What to do if Blister Beetle makes contact with you

Asked August 13, 2015, 11:10 AM EDT

My name is Robert, and I work at a coal mine in south Texas. The blister beetles are abundant here. In the event of someone makes contact with the beetle, what is the appropriate first aid?. Yes, this has happened to a few employees recently. They did blister, and had minor pain for a few days.

Atascosa County Texas

1 Response

The best course of action is to clean the area with water or soapy water or a wipe once you know you've been exposed, trying to get the blister causing agent off the skin to reduce the blisters formed. But once you are exposed, a blister will form. Thinner skin is more susceptible, thicker skin may not blister.

It's the hemolymph (insect blood) that causes the blistering, so smashing or squeezing the bugs is discouraged. They will do reflexive bleeding, in which case, just trying to avoid touching or handling them is best. They are attracted to lights, if you are using headlamps or lights in or around the mines, especially at night, you are a little more susceptible to being exposed to the beetles.

Beyond cleaning the area, there isn't really any further medical treatment required. They should not cause extended pain, often individuals experience no pain, just the reaction. Keeping the blister clean until it heals is really the only thing to be concerned about after the blister forms.

I hope this is helpful.