Families forced to vacate homes because of huge insect infestation

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Residents of Tlapeng village, near Mahikeng in North West, say they are terrorised by an army of -what’s believed to be – red-headed blister beetles.

The insects secrete a liquid substance that burns and infects the skin.

A resident Lorraine Morule explains, ” When it bites you it urinates on your skin and from there you end up having some sort of bubbles as if you’ve been burnt. And then from there, your skin will peel off… and it’s not for the first time that we are having this kind of outbreak. We had it in January 2016; towards the end of January 2016 we had it.”

Residents alerted authorities after noticing huge amounts of these insects known by locals as “khukhwane ya molelo” inside their homes.

The North West Health Department’s Emergency Medical Services have been deployed to Tlapeng village.

“We realised just at first glance that it is not the tumbo fly. So we will investigate it further so that we know exactly what we are dealing with. But from the assessment, it is not fatal. It does bite but also we have assessed that not all households are affected,” explains Provincial health department spokesperson, Tebogo Lekgethwane.

The health department has urged residents to exercise extra caution when preparing for bed, to ensure that no unwelcome visitors are lurking between the sheets.