Are The Bug Swarms Invading Lebanon Harmful?

Is the insect infestation in Lebanon harmful
Instagram/Spotted Through Lens | Felesteen

With the strong heatwave that reached Lebanon in the past few days came a widespread infestation of beetles, cockroaches, termites, and other bugs.

The swarms of insects that invaded several Lebanese areas caused some panic among the people, many of whom are wondering whether this infestation is harmful to their health or that of their crops.

Michel Frem, the Director-General and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Lebanese Agricultural Research Institute (LARI), was swift to tackle this question.

Speaking with MTV on Saturday, he explained that “the beetle infestation in Lebanon is harmless, and we have seen a similar incident last year.”

“[The infestation] does not affect human health and these insects gather around lights,” Frem added, before advising people not to kill the bugs. This is because, as the expert said, “they are beneficial and eat animals that harm crops.”

Calosoma Beetles, also known as caterpillar hunters, which constitute a large part of the swarms currently spreading in Lebanon, are generally not considered to be dangerous.

And while they do only rarely bite humans, their bites are mild and not known to transmit any diseases.

Additionally, they are known to produce a foul odor when killed, which is one more reason to leave them alone.

On the same note, Minister of Agriculture and Culture Abbas Mortada held a meeting with the Municipal Council of Aarsal – one of the areas heavily hit by the infestation – to discuss the sudden appearance of these insect swarms.

Mortada predicts that the infestation will end in 3-4 weeks, but also expects it to spread to some more Lebanese areas in the coming days.

Nonetheless, he also urged people not to worry about the insects and pointed out that the high temperature should kill them on its own.

Nonetheless, Mortada recommended that lights be turned off at night to stop the bugs from gathering around them, as they tend to do.

“We’re present to keep up with updates, and the indicators are positive,” the minister added.

In addition to some fear, the unexpected bug invasion immediately produced many different reactions among Lebanese social media users.