature playing a joke on me. Or testing me. But is this a test of my survive-ability… Or of my ability to not do dumb shit once I’ve been warned?…….. Hmm

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  • Robert says:

    Winnemucca resident here. Move your crap somewhere else.

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  • Onioli says:

    I went to see the gypsy, he smiled when he saw me coming and he said that shirt cocking would be at a minimum this year.

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  • cditty says:

    why don’t you just bring the crop dusters and be done with it!

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  • RoboBug says:

    Deep dark secret: these “bugs” are actually nano- robotic transmitters created by the BLM’s “Bug ‘Em Off The Playa” project. Squish them and your toe print gets recorded…

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  • wild child says:

    Don’t worry about the bugs man , worry about the cops ! There is a new sheriff in town and ready to crack down on nudity, buds, blow and drunkenness. It’s like he’s mr. no fun . I’m gonna bring a electronic fence to keep cops out of my camp.

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