Oil Beetle

Big green bug
Location: Auburn, NJ
March 19, 2011 7:27 am
I left a bucket by my flower garden overnight. It’s crocus blooming time here in Salem County, NJ This guy was in the bottom next day when I went out.
I’ve assumed itis a beetle, just by size. Though his head is so big, like a giant ant. Has a sort of metallic green/grey/blue color, though some ashes I’d hauled in same bucket gave him a dusting of white specks.
I have no clue. Have been browsing through guides all morning, but nothing quite matches up. And though I have lived here all my life, never saw one quite like him before.
Any ideas? Appreciate your help.
Signature: Val

Oil Beetle

Hi Val,
This is a Blister Beetle in the genus
Meloe, a group collectively called Oil Beetles.  They should be handled with caution as they might cause blistering to the skin.

Wow, that was fast!  Thank you so much. No, I wasn’t going to dare touch it directly, not knowing what it was, regardless. I looked at the link you sent and see clearly what I’d missed in my browsing this morning.  Wondering now if this population is part of the bee decline in recent years?  I see more wild than honey bees now than previously, though they seem to be making a gradual comeback.
Pleased me to see Carolus Linneaus mentioned as being the first to describe it correctly back in 1758.  His student, Peter Kalm actually lived nearby here, in Swedesboro for awhile, sent many native specimens over to Linnaeus in Sweden.  I’ll pass this link along to my friends at the Swedish Colonial Society.  Maybe they’d consider it as a mascot?  Ok, just kidding, but still, very cool.
I also shared the link to your site on facebook .  You’re providing a great service for those of us who may lack the scientific background, but with digital photography, and access to the web, coupled with plenty of curiosity ….could be I’ll be back again.
Thanks again,

1 thought on “Oil Beetle”

  1. York, SC 21 Nov 2017
    This is my first time seeing this species.
    I just found two of these, a large “swollen” one and smaller one about 1/8th the large one’s size trying to make little Oil Beetles. Small one obviously the male per my curiosity. I tossed them up onto my porch and noted an oily residue where they landed; then later on the paper towel I used to transport them to my workshop. They were acting as if they were dead, although they were crawling…Big Mama leading…when found. In my workshop I used tweezers to lift the flap on the back and found no wings. The large one, female I presume, was ~1.5″ long and nearly 1/2″ in diameter. She was the one exuding “oil.” Quite a few drops on the paper towel I kept them on.
    They both “played dead” until I used the tweezers to move the female around and tweezed one antenna…she came to life vigorously. Ditto the male. Have them in a glass jar and the male is attempting to mount the female again.
    Interestingly enough, I was in Swedesboro, NJ recently, but don’t think these hitched a ride…these were found outside.


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