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Seen these bugs lately? Here's where they're coming from

Charcoal seed bugs descend on valley

Charcoal seed bugs invade the valley

COACHELLA VALLEY, Calif. - Have you noticed an invasion of little, flying, black bugs over the last few weeks? 

Experts say they're called Charcoal Seed Bugs -- and they're nothing to worry about. 

We're seeing higher populations than normal due to the high amount of rain seen in the valley this year. The bugs feed on plants and seeds -- so more rain means more food for them to eat. 

They don't bite, but tourists and business owners say they can be a nuisance, swarming storefronts in downtown Palm Springs, swimming pools and even the airport. 

For Bill Lewis, a sales associate at the shop Only in Palm Springs, clearing the seed bugs out has become a daily routine. 

"We have to sweep the store 2-3 times a day because they get stepped on and then their corpses are just everywhere and it's disgusting," Lewis said. 

He goes above and beyond the job description for his customers.

"I had to stop helping a woman for a second, like give me a second -- and I had to pluck one out of her hair," he said. 

The hair-raising invasion is taking tourists by surprise. 

"Watching people walk down the street they'd be twitching or shaking their hair out automatically," said Debby Alexander, owner of Peabody's Cafe.

"I mean they look a little like cockroaches a little bit," said Lex LaMug, visiting Palm Springs from Seattle. 

But pest control experts say the seed bugs are harmless. They're here because of wet weather we saw earlier this year.

"We had a lot of grass that was produced right around the bases of the mountains," said Jennifer Henke, laboratory manager with Coachella Valley Mosquito & Vector Control. "Grass leaves a bunch of seeds and these bugs love to eat seeds."

 

 

And while they might linger another couple of months, Lewis hopes their buzz is worse than their bite. 

"I don't want to scare people away from enjoying our town because it's such a great place to be," he said.

You can reach Jake on TwitterFacebook or email him at jake.ingrassia@kesq.com.


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