Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search


"Blister beetle" gets under the skin in Wellington

Unwelcome Australian invader gets under the skin in Wellington

Charlotte Cook, Journalist

The so-called "blister beetle" could be making a comeback in Wellington due to the warm summer weather.

Photo: Google Images / Phil Bendle

An Australian native, the lax beetle, releases a toxin when crushed, which leaves welts or blisters on the skin.

The beetle was thought to be responsible for a rash of skin complaints among the city's residents last summer.

Entomologist Ruud Kleinpaste said the beetles were commonly found on the beach in the summer months where they live and feed off driftwood.

"When you come in contact with them and squash them a little bit, they tend to bleed a rather aggressive little bit of juice from their limbs and when that comes into contact with the skin, it can cause blisters," he said.

"They are attracted to nothing but their food source... but when they are flying (as adult beetles they have wings) and are sometimes confused by bright lights, so for instance if you have a bright light outside your house they are confused by it, fly around it and crash into it which I think is one of the ways they get near or into houses."

The toxin they leaked was their defence mechanism, Mr Kleinpaste said.

He advised anyone who had skin irritations from the beetles to get medical advice.

People who find them in their house should simply catch them with a jar and free them outside "while wishing them a happy life".

© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


There Is A Field: Reimagining Biodiversity In Aotearoa

We are in a moment of existential peril, with interconnected climate and biodiversity crises converging on a global scale to drive most life on Earth to the brink of extinction… These massive challenges can, however, be reframed as a once in a lifetime opportunity to fundamentally change how humanity relates to nature and to each other. Read on The Dig>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Barriers Facing Female Politicians

On the current evidence though, voters are less likely to regard a female politician as ‘likeable’ than a male one, and – even worse – this perception tends to become a barrier that only female candidates in the main, have to face. More>>

The Detail: Britain's Trump Is Now Its Prime Minister

Guardian journalist James Murray says Boris Johnson wears the hat that works, depending on what he’s trying to achieve. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Trump’s Open White Nationalism

By telling those four elected, American born and/or raised women of colour to “go home”, US President Donald Trump’s racist agenda has come out of the shadows. More>>


Mediaversaries: 20 Years Of The Scoop Information Ecosystem

Scoop celebrates its 20th anniversary this month. To celebrate, we are offering 20% off all ScoopPro subscriptions, including the newly launched ScoopPro Citizen service for Citizen readers. More>>


  • PublicAddress
  • Pundit
  • Kiwiblog