spooky bug
Found this menacing looking bug at our front door in southern Vermont. The head was turning side to side, with the pinchers (?) open. It was about 1 1/2″ long. Attached are a few pictures.
Jason Chastain

Hi Jason,
You have some good reason to call the Oil Beetle spooky. Another common name is Short Winged Blister Beetle, Meloe angusticollis. I believe you may have exaggerated the size, but the beetle is found in Southern Canada and the Northern United States. It is usually found in crop fields and meadows where it eats herbaceous foliage being particularly fond of potatoes. If disturbed, the beetle feigns death by falling on its side. The leg joints exude droplets of liquid that cause blisters.

2 Responses to Oil Beetle

  1. Briana says:

    I just sent in a question about this beetle. Now I don’t have to wait for the answer I pretty much knew – it is not a good idea for my little dog to eat these bugs. I have them in my yard this year and have never seen them before. I live in Olney, MD, so not too far from Frederick.

    Is this a new resident in the state? Remember the invasion of the stink bugs several years ago? My little dog at those too.

  2. Cliff Autrey says:

    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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