The June Bug Epidemic
Photo credit: Patrick Coin
Here’s an odd one. The June bug epidemic refers to an incident in summer 1962 when a worker in a textile mill in the USA claimed to have been bitten by some sort of dangerous insect. Convinced that the latest batch of fabric that the mill had received from England was infested with creepy critters, the woman refused to go back to work. She complained of headaches, dizziness, and a painful rash. Before long, more than 50 of her colleagues were also insisting that they had been bitten by the elusive “June bug.”
Understandably, the mill was closed down for inspection, and officials from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta were dispatched to deal with the outbreak. But to their surprise, they could find zero evidence that such a creature even existed. The health inspectors found only two biting insects in the entire plant, neither of which could have caused the symptoms described by the workers.
Despite this dumbfounding discovery, they decided to have the mill sprayed for insects anyway. After all, there was nothing else they could do. But the most incredible part of the story is this: After the mill had been sprayed and reopened, not a single person complained of June bug bites again. Was there really something hiding in the fabric?
Now, I don't know what kind of bug these folks were bitten by, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't a "June bug!" We get them all the time around my house and I've never been bitten by one yet.
Coffee out on the patio this morning.