False Bombardier Beetle: Is it connected to Sores????

Blister Beetle + sore?
Location: Southern Missouri
May 18, 2011 10:44 pm
Daniel, I live in Southern Missouri and have recently been waking to nocturnal ”bites” that produce an intense burning sensation but no sign of an actual bite until a day or so later, when a sore appears (2nd photo). This beetle may be the culprit because it has recently shown up in our home. I can’t find it in your blister beetle archives, however. Can you help? Thanks, Bob
Signature: Robert

False Bombardier Beetle

Hi Robert,
The beetle you submitted is not a Blister Beetle, but a False Bombardier Beetle in the genus
Galerita, and it is a Ground Beetle.  You may read more about it on BugGuide, including the warning that “Caution: These beetles have chemical defenses (see Rossini et al. 1997)”.  Following that link to the Proceedings of the National Sciences of the United States (PNAS), we learned that the spray contains formic acid and that “Formic acid is a potent irritant, deterrent to vertebrates and invertebrates alike.”  Your letter specifically states you are waking to nocturnal “bites” but since bites is in quotes, it seems you have some doubt that they might actually be bites.  We don’t believe the False Bombardier Beetle to be responsible for your sores, though we might be wrong.  We can’t imagine that a beetle that has chemical defenses that need to be replenished would actually expend those chemicals unless it really felt threatened.  False Bombardier Beetles are beneficial predators and one should avoid handling them.  We are going to tag this posting as a mystery and we truly hope the False Bombardier Beetle is not the culprit, but that would mean something else is lurking between the sheets.

What Caused the Sore???

12 thoughts on “False Bombardier Beetle: Is it connected to Sores????”

  1. I would REALLY like to hear about the answers. I have sores EXACTLY like these on my fingers only. I don’t know if it’s something else, but it only happens in summer.

  2. I just want to note that I looked up this bug after finding it in my bed. Fortunately, I captured the bug using a ziplock bag. I read after catching it that it could produce a chemical that can cause irritation. I’m glad I thought to use a different method than I usually do.

  3. Just found one of these bugs in my bed and laid my arm down on it and it felt like I got a shot and it stung and now it’s just sore around the area , it was very hard to kill and even after cutting the head off it still acted like it was still alive , is this common and can I expect any bad consequences from the bite ?

  4. I keep finding them in my house. How can I get rid of them?? I’ve found 12 in the past 2 weeks. I’ve lived here for 3 1/2 years and I never seen one before. I live in Maryland.

  5. yeah i found something similar to this bug but only that the head was longer and thinner,does that count as the same this?if not can i take a picture?and how do i send the picture?[because im only young]i keep finding them around the house i want to know if its poisonous or not?and again is it different if it looks different?please answer all questions because i am very scared right now!

  6. My son as well got bit by one of these beetles as well on his neck and his neck got swollen and felt like it was burning and hot. No sign of even a bite until the next day! Very strange! Had to take him in to dr. and they gave him an antibiotic shot and prednisone and cream and it helped a bunch! His neck also after the swelling and such was gone revealed a large bite mark. This bug is most definitely the one! Maybe like anything else in life some are affected negatively from this beetle while others are not, kind of like bees! I don’t know but i feel more needs to be looked into about these buggers! P.S. we live in northwestern illinois near iowa

  7. I also have recently found the Bombardier in my home. That I’ve lived in 6 years and never seen before. Yes it bites and yes after cutting off the head it was still alive 3 hours later. I have one in a Ziploc bag and am taking it to the Health Department Monday. I’m very worried over these beetles.

  8. Got this bite a week ago. It’s filled with clear liquid.Should I be concerned? I live in Sacramento,CA Seems to want to hang around.


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