As mentioned by a comment to a previous post, the Black Rock Desert’s environment is so arid and alkaline that it doesn’t support insect or wildlife. For visitors who normally attract mosquitoes or are squeamish about pests and vermin, the absence of such critters can be a temporary, welcome relief. On occasion, however, insects inadvertently hitch a ride in vehicles headed to Burning Man, leading to unexpected encounters. One visit to a portable toilet ended with a monstrous, dust-encrusted grasshopper clinging determinedly to my pants leg, leading to a frantic, impromptu dance on my part to shoo it off, much to the amusement of bystanders.
New York City is a different matter. Cockroaches, mice, and rats are never far away; pest control products are displayed prominently in hardware stores and prompt feverish discussion about “effective” methods among strangers. Lately, bedbugs are on the rise, as explained in overwhelmingly graphic detail by this article (warning: very high in the squick factor). Tip: never pick up furniture or wood materials from the streets – if you do decide to take something home, do a thorough inspection for unwanted guests.
Black Rock City: virtually no pests, unless you count the large sound system or the person shouting on the megaphone near-by when you’re trying to sleep.
Big Apple: many, many pests.