Paederus_littoralis01

Whatever you do, don’t smack it!

Besides things like anime, kimono, tea ceremony, and more, Japan is famous (or should I say, “infamous”) for its insect population. Cockroaches, ants, and bees grow to frightening sizes and can be as harmful as they are gross, and the summer in particular is dangerous when it comes to bugs. One of the critters you should be avoiding at all costs is the yakedo mushi (火傷虫), or “burn bugs,” which have the scientific name “Paederus littoralis.”

These “burn bugs” are part of the Staphylinidae type of insects and emerge to terrorize Japan in the summer months. They’re about 6-7 centimeters (2.5 inches) in length, and their heads and behinds are black while their middles are orange in color.  They look a little like ants.

What’s frightening about them is their, well, everything. One nasty touch from one of these little buggers can have your arm looking like this.

They can excrete their venom in an almost thread-like manner that sticks to your skin with a burning sensation.

If you’re reading this, maybe it’s because you have one on your arm right now. Before you panic, read some of these tips on how to avoid getting a very painful and unattractive welt.

  • First of all, don’t smack it. That may work for mosquitoes, but not for burn bugs. Try blowing air on it or gently transferring it off of your person.
  • Try as hard as you can to not touch it directly, since its venom transfers through direct contact. Even dead burn bugs carry poison!
  • So, what should you do if you end up touching one? Run the affected area under water as soon as possible, just like you do with regular burns.

Be aware of harmful bugs in Japan (and wandering Pokémon hunters) and have a safe, burn-free summer!

Sources: Buzzmag
Featured image: ©entomart via Wikipedia