Incidental Pest – Rove Beetle

Paederus spp. or being known as rove beetle was one of the dangerous and feared insects due to the presence of toxin in its hemolymph. This insect belongs to Order Coleoptera, Family Staphylinidae. In fact, rove beetle is one of the most successful and diverse insects. It has a dark orange body with its head and end of its abdominal are black in color. It usually raised up its abdomen like a scorpion posture when disturbed or provoked. Adapted to fly, but it actually prefers more to run.


As naturally being one of the nocturnal insects, this species is mostly attracted to a brighter area with a presence of light sources and higher levels buildings. Since Paederus beetles having a positive phototaxis behavior, it usually accumulates around the artificial lights during the night time either in wooded areas or throughout the city. Therefore, the adult one’s always flying away from their breeding places and get attracted easily by the lighting produces in human habitations. The maximum longevity is from 80 to 90 days while some can survive until the age of 50 to 51 days.

On the other hand, Paederus spp. does not sting or bite but it releases an akaline toxin called “paederin”, which can cause Paederus dermatitis (PD), especially when it in contact with human skin. Paederin are very poisonous and can cause allergies followed by formation of red rashes which lead to a deep pain to a patient. Normally, it takes about 2-3 weeks for the dermatitis to heal itself. Some of the patient suffering from PD will have a scar left behind as one of the common side effects which can be seen even after they are recovery from dermatitis due to the pathology which extends deeper into the dermis layer.

Life cycle

  • Undergoes a complete metamorphosis (holometabolous).
  • Mode of reproduction is by sexual reproduction.
  • Eggs – laid singly and around 121 to 147 of eggs are capable to be laid in a lifetime. It takes about four to six days for the eggs to hatch into the first instar.
  • Larva – There are two larval stages. The first instar develops within three to five days. In the meanwhile, second instar takes around five to seven days to develop.
  • Pupa – Develops within three to four days before it become an adult. The whitish pupae are very unique as it does not have any protective cover (unsclerotized) and mobile (flapping).
  • Overall, the life cycle of immature stages took about 17 to 19 days for it to be fully developed into adults.
  • Life Span: Maximum longevity from 80 to 90 days while some can survive until the age of 50 to 51 days.

Potential spots on bodies that can be infected by Charlie:

  • Arms
  • Elbow
  • Hand
  • Legs
  • Neck
  • Face

Sign of Charlie infestation

  • Mirror marking red rashes or straight-line marking.
  • Blister red bumps.
  • Itchy and burning sensation feels at infected areas of skin.
  • The presence of Charlie itself.

How to control Charlie

Chemical control

  • Use of insect repellent.
  • Residual spraying at external and internal of premises by a professional pest control to kill the adults.


  • Fitting a mesh to the windows and doors.
  • Using bed nets, sticky traps, glue boards or insect electrocution devices.
  • Trimmed and cut the grass short in the lawn or gardens.


  • It is important for communities to recognize the beetle itself. This is to avoid from in contact with the beetle.

Behavioral control

  • Once it lands on the skin, do not crush it using bare hand instead blow or flicked it gently and removed it
    by using any objects such as paper, tissues or tape it.
  • Switch off the main light before sleep or when not in use and close all windows to prevent its entry in the
  • Personal protection by wearing a long sleeve pants and shirts.

Paederus dermatitis (PD) infection

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