The Nevada desert that will host the annual Burning Man festival later this month is overrun by thousands of flying, biting, crawling bugs, according to a festival organizer.
“They’re everywhere. They bite. They crawl all over you. They get up and in you,” the organizer, John Curley, wrote on the festival’s official blog.
He said the bugs are so pervasive that one went up a woman’s t-shirt and settled in her bra, while others weaseled through a welding mask and made a home for themselves around another woman’s eyes.
“What’s going on? We don’t know. We don’t know how the little critters survive in the heat and the sun. All we know is that if you pick up some wood, you’re likely to uncover hundreds or thousands of the things,” Curley wrote.
Burning Man, a weeklong arts festival that attracts tens of thousands of people to the remote area of Nevada, starts Aug. 30.
The mass infestation has miffed coordinators, who are typically greeted by a barren playa before Burning Man starts.
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“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,” Curley wrote.
Images on the Burning Man blog and on social media show swarms of critters in the area. Curley said organizers are hoping the problem will resolve itself.
“The hope is that the heat and the dryness will knock down the bug population.”
This isn’t the first time Burning Man has been dogged by trouble before the festival even began. Last year, heavy rain forced organizers to cancel the festival’s opening day.