Subject:  Swarm of Green Beetles
Geographic location of the bug:  Warren, ME
Date: 07/08/2019
Time: 05:44 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This swarm of green beetles just showed up today, filling our Hawthorne tree and falling all over our deck. My dog ate one and now I’m terrified they are poisonous. They look a bit like Emerald Ash Borer pics that I’ve seen. We run a large 163 acre organic farm, so if this thing is going to attack crops, I’d like to know and try to prevent damage. Right now it only seems to care about the Hawthorne blossoms…
How you want your letter signed:  Farm Dog in Maine

Blister Beetle: Lytta sayi

Dear Farm Dog in Maine,
This is a Blister Beetle in the family Meloidae, and based on BugGuide images, we are confident it is
Lytta sayi.  According to BugGuide:  “beetles feed largely on various flowers; larvae have been reared from cells of Agapostemon virescens.”   Blister Beetles are fascinating insects with complex life cycles.  The larvae of most species feed on either Grasshoppers or Solitary Bees.  Many Blister Beetles are able to secrete a compound known as cantharidin that is known to cause blistering in human skin and there are reports of horses sickening and even dying from accidentally ingesting Blister Beetles while eating hay.  Of the family, BugGuide notes:  “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.”

Thank you so much for the prompt and accurate identification and additional information!  We will certainly keep our pets and kids away from them!
Location: Warren, Maine

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.