black-orange bug?
Hello: your web site is really cool. My son and I found a bug outside and we don’t know what it is. We live in Phoenix, Arizona. The bug is pretty big. Maybe 1 inch long. Black body with an orange head. We found it on a leaf on our Magnolia tree. Just like to know anything about it. Is it harmless? I haven’t seen one of these bugs after living in Arizona for 10 years. So I am curious as to what it is and if it is common around here.
Paul Avona

Hi Paul,
You have a photo of an Arizona Blister Beetle, Lytta magister. It is found in deserts in Arizona. Much of the life cycle is still unknown, but adults eat plant tissues of desert shrubs and larvae attacks grasshopper eggs in soil. Blister Beetles secrete a chemical cantharidin which causes blisters on human skin.

5 Responses to Arizona Blister Beetle

  1. Christina says:

    I am so glad I found this post. My 3-year-old son found one of these in our southern Nevada garden today and, not knowing what it is, I told him to look and not touch. Considering his age, he didn’t listen exactly well. He did use a garden staple to flip it over and check it out. Fortunately, he didn’t get sprayed. This post allowed me to confirm my suspicions. Thank you!

  2. Sam Ramos says:

    Are these bugs poisonous

    • bugman says:

      Many Blister Beetles are capable of exuding a compound cantharadin that is known to cause blistering in human skin. Some species of Blister Beetles are toxic if ingested.

  3. Rick Caiz says:

    How far does it spray? and how long does it take for it to cause the blistering?

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