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

Subject:  Unknown beetle
Geographic location of the bug:  Lostwood national wildlife refuge North west North Dakota
Date: 07/13/2019
Time: 05:23 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman :  Unable to find this beetle in any North Dakota books.
How you want your letter signed:  Thank you

Nuttail’s Blister Beetle

This is a Blister Beetle in the family Meloidae, and based on this BugGuide image, it appears to be Nuttail’s Blister Beetle.  According to BugGuide:  “Adults feed on legumes, other forbs.”

Nuttail’s Blister Beetle

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

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!
Jamien
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Is this an invasive bug?
Geographic location of the bug:  Jay Vermont
Date: 06/15/2019
Time: 10:43 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Found today Jun 15, 2019 in short grass along driveway, close to a wooded area of Vermont.
How you want your letter signed:  Heather

Oil Beetle

Dear Heather,
This is an Oil Beetle in the genus Meloe, and it is native, not invasive.

Thanks so much!  This is our new favorite bug.  He did squirt some yellow stuff on my garden tool and I assumed it was hurt so just put it back where I found it.  Awesome.
Heather

Hi again Heather,
We would advise you to handle Oil Beetles as well as other Blister Beetles in the family Meloidae with caution 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.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Photos of Desert Spider Beetle
Geographic location of the bug:  Albuquerque New Mexico
Date: 06/13/2019
Time: 10:58 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Just wanted to share these good images of the Desert Spider Beetle.
How you want your letter signed:  Chris Krupar

Desert Spider Beetle

Dear Chris,
Thanks for submitting your images of a Desert Spider Beetle.  According to BugGuide, the species found in New Mexico is
Cysteodemus wislizeni.

Desert Spider Beetle

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  What is this
Geographic location of the bug:  Carlsbad, NM
Date: 05/26/2019
Time: 11:30 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  It flew away shortly after the photo.
How you want your letter signed:  Brent Griffith

Blister Beetle

Dear Brent,
This is a Blister Beetle in the genus
Pyrata, but it does not appear to be the similar looking Charlie Brown Blister Beetle.  According to BugGuide:  “27 spp. in our area.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Green blister bug?
Geographic location of the bug:  Isle of Wight, UK
Date: 05/25/2019
Time: 02:17 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi, found this bug near Orchard Bay on the Isle of Wight in England. From googling it looks like a green blister bug, but they don’t seem like they’re in the UK?
How you want your letter signed:  Jack

Spanish Fly and Soft Winged Flower Beetle

Dear Jack,
This is a very exciting posting for us.  We believe your Blister Beetle is the true Spanish Fly,
Lytta vesicatoria, which is pictured on UK Beetle Recording with some southern sightings including the Isle of Wight.  According to NBN Atlas:  “Spanish fly is an emerald-green beetle, Lytta vesicatoria, in the blister beetle family (Meloidae). It and other such species were used in preparations offered by traditional apothecaries, often referred to as Cantharides or Spanish fly. The insect is the source of the terpenoid cantharidin, a toxic blistering agent once used as an aphrodisiac.”  GBIF has an interesting article.  We are very curious about the smaller beetle in your image, which though the coloration is the same, appears to be a different species.

Hi Daniel,
Thanks for getting back and helping identify the species in the photo, the links you included are interesting. There were more than just those 2, there were 10-15 of the smaller ones, all on the same flowers as in the picture. Took a photo of that one as it was the biggest by far, probably about 2 inches.
I didn’t think much of the size difference and just figured it was age/maturity, but am also intrigued having now looked at the life cycle of a beetle? Am I right in thinking they’d emerge from the pupa at their fully grown size?
Many Thanks,
Jack

Hi again Jack,
When insects including Beetles emerge from the pupa, they are fully grown.  Smaller individuals probably did not feed as well during the larval stage, hence the smaller size.
Update:  June 20, 2019
Thanks to a comment from Jim, we now know that the smaller beetle is a Soft Winged Flower Beetle in the family Dasyticidae:  Psilothrix viridicoeruleus.  There are images on UK Beetle Recording.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination