Currently viewing the category: "Blister Beetles"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: unidentified beetle
Location: Alexandria, Virginia
April 19, 2016 6:54 pm
I got several good photos of this attractive beetle today at Huntley Meadows in Alexandria, Virginia. I cannot find it in my reference book, so I was hoping you can help me out. Thanks!
Signature: Seth

Blister Beetle: Lytta aenea

Blister Beetle: Lytta aenea

Dear Seth,
Your Blister Beetle is
Lytta aenea, and because insects have evolved and adapted to maximize their ability to reproduce, many species make yearly appearances when they emerge as adults at the same time across a wide area.  A few days ago, we posted our first image this year of Lytta aenea.

Blister Beetle: Lytta aenea

Blister Beetle: Lytta aenea

Blister Beetle: Lytta aenea

Blister Beetle: Lytta aenea

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Please identify?
Location: Haywood County, NC
April 14, 2016 6:18 am
We have had an ‘outbreak’ of these beetles by our garage door. There are hundreds of them. We had mulch blown in a couple of weeks ago and are trying to determine if they came in that way or if this is just your every day beetle apocalypse.
Signature: Buggy in NC

Blister Beetle

Blister Beetle:  Lytta aenea

Dear Buggy in NC,
This is a Blister Beetle in the family Meloidae, a group with a complicated life cycle.  Larvae are generally predatory and very particular about their hosts, and depending upon the species of Blister Beetle, they generally parasitize solitary bees or grasshoppers.  We have identified your Blister Beetle as
Lytta aenea, based on this BugGuide image.  When conditions are right, there can be large population explosions of adult Blister Beetles that feed on vegetation.  According to BugGuide:  “recorded larval hosts: Colletes thoracicus (Colletidae) adults recorded feeding on Amelanchier, Carya, Crataegus, Fagaceae, Malus, Pirophorum, Prunus, and Salicaceae.”  Blister Beetles should only be handled with caution as they are able to exude a compound, cantharidin, that can cause blistering and irritation in human skin.  

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Many on Pinnacle Peak hiking trail–Scottsdale, AZ
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
April 11, 2016 4:51 pm
Hi Bug People,
Ran into many of these on my hike… What is it?
Signature: Sue

Master Blister Beetle

Master Blister Beetle

What this is Sue, is one of our favorite springtime sightings from Arizona and California, a Master Blister Beetle.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Fascinating Winged Creature
Location: Fall Canyon Trail, Death Valley, Calif.
April 4, 2016 3:41 pm
Yesterday, while hiking the Fall Canyon Trail in Death Valley, my eyes bugged out when I crossed paths with this incredible creature that looked like a giant winged ant scrambling over the gravel in front of me.
A cursory search of “strange insects of Death Valley” and a dive through my usually trusty Laws Field Guide proved fruitless so that is why I am compelled to bother you in hopes you can solve the mystery. For what it’s worth the insect appeared to be approximately two inches long.
Signature: W. Campbell

Master Blister Beetles

Master Blister Beetles

Dear W. Campbell,
Each spring, nature lovers who flock to the deserts of the southwest to see desert wildflowers in bloom send us magnificent images of Master Blister Beetles to identify.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Desert Beetle?
Location: Desert between Nevada and California
March 29, 2016 11:11 am
Can you help me identify this bug please? It’s been driving me nuts! :) It looks like a beetle for sure (to me, anyway) because it had a hard shell. It was about the size of a dime. Found in the desert of Zzyzx, CA (the Desert Science Center), it was a dark gray with a white spot on the head and long black legs.
Signature: Lara

Desert Spider Beetle

Desert Spider Beetle

Dear Lara,
This is a Desert Spider Beetle or Inflated Beetle in the genus
Cysteodemus.  According to BugGuide, Cysteodemus armatus has “white to yellow-brown incrustation” which tends to vary from individual to individual, which explains the white head in your image.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Beetle ID
Location: Hurricane Rd pass, Temblor Range, east of Carrizo Plains, CA
March 29, 2016 7:46 pm
I found this beetle on March 26, 2016 at the top of Hurricane Rd pass in the Temblor Range just East of Carrizo Plains National Monument. It is large – see my fingers for scale. It was the only one of its kind I saw that day and we walked the roadside for over 1.5 miles. The elytra are short and do not come close to covering it’s abdomen, as you can see in the second picture. It did not fly, but fell off my fingers and into the grass. It was found in Bromus grass and Amsinkia. Temperature was about 65 degrees F with a strong wind, ample sunshine.
Signature: Judy Neuhauser

Blister Beetle

Blister Beetle

Dear Judy,
This is a Blister Beetle in the genus
Lytta, and we wish you included a view of the beetle’s head because it does not look like the Master Blister Beetle, Lytta magister, a species that is active in Southern California at this time of year, as evidenced by the image we just posted, however the Master Blister Beetle has an orange head and thorax and your individual appears to have a black head.  Also classified in the L. magister group according to BugGuide is Lytta funerea, which is represented by a single posting of a male of the species on BugGuide with three images.  That individual has a black head and orange markings on the abdomen like your individual, and females, which we suspect you encountered, are often bigger with bigger abdomens.  We would urge you to exercise caution when handling Blister Beetles because according to BugGuide:  “Pressing, rubbing, or squashing blister beetles may cause them to exude hemolymph which contains the blistering compound cantharidin. Ingestion of blister beetles can be fatal. Eating blister beetles with hay may kill livestock. Cantharidin is commercially known as Spanish Fly” and is sold as an aphrodesiac.

Blister Beetle

Blister Beetle

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination