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.
Today I walked the Cofrin 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 guessed it, I am sure! The beetles release a secretion as a defense mechanism, the secretion causes blisters on animals and humans.
How Does a Human Come in Contact?
When heading through fields some people come into contact with them and have no idea why they are blistered. It can, and does happen that the insects felt threatened. Thus leaving you blistered a little 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 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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