strange bug in bangkok?
August 8, 2010 4:59 am
This was a warning posted on facebook about a ”new” poisonous insect in Bangkok, Thailand. However I find this suspicious, considering there is no reference or name of species given. I’m wondering if this is a real threat.
this was the warning attached with the picture:
”this bug has reached Bangkok city. You cannot kill it with bug spray or pesticides! and do not smash it! apparently, if u kill it by squashing this bug, the juice within its self is going to call for back up! which will result in more of these bugs coming to your area where you killed the bug…
How to kill? get a tape or duck tape and rap the bug in it. Wait until it dies of lack of oxygen. Sounds cruel but you really do not want to get the toxins of this bug on your skin! (they don’t need to bite, just to sit on your skin and that is enough to do damage!) When it touches your skin just wipe it off right away and wash your hands and body parts that u know the bug touched. if u scratch it will spread like a wild fire on a dried grass land. ”
We don’t really want to contribute to any internet hysteria, but the images from Facebook you forwarded to us are real, and not limited to Bangkok. We first learned of the Creechie Bug, the name locals from Cameroon West Africa use for a group of Rove Beetles in the genus Paederus, when we received a photo of the insect and the resulting contact dermatitis back in 2008. Missionaries in Cameroon sent us that account and we verified the information. We have received several letters from Sub-Saharan Africa, but we have also gotten reports from Asia. In 2009 we received a letter from Singapore, and one of the images in the photo-collage that is circulating on Facebook was attached to that letter, so What’s That Bug? has already published content from your attachment. WTB? has also received images of Paederus Rove Beetles from Arizona and West Virginia, which led us to research the genus on BugGuide which provides this information: “Paederus species contain a toxic chemical (pederin) in their hemolymph which causes contact dermatitis in humans, usually as a result of slapping the beetle and crushing it against exposed skin. The affected area becomes red, swollen, and itchy, causing the skin to peel when scratched. Outbreaks of Paederus dermatitis have occurred in Africa, Asia, and South America. Historically, extracts of Paederus beetles have been used by the Chinese since at least the year 739 in the medicinal treatment of boils, nasal polyps, and ringworm.” Some of the information contained in the Facebook warning is relevant. You should not handle the Creechie Bug or Paederus Rove Beetle or you may experience contact dermatitis like the examples in the photos. We do not recommend attempting to wrap them in duct tape as that would require handling. Just avoid the insects, though that is not possible if one crawls into bed while you are sleeping, an occurrence that is responsible for some of the accounts of resulting contact dermatitis. The claim of recruits being attracted by squashed Creechie Bugs might also have some limited credibility since insects are attracted by pheromones, but that claim is probably an exaggeration. We will reiterate that we do not want to contribute to internet hysteria so we hope that verifiable information will educate the public regarding a possible unfortunate encounter with a Paederus Rove Beetle. As BugGuide indicates, there are outbreaks of reports of the contact dermatitis in Africa, Asia and South America that probably coincide with intermittent population explosions of the beetles. It is also worth noting that a person does not need to avoid Bangkok because of the warning, and that staying away from Bangkok will not necessarily protect a person from possible contact with a Paederus Rove Beetle since they also occur in Africa, other parts of Asia and South America. One is not even immune from attack by remaining in the comfort of one’s home in North America, since BugGuide reports data of sightings of Paederus Rove Beetles in numerous states, and it is fair to assume that it might also be encountered in other places in North America. We would advise anyone who is unfortunate enough to become afflicted with contact dermatitis after an encounter with a Paederus Rove Beetle to seek prompt professional treatment.