Do Beetles Bite? Should We Blame The Beetles For Bites That 'Bug' Us?

Outdoor & NatureLearn more
Outdoor & NatureLearn more
On seeing a beetle, the normal reaction is asking the question, do beetles bite.

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Beetles belong to the largest order of insects in the world known as Coleoptera and are found around the world.

But there is a question, do beetles bite? There are a vast variety of beetles and while some have painful bites, some have light bites, and others don’t bite at all.

Beetles have chewing mouthparts and as a result, can bite. Beetle species do not normally live a long life. Often beetles are eaten by humans as food. Some humans might not like the sound of this, however beetles are becoming more popular. A beetle bite to humans can lead to infections or might cause swelling on the part of the body where the beetle bit. There are numerous ways to take care of a beetle bite. While a beetle bite is not fatal, it can be painful and dangerous too.

After reading this article about beetles and their bites, do check how to get rid of Asian beetles and where do carpet beetles come from?

Do beetles sting or bite?

Beetles usually bite humans. As these pests do not possess stingers, beetles bite instead with their chewing mouthparts.

A beetle bite can be painful, causing swelling or a blister in the area it bit. Beetles usually feed on plants and they vary in color from yellow to gray. Some beetles that bite are long-horned beetles whose bite can cause temporary swelling for 3-48 hours accompanied by blisters and pain. Other species of beetles that bite include blister beetles and stag beetles. These pests are very active and fly about and are constantly known to disturb humans in their outdoor activities.

Are beetles harmful to humans?

It is important to know what is harmful to us as a human. As a matter of fact, beetles like other insects do not usually bite without reason. Wasps bite when you disturb their home or try to kill them. Bugs and beetles do the same thing. This pest species will not harm you unless you harm them or their home first.

Yes, beetles can be somewhat harmful to humans only if you disturb them. Although their bite is not fatal, temporarily it can cause swelling that lasts for hours and can be painful. So, better be careful with a beetle. Normally, members of this species are natural pests and feed on plants. However, some popular beetles like blister beetles, stag beetles, and long-horned beetles can bite and cause swelling.

Stag Beetle Bites Vs. Other Beetle Bites

A stag beetle is black and brown in color. A female stag beetle has plenty of energy in its jaws to bite but the male cannot. They have small legs and huge antennae. Antennae are a pair of long, thin sensory appendages on the heads of insects that technically deliver senses. They have mandibles. You may wonder what mandibles are? Mandibles are the jaw or a jawbone, especially the lower jawbone in mammals and fishes. They are usually large in size and have a deadly appearance.

Seeing a male stag beetle, you might be afraid of its wide jaws. But a male stag beetle usually uses its wide jaws for wrestling with other beetles during the mating season, but they cannot bite. A stag beetle is usually gentle and its bite is not that dangerous compared to the bite of a blister beetle which causes a blister rather than pain for three days or a long-horned beetle whose bite can cause acute pain that lasts for a day or two. Compared to them, a stag beetles' bite is not that dangerous and doesn’t require medical attention.

Beetles are regarded as a pest all around the world.

What happens if a stag beetle bites you?

Stag beetles are gentle creatures even though stag beetles are large in size compared to other beetles. They have a deadly appearance that can make anyone afraid enough to kill this species.

However, a stag beetle's bite is not fatal. The jaws of a female stag beetle have enough energy to bite a human but the bite will only cause swelling that lasts for a few hours. The male stag beetle has a wider jaw but it can't bite. So, if you are bitten by a stag beetle by chance, it might cause temporary pain and swelling but it's nothing serious.

Can you die from a beetle bite?

Yes, some beetle bites can be very harmful and dangerous to some extent as beetles fly around and land on our food. However, a person cannot die from a beetle bite. It might cause temporary pain that vanishes soon. There can sometimes be swelling and an allergic reaction in the specific area of a beetle bite. Let's take into consideration a blister beetle's bite.

A blister beetle won't bite but, if your skin comes in to contact with a blister beetle, you can have an allergic reaction and leaves damage. This skin reaction is known as blister beetle dermatitis. Blister beetles can't sting and their jaws are not effective against human skin. But, a blister beetle releases an odorless chemical cantharidin in order to protect itself from its enemies, affecting the skin around it. This chemical causes a burning sensation and reddens the area of the skin. It's not that toxic to the skin and usually, it disappears after a few hours. Blister beetles are found in open ground, gardens, and fields. Most of the bites of different beetles can cause reactions that last for a certain period.

How to treat beetle welts or blisters?

Beetle welts and blisters are caused by coming into contact with blister beetles.

If you are bitten by a beetle, you can try some home remedies. Normally, beetle welts are not dangerous and don't require treatment because they disappear on their own. They can cause redness, mild burning, itching, and swelling.  However, you can wash the affected area with warm, soapy water and apply antiseptic to prevent further inflammation or septic. Sometimes, the infectious chemicals released by the bugs are threatening. You can apply ice wrapped in a towel on the wounded site. Medicines like acetaminophen and ibuprofen which contain counter medications to treat blisters can be used.

You can also make a paste of baking soda and water and apply it on the site to reduce itching. Creams that contain lidocaine can be used for reducing itching too. Oral medicines like Benadryl can be taken to reduce itching. Home remedies include tea tree oil, toothpaste, lavender oil, and applying the above-mentioned ingredients on the site of a wound. It is also important to identify the beetle before it is able to fly off. Identifying it helps in further treatment if required.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for do beetles bite then why not take a look at the beetle life cycle, or stag beetle facts.


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Kidadl Team

The Kidadl Team is made up of people from different walks of life, from different families and backgrounds, each with unique experiences and nuggets of wisdom to share with you. From lino cutting to surfing to children’s mental health, their hobbies and interests range far and wide. They are passionate about turning your everyday moments into memories and bringing you inspiring ideas to have fun with your family.

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