You saved all year for the tickets, put together an iconoclast outfit that flaunts your best bits, stockpiled water and tradable knick knacks, hopped in an RV designed to look like a unicorn, and finally got underway. Burning Man 2015 in your sights. Next stop, Black Rock City, baby!
On your drive onto the playa, you took a fistful of _____ (insert combination of letters and numbers that’s the newest psychoactive rave/trance drug), and now you and your collective of burners start amping yourselves up. Finally, just as the XS-8b you popped starts taking hold, you bust out of the wheeled unicorn (which you’ve given a clever nickname, obvs), and, all at once, you are engulfed by your surroundings.
Unfortunately, we don’t just mean good vibes and attractive naked people. Black Rock City is infested with bugs. This morning, NBC News and Time shared what burners have been Facebooking about for a few days now… a plague-level infestation.
The event’s official blog says, “They’re everywhere. They bite. They crawl all over you. They get up and in you.”
In you? Yikes. Blogger John Curley continues, “They’ve blown up inches deep against the sides of the Commissary tent. They’ve covered the carpets at the Depot. They’re all over the Man Base. So, it’s not a localized occurrence, it’s everywhere.”
The current theories as to what’s behind the infestation are 1) that the tiny burners typically lay dormant during the summer months, but were hatched by an unusually wet rainy season, 2) that they hitched a ride in on a shipment of wood, 3) that they are seed bugs feeding on invasive mustard plants.
The mustard coming out of the bugs’ intestines when they are squished is entomologist Douglas Yanega’s reasoning for why people are complaining of rashes. Basically, burners are smashing mustard oil into their skin.
Wow, this story just keeps getting worse. Hopefully by the festival’s August 30 opening day, the infestation will be over. If not, this guy might be on to something: