June 14, 2024

Swiss oil beetle: expert gives all the clarity

Oil beetles, one to three centimeters long and glossy blue-black in color, look interesting. Insects are now being increasingly observed – also in Switzerland. But the following applies to them: just look, don’t touch.

Because the insect secretes oily drops from the pores of the knee joints when there is danger. These drops will contain the irritant cantharidin. Five-snake venom has the same effect. Caution is advised.

In this country, however, Pro Natura really weighs in. “The black and blue oil beetle, also known as the May worm, has been around in Switzerland for a long time.” This is explained by Urs Tester, Head of Biology and Species at Pro Natura. It occurs in regions with warmer climates and can be seen especially in the spring.

Urs Tester describes current media reports on the Beetle as “hype”.

“I am not aware of a single case of poisoning.” This is related to the fact that people will automatically behave correctly. “You see this beetle. When you catch it, wash your hands afterward.”

According to the German Wildlife Foundation, it becomes especially dangerous if you swallow the animal. In such a case, you should contact a poison control center as soon as possible.

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