There are more than 350,000 known species of beetles. In fact, beetles belong to Coleoptera – the largest order of insects in the world. It may surprise you to learn that humans are known to utilize approximately 340 species of beetles as a food source. What happens if the tables are turned? Can beetles bite back?
Q: CAN BEETLES BITE?
A: The simple answer is, yes, they can. Beetles have chewing mouthparts so, technically, they can bite. Some species have well-developed jaws or mandibles used for catching and consuming prey. Others use these to defend themselves from predators. Other beetles chew and consume wood.
Q: DO BEETLES BITE HUMANS?
A: There are only a few types of beetles that can bite humans. When this happens, it’s usually as a result of unintentional contact between the person and the beetle. Some beetles can inflict a painful bite if threatened or provoked.
Q: WHAT TYPES OF BEETLES BITE HUMANS?
A:Although rare, beetle bites can occur from the following species: blister beetles, stag beetles and Longhorned beetles.
- Blister beetles: These beetles feed on crops and gardens, so human contact is likely. They are also attracted to light, making your patio another area to be cautious of this beetle. When the bite happens, the beetle releases a chemical substance that can cause the skin to blister. The blister usually heals within a few days and causes no permanent damage.
- Stag beetles: They are black to dark-brown and have large mandibles. The male does not have enough strength in his jaws to bite, however, the female does. A bite from the female can be painful, but does not normally require any medical treatment.
- Longhorned beetles: These beetles are named for their unusually long antennae. Longhorned beetles feed on firewood and timber with a high moisture content. Some species also feed on leaves, nectar and pollen. A bite from this type of beetle may cause considerable pain that could last up to a day or two.
Fortunately, beetle bites are not common and they are seldom harmful to humans unless the person bitten has an allergic reaction. Beetles play an important role in nature – until they start biting you. If you suspect you’ve been bitten by a beetle and are unsure of the type that bit you, call your doctor for a consultation. If you want to bite back, call Terminix®. They’ll take the bite right out of your beetle problem.