Unusual rains and heat have seen beetles breed in greater numbers and invade a small town in Argentina
The Argentinian town of Santa Isabel was forced to turn off its lights for several days in order to persuade the millions of insects that have invaded its streets to leave and seek another place to stay.
The town of some 2,500 people in Argentina’s central La Pampa province has been plagued by swarms of beetles for more than a week. “They are everywhere – in homes, in shops”, Deputy Mayor Cristian Echegaray complained to the media.
Local law enforcement officials blamed the beetles for damaging the police station, residential buildings and vehicles, as well as clogging the pipes of a gas station, among other inconveniences.
Residents documented the infestation in videos uploaded to social media, showing thousands of insects on the roofs of their homes and huddled in dark holes.
Some filled huge boxes with the insects, drove them out of town in their cars and threw them away, so they could continue their daily routine unhindered by the insects.
Authorities attribute the infestation to both unusually heavy rains for the time of year and the heatwave that recently hit Argentina, which saw temperatures soar to nearly 40C (104F). ).
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These conditions were perfect for the reproduction of bedbugs whose larvae develop underground.
Millions of adult beetles then flocked to Santa Isabel, attracted by its streetlights. The insects do not bite or sting, but they are protected by a strong shell and tend to strike objects in flight. Residents have therefore been advised to cover their faces when outdoors to avoid injury.
Santa Isabel finally decided to turn off its streetlights and the lights of public buildings to make the bugs “go away and find another city” Echegaray told the AP news agency on Saturday.
The city has been in darkness for three days, and the move has proven effective. The number of beetles dropped significantly during the blackout, he said.
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