Properties along the Cami de Muntanya in Son Ferriol, Palma are suffering from a "plague" of red bugs, aka Spilostethus pandurus. Despite the invasion, no one from the Emaya municipal services agency or from any other department at the town hall has been along to find a solution.
One resident says that he and neighbours are having to put towels by doors to stop the bugs entering and cannot open their windows. Even so, the bugs still manage to find a way in: hundreds of them climb in somewhere. There was some fumigation on Saturday, but by the following morning one of the properties was completely full of the bugs.
A plague on this scale has never been experienced before, and there are unknowns as to what consequences there may be. Residents have tried calling the 112 emergency line and are then diverted to the town hall and Emaya. The response from the latter on Sunday was that there were no "minimal services" and that they (Emaya) would get back to the callers within 72 hours.
The residents are angered by the town hall's attitude and lack of interest. One Emaya worker has reportedly said that it's not the end of the world. Residents accept that there are more urgent matters. It is not life or death, but the treatment by the town hall is "shameful" and there is concern that the bugs could perhaps cause some form of illness.
The town hall's health department issued a statement yesterday which made clear that the bugs pose no risk to people and so that there is no health "plague". Personnel from the department's pest service have been to Son Ferriol and established that there is no risk. The problem, in the town hall's view, has been provoked by crops and can occur occasionally.
Palma's parks and gardens department cannot help either, as the bugs are not in a park or garden for which the town hall has responsibility. The environment ministry is also unlikely to be in a position to do anything as the bugs aren't posing any obvious agricultural risk. The best advice is for residents to use some form of product to make the bugs go away and not come into properties.
Spilostethus pandurus, a type of seed bug, is found all over Europe and not just in the Mediterranean. It is perfectly harmless to humans and animals but it can cause damage to certain crops.