Insects Swarm Tigers' Comerica Park
Aug. 24, 2000
DETROIT (AP) _ Things got kind of buggy at Comerica Park Wednesday night.
Swarms of small insects caused fans to flee their seats early in the Detroit Tigers' game with the Seattle Mariners.
Fans began running up the aisles as Seattle's Edgar Martinez batted in the first inning, swatting at the insects as they moved. Those who remained in their seats repeatedly swatted at bugs on themselves or others.
Pitchers in Detroit bullpen started a small fire in an attempt to ward off the attack.
Michigan State University entomologist Howard Russell said if it's the species of flying ant he suspects, the insect will be around for another week to 10 days.
He said something must have caused the species to abandon its ground nest. Russell said the reason could be weather conditions or the length of the day compared to the length of the night.
Russell said he has received reports from Grand Blanc, Lansing, Frankenmuth, as well as Detroit concerning the swarms of bugs. But, he said not to worry _ the insects are harmless.
``The bugs came in like the plague,'' said Noel Selewski, a season-ticket holder from Grosse Pointe. ``I couldn't sit in my seat.
``Basically, we came to the ballpark and wasted an evening. ... It was horrible. I couldn't sit there anymore. I was full of bugs.''
Laura McGregor, of St. Clair Shores, brought in-laws from Las Vegas to the game.
``My father-in-law thought the fans were doing the wave. People were rushing out all at once,'' she said.
McGregor, whose seats were in section 135 in the mid-lower level, said people covered in bugs were rushing up the steps from lower levels.
Meanwhile, people in guest services were taking down people's names and seat numbers, but it was not immediately clear whether refunds would be offered.
``If millions, if not billions of bugs set their sights on your city, there's not much you can do,'' Tigers spokesman Tyler Barnes said. ``We're responsive to fans, but in this case, we're dealing with circumstances beyond our control.''
The bugs, which looked like black ants with long, clear wings, were visible on cars parked in lots outside the park, on people's clothing, on the sidewalk and in some unfortunate cases, the ants flew into people's mouths.