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A Beetle That Produces A Toxin Strong Enough To Kill A Horse Attacked An Arizona Woman, Landing Her In The ER

Arizona is home to numerous menacing arthropod species, such as bark scorpions, harvester ants, and on occasion, Africanized honey bees, or killer bees, as they are commonly known. Blister beetles are yet another group of insects in Arizona that you want to avoid. Although blister beetles don’t bite, like kissing bugs, or sting, like scorpions, these insects do emit a toxic compound that, when exposed to skin, causes an intense burning sensation that, like their name suggests, causes painful blisters. According to one Arizona doctor, the blisters that form on human skin as a result of coming into contact with blister beetle toxins, resemble a typical chemical burn. Blister beetle toxins are particularly harmful to horses, as blister beetle toxins are sometimes contained within the hay that horses consume. It is not uncommon for horses to become extremely ill, or even die as a result of eating hay containing  blister beetle toxins. There also exists plenty of incidents involving medically significant cases of humans falling victim to blister beetle toxins. For example, during the early summer of 2018, a Phoenix woman developed a nasty burn after being exposed to blister beetle toxins.

Dr. Joanna Woods was watching a movie at a theater in the Valley when she made contact with a blister beetle. The pain Dr. Woods experienced as a result of this exposure was described as feeling like her arm could not be removed from a hot skillet. Initially, Dr. Woods thought that she had sustained bed bug bites, as her wound consisted of red welts, but later on, the pain set in, and the welts began to look more like one big chemical burn that had developed blisters. At first, medical professionals were not sure what sort of injury Dr. Woods had sustained, but it eventually became clear that she had come into contact with a blister beetle. Due to her injury, Dr. Woods developed an infection and had to be hospitalized for two nights.

Do you know of any other insects that emit a corrosive substance that can be harmful to humans and animals?

 

 

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