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

Subject:  What is this?
Geographic location of the bug:  Central NJ (Edison)
Date: 11/26/2017
Time: 02:30 PM EDT
I saw this creature as I was taking a walk. It was fairly large in size – about 1 1/2 to 2 inches in size. I saw it just now right after Thanksgiving. I did a reverse image search. Google proclaimed it a stag beetle. Bing returned a lot of pages from Japan. The shapes and colors are correct, but the wings are too small. The two wings on this picture are tiny stubs. Beetles have full wings that cover the abdomen. Hornets have transparent wings.
How you want your letter signed:  David W.

Oil Beetle

Dear David,
Your claim that “Beetles have full wings that cover the abdomen” is true in most but not all cases.  This is an Oil Beetle, a species of Blister Beetle in the genus Meloe.  Oil Beetles are flightless.  There are other species of Blister Beetles with vestigial wings like this Spanish individual, and many species of Rove Beetles like the Devil’s Coach Horse also appear wingless, though their wings are described on BugGuide as “elytra short (about same length as pronotum, or only slightly longer; wings are functional in most), typically exposing 3-6 (usually 5-6) abdominal segments.”

Thank you for your reply. I was beginning to wonder if this was an invasive species.
I did an image search on Bing (Google said it was a stag beetle) and it pointed me to a bunch of Japanese pages (in Japanese, of course) with pictures of very similar looking bugs. One site (via Bing translate) identified it as a “miyamatsuchihanmjou” which wasn’t much help, but there was a note attached calling it a type of blister beetle and warning me not to touch it. (Not that I had any desire to do so).
I guess the Japanese maybe more attuned to nature, but seeing all of these Japanese pictures and none in America, I feared it was an invasive species.
I see that these live in my area of New Jersey and are mainly active in the spring.
Again, thank you for the quick ID.
David Weintraub

Hi again David,
North America also has Oil Beetles that are active in the fall.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Black insect with large abdomen
Geographic location of the bug:  Atlanta GA
Date: 11/04/2017
Time: 03:59 PM EDT
I found this fella on my gravel drive in ATL today, which is a warm (75) day in November. I have never seen anything like it.
Its antennae are quite segmented and the abdomen huge. About one inch in total length. Can you tell me what it is? It was alive but slow.
How you want your letter signed:  A little country in the middle of the city

Oil Beetle

This Blister Beetle in the genus Meloe is commonly called a Oil Beetle.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  big black bug
Geographic location of the bug:  Taunton, MA
Date: 10/24/2017
Time: 04:12 PM EDT
There was a small group of these bugs in the lawn – they seemed to be eating the leaves
How you want your letter signed:  Michele Restino

Oil Beetles

Dear Michele,
These Blister Beetles in the genus
Meloe are commonly called Oil Beetles.  We expect you might be able to witness mating activity if you are vigilant. 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Help scary bug
Geographic location of the bug:  Michigan
Date: 10/10/2017
Time: 08:33 PM EDT
Please let me know what kind of bug this is
How you want your letter signed:  Charlee

Oil Beetle

Dear Charlee,
We just posted another image from Michigan of an Oil Beetle.  According to BugGuide:  “the common name refers to the habit of exuding yellowish oily liquid from the joints when molested” which your image illustrates. 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Black iridescent possum beetlely bug
Geographic location of the bug:  Central Michigan
Date: 10/10/2017
Time: 05:56 PM EDT
My cat found this one.  If you mess with it, it plays possum. The pictures don’t do the iridescence justice- it’s a subtle blue.
How you want your letter signed:  Curious in MI

Oil Beetle

Dear Curious in MI,
This is a Blister Beetle in the genus
Meloe, commonly called an Oil Beetle.  According to BugGuide:  “the common name refers to the habit of exuding yellowish oily liquid from the joints when molested” but we have always speculated that Oil Beetle might be a reference to the iridescence you noticed, because it does look like a thin layer of oil on the surface of water.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  I’ve been looking for a while, can figure this out
Geographic location of the bug:  Chelsea Michigan
Date: 09/27/2017
Time: 11:51 PM EDT
Found in sandy soil about 30 yards from a medium sized lake. A white pine forest surrounds this lake with the occasional clearing. I figure this is a queen of some sort, I’ve been looking around myself for a while. I can’t find a match.
How you want your letter signed:  Tyler

Oil Beetle

Dear Tyler,
We have received several requests in the past few days to identify Oil Beetles in the genus
Meloe, but your image is by far the best, hence it is the only one we are posting to our site. 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination