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Me and my niece got sprayed by a Bombardier Beetle!!!!


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Today we had a great bug hunt in my sister's yard! We found jumbo sized slugs, super cute hatchling hokie millipedes, our first rainbow darkling beetle, and 2 roach nymphs(we kept the nymphs to see what we get when they grow). We also found a rather large beetle I've never seen. I was a little too worried about it. I didn't know what kind of beetle it was. Does it bite, does it sting, does it spray? I told my niece if she wants to see it she needs to quickly put it in the container, but we're not keeping it. I asked her if her hands stink and she said, "Yup they stink. Yuck! " I told her to wash them immediantly, I went to touch the beetle and it sprayed my arm.  It was stinky. Very bad. It smelled like strait up vinegar and irritated my nose. I instantly thought, "Bomb Beetle!" We all started panicking. One of her brave friends chased after it and killed it with a stone.

EDIT: I do regret what happened to the beetle and the entire situation it's self. 

This what it exactly what it looked like: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a3/Brachinus_spPCCA20060328-2821B.jpg

It didn't burn us or leave marks. Just a bad smell. But what I'm worried about if there are any after-effects I need to look out for? My niece is only 7 years old, so I'm very worried about her.

Thanks for any help!.

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I doubt the beetle spray will harm a human for more than a short while, I didn't look at the link, I've donated to wikipedia in the past,

and since then, every time I used the site, they'd ask for more money, so I avoid them.

You let someone kill the beetle? I'm not sure that's a very good lesson for nature appreciation, we learn our phobias from our parents

and others, you must realize the insect was just behaving normally.

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The defensive chemical spray produced by bombardier beetles and other carabids can be extremely foul smelling and persistent, but it's not harmful to humans - certainly, not in the small amounts released by these insects.  You definitely wouldn't want to get it in your eyes, nose or mouth though - it would surely cause a burning sensation for a while, before it wears off.  Of course, spraying right into the face of a predator is exactly how these beetles use this defense mechanism, and considering how many insects and other animals use this tactic, it must be reasonably effective.  Some of the worst smelling I've ever encountered are Calosoma and Pasimachus.  The odors they produce are on a whole other level of noxious, compared to what's produced by hemiptera such as Pentatomidae and Coreidae.

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5 hours ago, kevink said:

I doubt the beetle spray will harm a human for more than a short while, I didn't look at the link, I've donated to wikipedia in the past,

and since then, every time I used the site, they'd ask for more money, so I avoid them.

You let someone kill the beetle? I'm not sure that's a very good lesson for nature appreciation, we learn our phobias from our parents

and others, you must realize the insect was just behaving normally.

I know the beetle was. The only reason I called him "brave" cause he chased after it and he's only 7, I do feel bad about the situation, I should of never let it happen. I also feel terrible that I let my niece hold something that could of burned her.  My niece would never of killed it, though. She cried her heart out when her mother killed a large roach in the house. 

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4 hours ago, Goliathus said:

The defensive chemical spray produced by bombardier beetles and other carabids can be extremely foul smelling and persistent, but it's not harmful to humans - certainly, not in the small amounts released by these insects.  You definitely wouldn't want to get it in your eyes, nose or mouth though - it would surely cause a burning sensation for a while, before it wears off.  Of course, spraying right into the face of a predator is exactly how these beetles use this defense mechanism, and considering how many insects and other animals use this tactic, it must be reasonably effective.  Some of the worst smelling I've ever encountered are Calosoma and Pasimachus.  The odors they produce are on a whole other level of noxious, compared to what's produced by hemiptera such as Pentatomidae and Coreidae.

I got hit hard in the face by a strawberry beetle (Harpalus rufipes) once. That smell nearly choked me and burned my eyes! Never had any problem with those guys, but maybe that's why my pet lizards would never eat them. (This was before I really knew anything on this beetle, besides the fact that our backyard critters, especially toads and lizards liked eating them.)

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28 minutes ago, Bugoodle said:

I got hit hard in the face by a strawberry beetle (Harpalus rufipes) once. That smell nearly choked me and burned my eyes! Never had any problem with those guys, but maybe that's why my pet lizards would never eat them. (This was before I really knew anything on this beetle, besides the fact that our backyard critters, especially toads and lizards liked eating them.)

