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

Subject:  Beetle
Geographic location of the bug:  Southern California
Date: 03/25/2019
Time: 12:00 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I work as security at a school in 29 palms California and I saw this interesting beetle and tried to find out what it was but couldn’t. So here’s some pictures you tell me what it is. I don’t know
How you want your letter signed:  Clint Marshall

Master Blister Beetle

Dear Clint,
Thanks for writing back to us to inquire on the status of your identification request.  We went back through unanswered mail and located your stunning images of a Master Blister Beetle.  We posted our first images last week of the magnificent Master Blister Beetle, though in fact your images were submitted more than two weeks earlier.  Please excuse our lag time in responding.

Master Blister Beetle

Not a problem. This is the first time I have ever seen one of these in my 40 years plus living in 29 Palms. Thanks for replying. You can do what you want with the images.
Clint
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  California Spring Beetle
Geographic location of the bug:  California, desert
Date: 04/14/2019
Time: 09:23 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello! I have found a beetle in the desert munching on a normal grass weed. I tried to search online for beetles native to california, but have not found anything like it. Is it foreign? Or diseased? Thank you for helping me identify this beetle, I am so curious to find what it is!
How you want your letter signed:  Mimi

Desert Spider Beetle

Dear Mimi,
Spring vegetation growth in the arid deserts of California, Arizona and Nevada bring out the diversity in the Blister Beetle family Meloidae.  This Desert Spider Beetle is in the genus
Cysteodemus.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Big black bug!
Geographic location of the bug:  Northeast Pennsylvania
Date: 04/11/2019
Time: 08:45 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello! I found this while doing yard cleanup in one of my flower beds, under mostly dried grasses, and some damp leaves. It is about an inch to an inch & a half long & Was relocated to a far corner of the yard. Any idea what this is?
How you want your letter signed:  Knitwit in the poconos

Oil Beetle

Dear Knitwit in the poconos,
This is a Blister Beetle in the genus
Meloe, commonly called an Oil Beetle.  Blister Beetles should be handled with caution as some species are capable of secreting a compound known as cantharadin that can cause blistering in sensitive individuals.

Wow! Thank you for the quick reply and the great info!
~pj~

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  What is this thing!?
Geographic location of the bug:  29 Palms, CA
Date: 04/08/2019
Time: 10:03 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Saw several of these critters crossing the dirt path as I was walking my dog. Took a couple shots and had on on the tip of my walking stick, hunched up with it’s butt angled down like it was stinging, and the front legs up looking poised for combat. Couldn’t get a shot of it like that since i was holding the stick and dog and camera and didn’t want to let the dog go in case they were stinging bugs…I at first thought they were velvet ants but nope…can’t find anything that looks like it online. they were about 1.5 to 2 inches in length…when i stopped to take pictures they all altered their path and came at me…what are they??
How you want your letter signed:  thanks, John Roush

Master Blister Beetle

Dear Josh,
This is a Master Blister Beetle, and though it does not sting, it does possess aposomatic or warning colors along with many Blister Beetles in the family Meloidae.  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.”  We get several images of Master Blister Beetles from southern California and Arizona each April.  Just last week Daniel went to Joshua Tree National Park and he hoped to encounter some Blister Beetles, but alas, he returned without a single sighting.

Master Blister Beetle

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Blister Beetle?
Geographic location of the bug:  Potholes State Park, Grant County, WA
Date: 09/06/2018
Time: 09:21 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Spotted several unusual beetles on vegetation in the process of conducting a cultural resource technical visit.  While not an entymologist, some google research suggests that the beetles are Lytta magister (also known as the desert blister beetle or master blister beetle). If so, they seem a little out of their defined range and season; as they are reportedly out in the spring. I see that someone in WA came across one in 2011 http://myhorseforum.com/threads/blister-beetles.152491/page-2
Invasive species? Climate change?
How you want your letter signed:  Mr.? not sure what is meant by this question

Lytta vulnerata mating

Dear Mr,
We would have also concluded that these appear to be Master Blister Beetles, but additional research on BugGuide led to images of the closely related
Lytta vulnerata which is reported from Washington.  We cannot distinguish any appreciable differences in their appearance, so we are basing the identification solely on the reported range of the species.  That research also led us to a sighting on our own site that should also be corrected.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Black and yellow bug
Geographic location of the bug:  NE Oklahoma
Date: 08/31/2018
Time: 08:09 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hey bugman-
Tgaese are invading myhome. They are everywhere – walls, ceilings counter tops and even floor.  It hasn’t bitten or stung any one. . . Yet.
How you want your letter signed:  Cyndiluwho

Striped Blister Beetle

Dear Cyndiluwho,
This is a Striped Blister Beetle,
Epicauta vittata, and according to BugGuide: “Feeds on variety of plants, especially Solanaceae (e.g., potatoes, tomatoes), also soybeans, other crops. Pigweed, Amaranthus species, not a crop plant, is also fed upon extensively.” This is an outdoor species that occasionally enters homes accidentally, so we don’t know why you are finding so many indoors.  According to Featured Creatures:  “The adults are most active during the morning and late afternoon, seeking shelter from the sun at mid-day. In particularly hot, arid climates they remain inactive during the day, confining their activity to the evening hours.”  That site also notes:  “Striped blister beetle is one of the most damaging of the blister beetles to vegetable crops in areas where it occurs. This is due to its feeding preferences, which include several common crops and greater preference for foliage than some other species; its propensity to feed on fruits of solanaceous plants; its relatively large size and voracious appetite; its strong tendency to aggregate into large mating and feeding swarms; and its high degree of dispersiveness, which can result in sudden appearance of large swarms of beetles. … The damage caused by Epicauta spp. blister beetles is offset, at least during periods of relatively low beetle density, by the predatory behavior of blister beetle larvae. Epicauta spp. larvae feed on the eggs of grasshoppers, including many crop-damaging Melanoplus spp. During periods of grasshopper abundance the number of blister beetles tends to increase substantially.”  Blister Beetles should be handled with caution since some species are capable of secreting a compound, cantharidin, that is known to cause blistering in sensitive individuals.  We have selected your submission as our Bug of the Month for September 2018.

Striped Blister Beetle

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination