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Blister Beetle

One of many beetles in the blister beetle family. The beetles are part of the Meloidae family, they are called blister beetles for a good reason.

Blister Beetle

One of many beetles in the blister beetle family. The beetle is part of the Meloidae family, they are called blister beetles for a good reason.

Today, I walked the UWGB Arboretum trails and I stumbled onto a blister beetle.  I heard parts of Wisconsin were experiencing visits from these nasty little critters, although I had never seen one. That changed today.  I was able to capture one pretty decent photo of the beetle before it hid under the plant leaves.


Why are They Called Blister Beetles?

You more than likely guessed how they got their name by now?,

The beetle releases a secretion as a defense mechanism, the secretion causes blisters on animals and humans. There are about 7,500 species that are known worldwide as a blister beetle. Each looks differently.


How Does a Human Come in Contact?

Striped beetle called a blister beetle.  Causes blisters on skin when you come in contact them them.
Striped variety on wildflower.

When heading through fields some people come into contact with them and have no idea why they are blistered later in the day. 

It can, and does happen that the insects feel threatened. Thus leaving you blistered a few hours later.


Livestock Word of Caution

As a word of caution, sometimes, hay, and crops can be extremely toxic to horses and cattle that have an infestation with this or any additional blister beetle family member. There are cases in the Midwest of harvested feed crops, that crushed beetles have released the agent into the food source.

The toxin has caused blistering on horse and cattle mouths, and inside the intestinal tract. An extreme number of the beetles can be fatal to livestock.


Interesting little bugger, huh?.  One that isn’t always a garden pest.  But, certainly can be found in vegetable and flower gardens too.

Never know what critters I’ll run into on my walks with wildlife.


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