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


Scoop 3.0 Update & Membership Sale: The End Of ‘Objectivity’ In Journalism

2019 looks like it might well be another really bad, terrible, not so good year for the traditional journalism model globally... on the positive side, smaller independent players with innovative digital models and a more open approach like our ScoopPro service look likely to be more relevant than ever. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On America’s ‘Green New Deal’

‘Socialism’ is more of a political scare word than an objective condition. Even in the US, as Nate Silver’s 538 website pointed out this week there is polling evidence that modern Americans are inclined to treat socialism as meaning ‘equality’ rather than the ‘government ownership or control’ that Americans understood the term to mean back in the 1940s... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Listening To Ocasio-Cortez About Tax

In its attitudes to tax, New Zealand has been the last colonial outpost of Thatcherism. Change, however, may be in the air. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Nelson Fire And Climate Change

The Nelson fire has been a useful warning of things to come, given how climate change will (a) increase the likelihood of reduced rainfall and drought-like conditions in many parts of New Zealand, which – obviously – will raise (b) the fire danger and (c) the cost of providing the communities at risk with the enhanced firefighting capabilities that they’re going to need. More>>