When I hear "strawberry beetle", the first thing that comes to mind is Conradtia principalis, since it kind of looks like a strawberry! - 

9ce48bf776d5ef4bdecb115433995b8c.jpg

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@Bugoodle As far as I know there are really only three foreign species that are generally legal to own in the us (apart from ground + dung beetles) which are all Goliath beetles.

(Also love stumbling across your posts seems like lots of adventures going on-- and have appreciated reading about all your named beetles lol)

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11 hours ago, Bugoodle said:

Is there anyone who sells them to the US or is it illegal?

Conradtia has been kept in captivity, but apparently proved problematic to breed.  I've not heard of anyone in the US having worked with them.

Yes - currently, the only genus of exotic Flower Scarabs (Cetoniinae) that have been de-regulated in the US is Goliathus.  Hopefully, a few other genera will be added to the list, in time.

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21 hours ago, Bugoodle said:

I know the beetle was. The only reason I called him "brave" cause he chased after it and he's only 7, I do feel bad about the situation, I should of never let it happen. I also feel terrible that I let my niece hold something that could of burned her.  My niece would never of killed it, though. She cried her heart out when her mother killed a large roach in the house. 

Those things happen, only about 25% of the spiders found in my house get scooped up and tossed outdoors- There's only one way to learn, I did

a lot of pointless animal killing when I was much smaller.

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On 4/18/2021 at 1:52 PM, kevink said:

Those things happen, only about 25% of the spiders found in my house get scooped up and tossed outdoors- There's only one way to learn, I did

a lot of pointless animal killing when I was much smaller.

I'm too scared to kill spiders, so is my dad(we both have arachnophobia). My sister may free them, but my mom will smash them. I hate daddy long legs/cellar spiders the worst. They are very creepy and worst of all, a very common house spider. But I remember back then there was a daddy long leg spider at my friends house. She was huge and carried an egg sack. I don't know why, but as terrifying as she was, and how my anxiety would raise when ever I walked in that building, I didn't want her to be killed, because she was carrying her babies. I heard daddy long legs were very social spiders that unlike other spiders who consume their mates after mating, they live with them. I asked my friend to free the spider.

Although, as much treatment I can find available online, my phobia still exist.

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A lot of people have mixed feelings about insects and spiders and it's nice to see somebody at your age confronting those fears and thinking about them, and sharing them online with others. 

Spiders are one kind of arachnid, which are arthropod relatives of insects. Daddy long legs are actually in a different order of arachnids than spiders (not to be confused with cellar spiders which actually are spiders). Scorpions are another kind of arachnid in an entirely different order. 

Many of us grow up in a culture of fear for anything with six or eight legs, and our parents squash any curiosity we have about them at an early age like our curiosity is a spider itself. I am glad to see you are thinking about this stuff. Many people go through their lives just killing thoughtlessly on account of their upbringing and out of habit.

The world and the diversity of nature is a beautiful thing if you can learn to appreciate it. We are surrounded by nature's beauty all the time and ugliness is merely a human judgment that is self-defeating.

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I am an emotional person. Speaking of emotions, I just accidently killed one of my niece's halloween hisser nymph. He was stuck in a tight spot of an old decore. So, I broke that piece off, and it cut him in half. 😩I almost cried, especially when my niece cried. I feel like crap. Her cricket just died last night. Guess this is karma from the bomb beetle. We always preserve our bugs in acrylic cast though, so she can have them forever. It takes a while for soft body insects to dry out though. 

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22 hours ago, Peter Clausen said:

A lot of people have mixed feelings about insects and spiders and it's nice to see somebody at your age confronting those fears and thinking about them, and sharing them online with others. 

Spiders are one kind of arachnid, which are arthropod relatives of insects. Daddy long legs are actually in a different order of arachnids than spiders (not to be confused with cellar spiders which actually are spiders). Scorpions are another kind of arachnid in an entirely different order. 

 

Oops sorry for the confusion. I some times call cellar spiders daddy long legs. Yes, that name is for the harvestmen. Those guys are less of a problem for me as they typically stay outdoors, although they have ruined picnics and bug hunts for me. lol

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  • 1 month later...

Just wanted to say I’m not sure why you admitted so readily that you let your friend kill the beetle... on the beetle forum... 

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