Creepy-crawlies torment a Kerala family

Creepy-crawlies torment a Kerala family
Colonies of Mupli beetles seen in Sadasivan Pillai's kitchen utensils.

Ponkunnnam: Haven't you noticed dark beetles on vessels and furniture at your home? These harmless Mupli beetles have become a menace in the rural parts of Kottayam district in Kerala. Though harmless these beetles are found settling on food, water and animals. A family here at Cheruvally are in great distress as they are not able to have food or catch some sleep with peace due to the crawling insects.

Sadasivan Pillai and his family members are so desperate now that they plan to vacate their house owing to the trouble posed by Mupli beetles (Luprops tristis).

The local residents said that the beetle problem this time around was much worse compared to the previous years.

Colonies of Mupli beetles are found on roofs, fans, windows, kitchen utensils and in almirahs, said Sadasivan Pillai.

Though these beetles can be destroyed using kerosene, these insects reappear in great numbers at night. The family members have suffered skin burns due to beetle bites. Their defensive secretions can cause skin burns in humans, and also eye diseases and breathing problems.

The beetles can controlled by using kerosene and petrol, and also by switching off lights inside the house, and lighting up the precincts.

Mupli beetles have a liking for summer and nights. They are found among dry leaves in rubber plantations which abound in Kottayam district. They start multiplying by April and May, and later they take shelter in nearby houses and buildings before the monsoon arrives.

These beetles get their name, Mupli, from a forested place in Kerala's Thrissur district which was infested with them.