PALM SPRINGS, Calif. — It may be small, but an insect known as the charcoal seed bug has started to get under the skin of people visiting and living in Palm Springs.

Dozens and sometimes hundreds of the sunflower seed-sized insects are swarming sites throughout the desert city, gathering on ledges outside coffee shops, flocking to bright lights at night and clinging to the crevices of windows.

The bugs are attracted to vegetation that has flourished following an unusually wet winter, according to The Desert Sun (http://desert.sn/2uwbWNl ).

“The rain triggered a lot of growth of plant life . and the seed bugs are loving it,” said Kurt Leuschner, an entomology professor at College of the Desert.

Palm Springs resident Shelli O’Rourke said when she gets home at night, the bugs are swarming around her porch light. She uses her screen door to try to block them as she rushes inside as fast as she can.

“I don’t mind bugs, as long as they’re not on me,” she said.

Les Alexander said he has stopped leaving his outdoor lights on altogether. Otherwise, he said he’d be inundated with thousands of the pests.

Businesses throughout Palm Springs also are keeping their lights at night to a minimum.

Though annoying, the bugs pose no threat, Leuschner said.

“They technically could bite you. But even if they did they wouldn’t cause any harm,” he said. “They’re not after human flesh.”

Residents shouldn’t have to worry about the insects too much longer, he said. As vegetation dries out during the summer, the bugs will soon die out.


Information from: The Desert Sun, http://www.desertsun.com

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