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

Subject: Shiny bluish anty thing?
Location: Maine
September 24, 2016 4:17 am
Found this crawling on the steps, probably about 1 1/2″ – 2″ long. It wasn’t moving very fast. The abdomen is very large, but in all other respects it looks ant-like to me. Do you recognize it?
Signature: Kai

Oil Beetle

Oil Beetle

Dear Kai,
This distinctive Blister Beetle is an Oil Beetle in the genus
Meloe.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Is it a carpenter ant queen?
Location: Rhode Island
September 7, 2016 4:23 pm
What is this big big? My friend found it amongst her potatoes. I’m thinking carpenter ant queen but I’m not sure
Signature: Cindy

Oil Beetle

Oil Beetle

Dear Cindy,
This is a Blister Beetle in the genus
Meloe, commonly called an Oil Beetle.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Beetle pictured near Amboseli, Kenya
Location: Amboseli, Kenya
July 13, 2016 7:32 am
Hi there,
I was recently in Kenya and captured a few pictures of an interesting bug but none of the people there knew the name of it, nor do I know what plant it was eating (a rather lovely purple flower)
It was captured in July 2016, so Kenyan winter.
Can you please help identify it for my picture collection.
Signature: Tane Piper

Blister Beetle: Mylabris oculata

Blister Beetle: Mylabris oculata

Dear Tane,
This is one beautiful Blister Beetle in the family Meloidae and the colors on your image, the bold black and white beetle, the orange antennae and the ultraviolet purple blossom are stunning.  We quickly identified a similar looking Blister Beetle on the Kenya Natural History Guide that is identified as being in the genus
Mylabris.  The site states:  “Many blister beetles are so toxic to mammals that ingestion of a few may be enough to kill a horse. It happens occasionally when the beetles get wrapped up into a bale of hay, quite by accident. Birds somehow just know that a beetle with this pattern should never be eaten, and they leave them alone. There are many, many species of Mylabris distributed across Africa, Europe and Asia.”  Once we had a genus name, we identified the species on Beetles of Africa and confirmed the identification on iSpot.

Blister Beetle: Mylabris oculata

Blister Beetle: Mylabris oculata

Thank you! Yes I thought it was a rather stunning beetle.
– Tane

Blister Beetle: Mylabris oculata

Blister Beetle: Mylabris oculata

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Type of blister beetle??
Location: Central New Mexico
June 13, 2016 8:07 pm
Hello! We have suddenly noticed thousands of these small beetle type creatures in and around our barn during mid June. We live in Stanley, New Mexico, which is about 50 miles east of Albuquerque and about 45 miles south of Santa Fe. A friend told me they are blister beetles which I know can be very dangerous for horses. I’m hoping she is incorrect and that you can reassure me they are harmless little beings 😊. They seem to be everywhere. Thanks!!
Signature: Kristy

Spotted Blister Beetle

Spotted Blister Beetle

Dear Kristy,
This is indeed a Spotted Blister Beetle,
Epicauta pardalis, based on images posted to Alexander Wild Photography and to BugGuide.  According to PetMD:  “Blister beetles are extremely toxic when ingested by horses: as few as five to ten beetles may be fatal to a horse.  The cantharidin toxin affects many bodily systems.  It is extremely irritating to the digestive tract and causes blisters and erosions from the lips and tongue all the way through to the lining of the intestines, which causes abdominal pain (colic) and diarrhea.  This toxin also causes damage to the kidneys and the heart.”  It is our understanding that problems occur when Blister Beetles are feeding on alfalfa that is harvested to provide feed, and not from horses eating Blister Beetles that might be found near stables.  This is a new species of Blister Beetle for our site.

Spotted Blister Beetle

Spotted Blister Beetle

Thanks so much for the info Daniel!
Kristy

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Black insect with red head
Location: Penang, Malaysia
June 5, 2016 5:22 am
I came across this bug when I was collecting bugs for a school project at a forest trail near a dam. This insect is black with a red head and has long-ish antennas and legs. Its legs and antennas look sectioned, like bamboo. It can fly and bite(has wings and pinchers). I fed it some fruit peel and cooked rice and it seems to be eating the rice. Please help me identify the insect.
Signature: Desperate student

Blister Beetle

Red Headed Blister Beetle

Dear Desperate Student,
We immediately recognized your insect as a Blister Beetle in the family Meloidae, and upon searching for the family in Malaysia, we found images of your species on FlickR, but they are not identified to the species level.  We believe we have successfully identified it as
Epicauta hirticornis thanks to an image of a mating pair on Sinobug.  According to Farangs Gone Wild, it is commonly called the Red Headed Blister Beetle.  Blister Beetles should be handled with extreme caution as they can secrete a compound cantharidin that may cause blistering in human skin.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Manzanar bug
Location: Manzanar, CA
May 31, 2016 10:54 am
Can you please let me know what this is?
Signature: Jen

Iron Cross Blister Beetle

Iron Cross Blister Beetle

Dear Jen,
This is one of our favorite last spring sightings from California and Arizona, the Iron Cross Blister Beetle.  Blister Beetles in the family Meloidae should be handled with caution as they are able to exude a compound known as cantharidin that may cause blistering in human skin.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination