Beetle Mania!

Linette Umbrello's blog | Created 4 years ago

Beetles mass together on a pole
Image courtesy of Craig O’Keefe

The Museum Entomology section often receives public enquiries from concerned citizens who have been inundated with various creepy crawlies, though this one is particularly like a scene from a horror film! A workshop in Leonora, WA, was recently swamped by a plague of “stink bugs”. Workers at the site were wading knee-deep through the biting, smelly beetles.

Museum Entomology Technical Officer, Brian Hanich, identified the beetles as Calosoma oceanicum, belonging to the family Carabidae, which are known for their defensive secretions and predatory behaviour. This species is generally known from the arid zones of Northern Australia and is not usually recorded in such high numbers. Calosoma schayeri, which is emerald green all over, is a similar more wide ranging species that often occurs in plague proportions in outback areas.

While the beetles are not harmful to humans, besides some discomfort from the biting and odour, the only thing to do is wait for them to disperse. Specimens collected during this plague event will be added to the Museum collection, providing important information on this species behaviour and occurrence.

Thousands of shiny brown beetles swarm on the ground

Thousands of beetles!
Image courtesy of Craig O’Keefe