Porch lights in the Sacramento region have found a seasonal accessory pesky bugs dotting their bright glows.
Residents say they have been noticing these crawling creatures in recent days, but experts say they're nothing to fear.
This time of year could bring countless insects, and Steve Heydon, a senior museum scientist at UC Davis' Bohart Museum of Entomology, pointed to leaf hoppers and aquatic insects as the most likely culprits. Leaf hoppers are broader than they are long and aquatic insects have fringes of hair spanning their legs.
Heydon said aquatic insects are migrating to find permanent bodies of water now that the rainy season has finished. A variety of bugs accounts for the problem, but Heydon said people should see it as an opportunity for discovery.
"I challenge them (people) to see if they can find 25 different types of insects at their lights," Heydon said. "Some of the biggest and best and coolest bugs, you can collect with a light."
The swarms of small, shadowy figures hanging on bright lights probably won't go away any time soon.
"That's pretty typical insect behavior at this time of year for insects to congregate in the evening around porch lights," said Julie Jensen, Sacramento County's agricultural commissioner.
The warmer weather brings out bugs for mating season, and June bugs should start coming out soon, Jensen said. She said several generations of bugs breed throughout the summer, and the county's agriculture office would be happy to identify bugs if people have questions about them.
In order to avoid the cloud of bugs, Heydon said residents should replace white lights with yellow lights, which are less visible to insects.
Porch lights should be used sparingly to minimize the amount of bugs attracted to them, Jensen said. She suggested using lights with motion or time sensors.
The bugs may be irksome but they aren't dangerous, according to Heydon and Jensen. Jensen said one insect, commonly called a kissing bug, is considered beneficial because it eats other insects. She warned, though, that kissing bugs have a nasty bite.
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