Unusual rainfall and heat cause beetle blooms to invade a town in Argentina
The Argentine town of Santa Isabel has been forced to turn off its lights for days to persuade the millions of bugs that have invaded its streets to leave and find another place to live.
The town of about 2,500 people in the central Argentine province of La Pampa has been plagued by a beetle swarm for more than a week. “They’re everywhere – in houses, in stores,” Deputy Mayor Christian Echegare complained to the media.
Local law enforcement officials blamed the beetles for damaging police stations, residential buildings and vehicles, and clogging gas station sewers, among other inconveniences.
Residents documented the infestation in videos uploaded to social media, showing thousands of bugs on the roofs of their homes and huddled in black holes.
Some people have been filling big boxes with insects, driving them out of town in cars, and dumping them so they can go about their daily lives unhindered by insects.
Authorities attributed the infestation to unusually heavy rains during the year and a heatwave that recently hit Argentina, sending temperatures rising to nearly 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit).
These conditions are perfect for the bugs to reproduce, and their larvae develop underground.
Then, millions of adult beetles, attracted by the streetlights, flocked to Santa Isabel. These insects do not bite or sting, but they are protected by a sturdy shell and can easily bump into things while flying, so locals are advised to cover their faces when outside to avoid injury.
Santa Isabel finally decides to turn off street lights and lights in public buildings to create bugs “Go away and find another town,” Echegare told The Associated Press on Saturday.
The town has been dark for the past three days, a move that has proven effective. He said the beetle population dropped dramatically during the power outage.
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