Harmless but horrible Charcoal Seed Bugs that invaded Palm Springs in droves this summer have swarmed in other Coachella Valley cities, but the disgusting critters should be on their way out of the desert soon, according to vector control officials.

Outdoor dining in the summer heat was often shunned as the bugs crawled on restaurant patrons, dropped into their drinks and sent diners fleeing to indoor, air conditioned areas.

The bugs began congregating around light sources and local desert plantlife in late July and early August, prompting local officials to reassure residents that the insects — which were seen crawling on and into homes in swarms  — were not at all dangerous to humans or animals.

The bugs have been recently spotted by residents in Palm Desert, though the Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District expects they will be absent from the Coachella Valley in short order.

After receiving an inordinate amount of phone calls from concerned Palm Springs residents earlier this month, Jill Oviatt, public information manager for the vector control district, said reports of their appearance in the desert have dramatically reduced. That’s is in line with expectations that the bugs, which feed on desert plants following warm winters and rainfall, will move on by the end of the month, she said.

In California, the bugs most recently made a major appearance in Kern County in 2015, and have also appeared in Arizona, Nevada, Texas and other warm, desert locales.

Oviatt said the district will not treat the bugs, as they pose no health threats, but that pesticides have proven effective. Homeowners are also encouraged to keep doors closed and outdoor lights off to reduce the risk of attracting the bugs.

Any Coachella Valley residents who think they see Charcoal Seed Bugs in their area are encouraged to take a photo of the insect and email it to the district at cvmosquito@cvmvcd.org .

–City News Service

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