“They’re in everything. There’s no way to get rid of them or eradicate them.”
For the past two months in the high-desert communities at the foot of the Sierra Nevada’s eastern slopes, residents have seen an explosion of the fingernail-sized black-and-red seed bug species Melacoryphus lateralis.
This is the first outbreak of bug infestation in California on record. The influx of these insect swarms might be related to the drying up of native vegetation in the summer heat and the drought, said Nathan Reade, agricultural commissioner for Inyo and Mono counties.
Gas stations and rest areas along Highway 395 — a roadway that crosses through sparsely populated and rural areas — are prime bug targets because of their lights. After dark, millions of the bugs swirl like surreal artwork below the Pearsonville Shell gas station’s overhead lights.
To the north, a different type of bug is infesting the site of the popular Burning Man counterculture festival in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. State officials are working to identify the green, coin-shaped insects swarming the outdoor venue and biting workers setting up for this year’s event, which starts Aug. 30.
Entomologist Jeff Knight, with the Nevada Department of Agriculture, said the UNKNOWN bugs aren’t bloodsuckers and don’t seem to pose a health risk. But the amount of biological control is really insignificant compared to the millions of insects that are out there. Spraying insecticide hasn’t helped and exterminators have been stymied. The bugs also have limited natural enemies: The only reprieve from the seed bugs seems to be a windy day and the recent smoke from fires.
Add this to the Growing Pestilence of California
California, now entering 5 years of the worst drought on record with economic losses upward of $3 billion annually, is also burning at unprecedented rates over the same span of time beginning 2 years ago with the third worst wildfire in the state’s history when 257,314 acres burned in and around Yosemite. and now with the current drought conditions nearly 5,000 wildfires have already scorched a total of 117,960 acres this year, more than double the five-year average; however that’s not including the recent largest two fires with blazes that razed nearly 100,000 acres, in (of all places) Northern California’s Jerusalem Valley.
Pestilence is the karma of arrogance which was brought upon oppressive, tyrannical rulers of ancient times according to Judaic theology.