You may have read in the local newspaper that Rove Beetles have been wreaking havoc in Bukit Metajam. There are reports now that the beetles were seen in Padang Serai and Penang island.
We have checked with our Health Department and to date, there has not been any outbreak in either Penang or Kulim.
What is this ‘mystery’ bugs?
The Rove beetles (Paederus Fuscipes) is shape like an ant with a slender body of about 7 mm long. It is black and orange in color as can be seen in the pictures below.
Rove beetles live in nests and apparently, the female beetle is bigger in size and is more toxic than the male. The insects are attracted to bright lights. Once the lights are switched off, they will drop onto the floor. Apparently, the beetles usually fly 50 meters from their nest.
According to the Malaysia Research Unit, the Rove beetles were first seen in Malaysia in 1919. They were found in isolated areas and were ignored due to its small population. A few cases of massive invasion have incurred in some areas near padi fields or swamps but were controlled by the authorities and not highlighted.
How does the Rove Beetle affect us?
The beetle when touched or disturbed will exude a noxious fluid which will cause dermatitis on skin and irritation to the eyes. It will cause burning sensation on skin and if the person scratches, ‘pus’ will form and it will spread to the other parts of the skin. After the insect is dead for a few days, the toxic chemical will still remain in its body. Upon touching the dried insect, the skin can also be affected.
Health Tips on the DO’s and Don’ts
- Put screens in your windows to prevent the Rove beetles from getting into your house.
- Spray aerosol insecticide directly onto the Rove beetle as it will kill it .
- Turn off the lights if it is not in use as light attracts the beetles.
- Use dim lights if needed.
- Wash your hands or skin area immediately with soap and water upon coming in contact with the beetle.
- Seek treatment from the doctor immediately if you develop dermatitis or irritation to the eyes.
- Check your gardens and potted plants to ensure that they are not infested with the Rove Beetles
- Spray your plants with insecticide regularly (monthly) to prevent infestations.
- Do not touch the Rove beetle (dead or alive) with your bare hands.
- Do not press the beetle to death, if drop onto your body as it will the toxic chemical onto your skin.
- Do not scratch the affected area