Tiny Black “Pirate” Bugs Swarm Southern Minnesota
There's nothing worse than being forced inside on a beautiful day because the bugs are biting. We deal with mosquitoes throughout the summer, but this past weekend it was a different kind of biting bug that ruined our outdoor time. The weather was so nice and we just wanted to be outside, but tiny little black bugs swarmed our neighborhood forcing everyone to seek shelter on numerous occasions. I mentioned how annoying these bugs were this morning on the radio and several listeners responded saying they got bit up too.
So, I reached out to the Minnesota DNR to see exactly what kind of bug it is and if there's anything we can do to protect ourselves from their nasty bites. Val Cervenka, an entomologist with the DNR, replied and said she believes they are “minute pirate bugs” -- minute because they are so tiny.
Joseph Spencer, an insect behaviorist for the Illinois Natural History Survey in the University of Illinois Institute for Natural Resource Sustainability, told the Crookston Times the bugs normally eat insect eggs and mites, but the harvest of fields limits their food so they come out searching for something to eat. Spencer said the bugs are "hungry and desperate."
Cervenka said the bites are painful, but told me the bugs are otherwise harmless because they don't suck blood or inject anything into the skin. Unfortunately, she said there is no spray to keep them away, but I did learn from our email conversation that they are attracted to light-colored surfaces so darker clothes could keep them from biting you.
You won't have to worry about these little monsters for much longer. Cervenka said they will be gone after the first frost – very soon.
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