From our most beloved bugs to the most troublesome pests, beetles are in every corner of this earth.
There are more than 350,000 species of beetles all over this world, with one in every four animals being a beetle – Now that is a lot of beetles!
Another fun fact you might not have known about beetles is that they have teeth – they “chew” on their food just as we do.
And rare as it is, they do sometimes bite or sting humans – though with opposite ends of their bodies.
It is not a common thing at all though, and the sting is never too much a cause for concern, except for some blistering.
Today we will look at some of the beetle species most notorious for taking their aggression out on us! Let’s get right into it!
The long-horned beetles family is a vast family of beetles, with more than 30,000 species found and described.
As the name suggests, it is characterized by its long antennae, which are often twice the size of its body.
Apart from this distinctive feature, there are not many similarities within the species to discern between them.
Apart from the occasional bite though, they are most famously hated and regarded as pets because of how they burrow into wood.
They can get into firewood and infest whole trees in a small matter of time, and will thus enter homes accidentally when the wood is used to prepare furniture and such.
But with dead trees though, they form part of nature’s recycling system and help decay. Don’t fret though, their bites are only just annoying and extremely itchy – it’s nothing to worry about at all.
It will blister and swell up for a few days and dry up like any other mark.
- Keep Long Horned Beetles Away: The best way to get rid of these critters is to use wood insecticides to remove them from their shelter itself.
These beetles belonging to the family Meloidae, are named after their secretions which have a blistering effect.
They are long narrow beetles that range in color from yellow to light gray, which is described as aposematism, a coloring where they warn predators of their toxicity in advance to keep them away.
Misleading as the name might be, the blisters you get when you come in contact with these beetles are not from their bite or sting but just from their secretions.
Cathardin is a highly effective and toxic secretion of this beetle that protects it from other insects. But don’t you worry though, it is only a little blister for us.
You might get blister beetle dermatitis if the beetle either crawls on you or you accidentally kill one using your fingers.
The blisters develop gradually, over the period of one or two days, after which you will notice some pain and swelling.
Don’t panic though, the ailment goes away in about a week and causes no permanent damage to the skin or anything on the inside.
- Get Rid Of Them: Blister beetles are pretty persistent creatures though and getting rid of them can be a hassle.
Your best bet is to buy insecticides with spinosad as it breaks down into harmless ingredients within a day or two, so won’t harm you, while it is still very effective.
Another relatively smaller family of beetles that sting is the stag beetle family also called Lucanidae.
Males are well known for their strong mandibles or jaw area that gives them a rugged and more ancient look.
They use this stronger jaw to fight off other males and get the best nesting site. The fight could also be for other food resources like decaying fruit or some tree sap.
They are generally not aggressive to humans and cannot do much with their girthy lower mandibles.
The females, on the other hand, have smaller, more slender mandibles and can perform a pointier, more painful bite.
Again, like with most beetles, their bites are no serious cause for concern and do little more than cause some pain and irritation to the affected area.
So don’t fret, disinfect, and you should be fine!
- Get Rid Of Them: The main thing to ensure when trying to rid yourself of these beetles is that there are no decaying wood or vegetation in your vicinity. Then spot the affected plants and regularly wash them in soapy water.
Are Beetle Bites Poisonous?
Absolutely not! Though it might be fatal or toxic to predators and other insect enemies of the beetle, it is nothing more than a little scratch in the grand scheme of things.
A little antiseptic and a little time should do you good, but there’s nothing more to be done than that.
Unless, of course, you are allergic to the secretion or the beetle species themselves, then the consequences might be a bit more dire and you should get emergency help as soon as possible.
Fortunately, though, beetle bites are seldom heard about and their allergies even less so.
What Do Beetle Stings Look Like?
If it is just a welt, then it will look a lot similar to a mosquito bite – a raised red patch of skin.
If it blisters though, then a blister of small to medium size will form, based on your amount of contact with the beetle’s secretions.
The blister will puff up and fill with pus, which will burst and heal up within a week or two. Other common accompanying symptoms are redness, pain, burning, itching, and swelling.
What To Do If You Get Bit By A Beetle?
The bite itself is something that goes away on its own, there’s not much you can do to help.
What you can do is care after the bite to reduce the pain and swelling and make the journey to healing easier for you.
Running the bite under cold water or putting an ice pack on it immediately after you notice the bite can help reduce redness and provide some immediate relief.
Other relieving remedies like aloe vera, soothing lotions, cooling creams with menthol, and so on can also be applied for some extra relief.
As for medications, there is nothing you need to take unless you have an allergic reaction. In that case, keep an antihistamine on hand but seek urgent medical care as soon as possible.
Do Beetles Bite Or Sting?
Of the many thousands of beetles described and studied, many do not have developed stingers as other more common stinging insects.
But seeing how diverse a family they are, there are certainly some species that do.
As for their bite though, beetles can certainly bite. Many beetles have chewing mouthparts with some species even having a well-defined lower mandible.
They use these jaws to fight other predators off of attractive nesting sites and other food resources.
So yes, they can definitely bite using these chompers. They are not known for their biting though, so don’t worry about it too much.
So that was a deep dive into beetle bites and what all you need to know about them.
Beetles rarely bite humans, and even when they do it is nothing toxic. We hope this guide helps you out and also teaches you something new!
Thank you for reading!
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