Oil Beetle

Queen Ant Like Insect
Sun, Mar 29, 2009 at 9:27 PM
I live in the mountains of West Virginia and we see all sorts of strange bugs here. I found this insect crawling through my kitchen about a week ago. I have been trying to do some research to find out what it is, to no avail. It looks ant-like in nature. Perhaps a wingless queen? As you can see, it is black in color, and about 3/4 an inch long. After I took some photos, I carefully released it back into the wild.
Johnsons
West Virginia

Oil Beetle
Oil Beetle

Dear Johnsons,
This is an Oil Beetle in the genus Meloe, one of the Blister Beetles.  You are fortunate you did not handle the beetle.  The name Oil Beetle originates with the beetle’s habit of secreting hemolymph or blood from its joints when it is threatened.  The hemolymph contains cantharidin, a substance that can cause blistering of the skin.  You can read more about Oil Beetles on BugGuide.

Photo of author

bugman

BugMan aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. WhatsThatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

Leave a Comment