Bug Status Update

Questions, answers, tips & tricks for newbies and veterans alike
Shurafa
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Bug Status Update

Post by Shurafa » Thu Aug 20, 2015 12:18 pm

Hey Guys. I have been hearing lots of reports on bugs that bite in the desert this year.

I am creating this topic as a central status update page for the bug situation.

Our band of misfits and mischief makers will be landing on Wednesday August 26th during the day. I will reply with a status update on the bug situation that day and will add additional updates as needed.

If you are on playa now and have access to this page please share your insights so that we can spread the word to the greater community. Anyone who has additional useful information between now and the end of the burn please post it here as well.

Autumn_in_winter
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Re: Bug Status Update

Post by Autumn_in_winter » Thu Aug 20, 2015 12:53 pm

So I've been doing some light research into the bug-pacolypse on the Playa right now. If the entomologist is correct, then there's three main bugs, stink bugs, false clinch bugs (seed bugs), and potentially false blister beetles.

The good thing about seed bugs is they typically only hang around for a week, although considering the light, moisture, and shelter provided by BM they might hang around longer. Pesticides won't kill them but a solution of 40% water, 40% alcohol (rubbing not vodka), and 20% dish soap should. Additionally, people have had good experiences using solutions of picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus to repel insects naturally. Sweet grass (both hung and burned) can also work, I'm going to bring a few braids to hang around my tent and maybe burn while hanging in camp at night.

Stink bugs live for months and will probably be around for the burn unfortunately. Garlic spray and a mint spray (probably better smelling) around the outside of the tent and camp can repel them, but spraying them with the soap solution will also kill them without having them stink.

The worst one on the list is the false blister beetles. They are little assholes. They like to hide under wood (presumably under any tent or table as well) and secrete a chemical called cantharadin through their joints. They're called blister beetles because when you crush,rub, or flick them (don't slap them against against your skin!) they release this chemical which can cause large, nasty and sometimes painful blisters. The chemical may burn as soon as you kill the bug or can only show up when the blister forms 12-36 hours later. The best treatment is topical steroids but apparently antihistamine or antibiotics can be helpful too. Also I guess the chemical is caustic so don't let them crawl on your food or touch your eyes after touching them

Hope this helps!

Autumn_in_winter
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Re: Bug Status Update

Post by Autumn_in_winter » Thu Aug 20, 2015 1:01 pm

Let us know what the situation is closer to gate opening!

elevinson
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Re: Bug Status Update

Post by elevinson » Thu Aug 20, 2015 1:17 pm

I spoke to the people at Cedarcide, and they confirmed their products should work to repel these bugs (I didn't know about the beetles so not sure about them, but probably will work.)

It's oil based, so it won't evaporate or sweat off easily. You can use it in foggers or mist machines, apply directly to skin, fabrics, wood and other materials as repellant (an should actually kill the bugs, too.)

http://www.cedarcide.com/product/cedarc ... ect-spray/

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Krokodyle
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Re: Bug Status Update

Post by Krokodyle » Thu Aug 20, 2015 1:18 pm

Autumn_in_winter wrote:So I've been doing some light research into the bug-pacolypse on the Playa right now...

...which can cause large, nasty and sometimes painful blisters. The chemical may burn as soon as you kill the bug or can only show up when the blister forms 12-36 hours later. The best treatment is topical steroids but apparently antihistamine or antibiotics can be helpful too. Also I guess the chemical is caustic so don't let them crawl on your food or touch your eyes after touching them
Yes, indeed, thanks for the heads-up about the antihistamines/steroids. I wouldn't have remembered to bring those. :D
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melodiousdirge
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Re: Bug Status Update

Post by melodiousdirge » Thu Aug 20, 2015 1:37 pm

Well I'm definitely not an entomologist, but after looking up false blister beetles, I have to say I haven't seen any photos showing anything that looks like them bastards; anyone else?
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Sundial
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Re: Bug Status Update

Post by Sundial » Thu Aug 20, 2015 1:59 pm

Autumn_in_winter wrote:They like to hide under wood (presumably under any tent or table as well) and secrete a chemical called cantharadin through their joints. They're called blister beetles because when you crush,rub, or flick them (don't slap them against against your skin!) they release this chemical which can cause large, nasty and sometimes painful blisters. The chemical may burn as soon as you kill the bug or can only show up when the blister forms 12-36 hours later. The best treatment is topical steroids but apparently antihistamine or antibiotics can be helpful too. Also I guess the chemical is caustic so don't let them crawl on your food or touch your eyes after touching them
Here's a Wikipedia article (grain of salt) on the chemical in question. Definitely don't wanna eat these little fuckers. Its also apparently known as Spanish Fly, as in the aphrodisiac.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cantharidin
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The CO
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Re: Bug Status Update

Post by The CO » Thu Aug 20, 2015 2:08 pm

M*A*S*H 4207th: An army of fun.
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Savannah
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Re: Bug Status Update

Post by Savannah » Thu Aug 20, 2015 2:09 pm

Thread moved to Q&A Tips & Tricks forum . . .
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The CO
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Re: Bug Status Update

Post by The CO » Thu Aug 20, 2015 2:30 pm

From the http://bugguide.net/node/view/4587 entry on False Blister Beetles.

"Habitat
Most abundant along the coast and in moist wooded habitats. Adults of some species are nectar and pollen feeders and often found on flowers. They are also found resting on foliage or in moist, rotten logs. Larvae develop in moist, decaying logs, stumps, and roots of hardwoods and conifers, including wharf pilings and driftwood.(7)"

Well, that sounds like NW Nevada!

I'm with melodiusdirge, none of the photos I've seen resemble these bugs.
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Re: Bug Status Update

Post by Sundial » Thu Aug 20, 2015 2:32 pm

They don't mention blister beetles. Seems like this article is really downplaying things compared to their earlier language.
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GreyCoyote
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Re: Bug Status Update

Post by GreyCoyote » Thu Aug 20, 2015 3:28 pm

A few days ago, John Curly says its the freaking bugpacalypse.
Now Will Chase says its just a minor thing.

So, WHICH IS IT, BORG?
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melodiousdirge
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Re: Bug Status Update

Post by melodiousdirge » Thu Aug 20, 2015 3:33 pm

GreyCoyote wrote:A few days ago, John Curly says its the freaking bugpacalypse.
Now Will Chase says its just a minor thing.

So, WHICH IS IT, BORG?
It's obviously both. Bring ya tennis rackets for smashin skeeters, but also bring tennis ballz.
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The CO
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Re: Bug Status Update

Post by The CO » Thu Aug 20, 2015 4:10 pm

Sundial wrote:They don't mention blister beetles. Seems like this article is really downplaying things compared to their earlier language.

No, but the gizmodo article everyone keeps posting has propagated the idea that blister beetles are out there.
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Savannah
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Re: Bug Status Update

Post by Savannah » Thu Aug 20, 2015 4:23 pm

GreyCoyote wrote:A few days ago, John Curly says its the freaking bugpacalypse.
Now Will Chase says its just a minor thing.

So, WHICH IS IT, BORG?
It's clearly Medium-Hell on a scale of 1 to OH GOD.
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maladroit
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Re: Bug Status Update

Post by maladroit » Thu Aug 20, 2015 4:24 pm

melodiousdirge wrote:
GreyCoyote wrote:A few days ago, John Curly says its the freaking bugpacalypse.
Now Will Chase says its just a minor thing.

So, WHICH IS IT, BORG?
It's obviously both. Bring ya tennis rackets for smashin skeeters, but also bring tennis ballz.
Fuck it, let's just put on tennis shoes and tennis bracelets and tennis skirts and just play some tennis all week long.

mooserider
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Re: Bug Status Update

Post by mooserider » Thu Aug 20, 2015 4:29 pm

I wonder how any of these bugs respond to flame? Will there be trails of roasted bugs following every fire performer and fire-rigged mutant vehicle?

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Sundial
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Re: Bug Status Update

Post by Sundial » Thu Aug 20, 2015 4:42 pm

mooserider wrote:I wonder how any of these bugs respond to flame? Will there be trails of roasted bugs following every fire performer and fire-rigged mutant vehicle?
Oh cool. That makes it easy for me to find my way back to camp.
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trilobyte
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Re: Bug Status Update

Post by trilobyte » Thu Aug 20, 2015 5:45 pm

The 'earlier language' was not actually official. There are two main types of posts that are made on the blog - official (posted by people who identify as Burning Man staff, or posted listing Burning Man as the author), and contributors. The second group pretty much includes everybody else, from Caveat Magister to Halcyon to John Curley and many, many others. Those contributors are awesome people who are also great storytellers and bloggers, and their posts add plenty of color. From what I've seen on the internet, people started with John Curley's post, threw some gasoline on that by way of "ohnoes, bugz!" posts from DPW and staffer social media accounts, and ran with it. Partly because it was funny, and partly because FUDdites (that flurry of activity around fear, uncertainty, and doubt).

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spacetime
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Re: Bug Status Update

Post by spacetime » Thu Aug 20, 2015 5:56 pm

Bug twitter updates be like: "RT: @bug_org: Burners expected to arrive despite initial onslaught. Send more blister beetles. #defendtheplaya"

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Jovankat
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Re: Bug Status Update

Post by Jovankat » Thu Aug 20, 2015 6:07 pm

trilobyte wrote:The 'earlier language' was not actually official. There are two main types of posts that are made on the blog - official (posted by people who identify as Burning Man staff, or posted listing Burning Man as the author), and contributors. The second group pretty much includes everybody else, from Caveat Magister to Halcyon to John Curley and many, many others. Those contributors are awesome people who are also great storytellers and bloggers, and their posts add plenty of color. From what I've seen on the internet, people started with John Curley's post, threw some gasoline on that by way of "ohnoes, bugz!" posts from DPW and staffer social media accounts, and ran with it. Partly because it was funny, and partly because FUDdites (that flurry of activity around fear, uncertainty, and doubt).

Yup. Will Chase made a comment under the most recent official blog entry to that effect;
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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GreyCoyote
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Re: Bug Status Update

Post by GreyCoyote » Thu Aug 20, 2015 6:13 pm

trilobyte wrote:The 'earlier language' was not actually official. There are two main types of posts that are made on the blog - official (posted by people who identify as Burning Man staff, or posted listing Burning Man as the author), and contributors. The second group pretty much includes everybody else, from Caveat Magister to Halcyon to John Curley and many, many others.
And the general public would know this... how? Certainly not by clicking on the authors name (no bio!). In fact, how do I know that Trilo's denial of any given authors "official" status is in fact, official? :shock:

And the BMORG wonders how John Q gets such wacked-out ideas about them... :mrgreen:
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Re: Bug Status Update

Post by unjonharley » Thu Aug 20, 2015 6:39 pm

GreyCoyote wrote:
trilobyte wrote:The 'earlier language' was not actually official. There are two main types of posts that are made on the blog - official (posted by people who identify as Burning Man staff, or posted listing Burning Man as the author), and contributors. The second group pretty much includes everybody else, from Caveat Magister to Halcyon to John Curley and many, many others.
And the general public would know this... how? Certainly not by clicking on the authors name (no bio!). In fact, how do I know that Trilo's denial of any given authors "official" status is in fact, official? :shock:

And the BMORG wonders how John Q gets such wacked-out ideas about them... :mrgreen:
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Re: Bug Status Update

Post by Darkshadoe44 » Fri Aug 21, 2015 6:20 am

From Burning Man Placement Dept:
Fine People of Black Rock City!

The piles of bins are growing, the Flagging team are finished placing flags, some of the Placement Team are already on playa and the excitement level is crackling!

This is really happening.

We are excited, frantic and overwhelmed. And now we're hearing stories about bugs.
All the more reason to take a deep breath, pour a glass of cool water and pause for just a moment.
This newsletter is about health and safety - things that we can not rush or pass over.
So drink some water, read this newsletter and remember not to believe all of the drama you read on the Internet. There might be bugs, but we are resilient and resourceful. We come to the playa for adventure and challenge.
Bring some bug spray if you like, but try not to panic. Most of the bugs came to the playa from the Ranch. Once all of the gear is moved, the bugs won't have much of a food source and they won't survive. Once the dust storms come as we all drive on the playa, they will probably blow away.

We are an amazing community and we can handle anything, together.

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koren
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Re: Bug Status Update

Post by koren » Fri Aug 21, 2015 2:40 pm

Seems like nobody has any other info besides that post from John.

I think we should wait till next week to see if there will be more news on that.

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Re: Bug Status Update

Post by pretty_monster » Fri Aug 21, 2015 3:19 pm

BURNING MAN 2015 CANCELLED DUE TO INSECT INFESTATION. SPREAD THE WORD.
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caffeineslinger
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Re: Bug Status Update

Post by caffeineslinger » Fri Aug 21, 2015 3:24 pm

koren wrote:Seems like nobody has any other info besides that post from John.
Bugs on the Playa: Don’t Believe the Buzz

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Canoe
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Re: Bug Status Update

Post by Canoe » Fri Aug 21, 2015 3:47 pm

Entomologist reports: False Chinch Bugs and Say's Stinkbugs found on playa. No blister beetles.

http://www.rgj.com/story/news/2015/08/2 ... 7585/[list]
[*]Since early this week, Burning Man staff and volunteers have been reporting swarms of bugs at the build site for Burning Man, although it does not appear that they pose any kind of health risk
[*]"The people out there said that the numbers seem to be going down," said Nevada Department of Agriculture state entomologist Jeff Knight on Thursday.
[*]On Thursday, an entomologist from the Nevada Department of Agriculture found no evidence of mosquitoes at the site,
[*]"It's mainly the false chinch bugs out there. They're eating the tumble mustard, which normally grows early in the spring. It is kind of a weed of disturbed areas. It was obviously very lush at one time, but now it's very dried out and that's when (false chinch bugs) become adults. The little guys are really good fliers," Knight said.
False chinch bugs look like long-bodied flies and can emit an odor similar to that of stinkbugs, which also were found at the site on Thursday.
[*]One of Knight's employees found a breed of stinkbugs called Say's stinkbugs, which are light green in color.
[*]Although Knight initially identified false blister beetles, ... none were found Thursday.
[*]Both of the critters (~edit: False Chinch Bugs, Say's Stinkbugs) found en masse on Thursday are attracted to light. [/list]
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Shurafa
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Re: Bug Status Update

Post by Shurafa » Sat Aug 22, 2015 6:41 am


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Canoe
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Re: Bug Status Update

Post by Canoe » Sat Aug 22, 2015 7:38 am

Shurafa wrote:This is encouraging news!
http://blog.burningman.com/2015/08/buil ... what-bugs/
But we’ll say this: The bugs are gone.
  • Ok, not every last stinking one of them, but pretty much. The swarms have dried up and blown away. People are working unmolested. Nature has run its course...
  • The heat ended the infestation as quickly as it appeared, and the inches-high mounds were blown away by the desert wind...
  • There were none at the Depot, none at the Center Café, none at the Man Base, none at the Temple, none at any of the places we visited a couple of days ago.
  • 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.)
  • Loren out at the Temple had a good idea. “We’re gonna have a petting zoo,” she said. “Granted, it’ll be mostly insects.” But they could also include ravens, scorpions, black widow spiders, rabbits, seagulls and at least one owl, because we’ve seen all of them out here or in town in the past few weeks.
    Nature. We love it.
    And watch for the headlines appearing soon.
Video games are giving kids unrealistic expectations on how many swords they can carry.
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... but don't harm the red dragon that frequents the area from time to time. He and I have an agreement.

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