Blister beetles are common in southern and eastern areas of the United States (Figure 1). A revision of the genera. Reduce the risk of feeding blister beetles to their horses by understanding some blister beetle basics and by taking the following precautions: If practical, possible grow your own alfalfa so that you can use proper preventive management practices. Cloth garden gloves will not protect you from the toxic irritant that oozes from their bodies. Since animals can die within 72 hours, it is imperative to contact a veterinarian as soon as blister beetle poisoning is suspected. 859-257-4772, Students   /   ). Figure 5. While sometimes considered parasitoids, in general, the meloid larva apparently consumes the immature host along with its provisions, and can often survive on the provisions alone; thus it is not an obligatory parasitoid, but rather a facultative parasitoid, or simply a kleptoparasite. Hemolymph is often exuded copiously by reflexive bleeding when an adult beetle is pressed or rubbed. blister beetle location map. Cantharidin or cantharides (dried, pulverized bodies of adult beetles) was once employed extensively in human and veterinary medicine, primarily as a vesicant and irritant and is still used in the U.S. as the active ingredient in a proprietary wart remover (Epstein and Epstein 1960, Kartal Durmazlar et al, 2009). Recorded in Florida only from the Keys and Dade County. Several species of blister beetles are found in the U.S. Their appearance varies, but most are about 1 to 2.5 cm in length. These two species belong to South and Central American groups and probably reached the continental U.S. from the islands. Dr. Subba Reddy PalliDepartment Chair & State EntomologistS-225 Agricultural Science Center NorthLexington, KY 40546-0091859.257.7450entchair@uky.edu, UK Entomology: Vision, Mission, & Core Values, Nancy Cox, Ph.D. There is variation in average cantharidin content among the species but it has been consistently higher (about 5 mg/beetle) in the striped blister beetle than in the other species (about 0.5 mg/beetle). Adult hosts: Wide variety of plants, including Amaranthaceae (Amaranthus), Solanaceae (Solanum)and Fabaceae (Medicago, alfalfa), and such crops as bean, beet, cotton, potato, and tomato. S123 Ag Science – North In an unfortunate situation, blister beetles have recently been reported in connection with the deaths of over a dozen horses in Mauston, Wisconsin. Cantharides is sometimes specified as the Eurasian Spanishfly, Lytta vesicatoria (Linnaeus). Blister beetles belong to a family of beetles called Meloidae. Blister beetles in alfalfa. They get their name from a caustic chemical they produce called cantharidin. Blister beetle in the genus Epicauta. Blister Beetle, common name for any member of a family of beetles, so called because of the caustic chemical cantharadin that they contain, which can raise blisters on human skin. The family Meloidae, the blister beetles, contains about 2500 species, divided among 120 genera and four subfamilies (Bologna and Pinto 2001). E. cincerea (Forster) - the clematis blister beetle. Most species pass the winter or dry season as coarctate phase larvae, while a few do so as diapausing eggs, triungulin larvae, or adults. Females typically mate and oviposit periodically throughout their adult lives. Eggs are laid in masses in the ground or under stones (Meloinae) or on the food plants of adults (Nemognathinae). Represented in Florida, where it occurs south to Highlands County, by the nominate, eastern race. Pathology of blister beetle (. Digital Media Library, Images: University of Kentucky Entomology, Four species of blister beetles are relatively common throughout the eastern and central states: ashgray (. They pupate during the following summer and emerge as adults. Most poisonings in Florida result from importation of alfalfa hay from western states experiencing grasshopper population outbreaks (Capinera, personal communication). After the Blister Beetle pupates, it makes its way out of the lair. (December 2002). 1979. Figure 1. If you do encounter these beetles in your garden, wear rubber or plastic gloves to remove them from plants. Historically, blister beetles have been most abundant in arid regions of the US where grasshoppers are abundant most every year. These beetles can grow up to a couple of inches long and be very colorful, a nice mix of deep black and bright red-orange. Four species of blister beetles are relatively common throughout the eastern and central states: ashgray (Epicauta fabricii), black (E. pennsylvanica), margined (E. pestifera), and striped (E. vittata). Selander RB. In an unfortunate situation, blister beetles have recently been reported in connection with the deaths of over a dozen horses in Mauston, Wisconsin. If you do encounter these beetles in your garden, wear rubber or plastic gloves to remove them from plants. Blister beetles have long (3/4 to 1-1/4 inch) narrow bodies, broad heads, and antennae that are about 1/3 the length of their entire bodies. The map below showcases (in blue) the states and territories of North America where the Black Blister Beetle may be found (but is not limited to). Adult Epicauta pensylvanica (De Geer), the black blister beetle. Photograph by Lyle J. Buss, University of Florida. In both groups, the body is navicular (boat-shaped) and heavily sclerotized and there is a definite pattern of setation. Striped blister beetles, for example, are believed to do this during their 6 th instar. Please check with your local county agent or regulatory official before using any pesticide mentioned in this publication. Some of them are more colorful than others and all of them have a nasty chemical in their blood. 1991. They can give you or your pet a nasty burn, so take care if you're growing alfalfa or potatoes, two of their favorite plants to hang out on. Larval development is hypermetamorphic, with four distinct phases. The blisters soon diminished on their own. Gerardia (Scrophulariaceae). Also taken on Amaranthus, and Cynachum nigrum (L.). Accidentally crushing a beetle against the skin can result in a painful blister, the source of the insect’s common name. While uncomfortable, no medical treatment was implemented and the blisters soon diminished on their own. In some cases, symptoms of blister beetle poisoning have appeared within 4 to 6 hours of ingestion. Ray AC, Tamulinas SH, Reagor JC. Adult margined blister beetle, Epicauta funebris Horn. N. punctulata LeConte - Bahama and Cayman islands, Cuba, Jamaica, and the southeastern U.S. Blister Beetle Love and Defense Like many animals, you are likely to see different shapes, sizes, and colors of blister beetles. Figure 7. The blister beetle congregates in swarms to feed on alfalfa fields during mating, which is normally in mid- to late summer. Insects in the City, Scaramuzza LC. There is an extensive literature dealing with its reputed aphrodisiacal properties and numerous reports of human poisonings, both accidental and deliberate. The chemical substance from the blister beetle can bring certain reaction to your skin. The adult beetles seem to invade in swarms and devour the foliage of host plants. Entomology Volume 12. They have narrow and elongated bodies which can be striped, brown, black or metallic green in color. Cantharidin treatment of digital and periungual warts. Sometimes, blister beetles also occur in Canada and North Carolina, particularly in agricultural field. In sufficient quantity, the cantharidin in the bodies of living or dead blister beetles can be toxic, and in some cases lethal, to horses, sheep, and cattle. Adult hosts: Helenium and other Asteraceae. Species of Epicauta, particularly the margined blister beetle, E. funebris, and the striped blister beetle, E. vittata, often damage alfalfa, beet, potato, tomato, and other crops by defoliation. Behavior, Diet & Habits Cantharidin. Nemognatha nemorensis Hentz - North Florida, south to Pinellas and Brevard counties. Alfalfa attracts grasshoppers; grasshoppers attract blister beetles. Eastern U.S., west to from Texas, Oklahoma and Missouri, north to Illinois. Systematic Entomology 26: 33-72. A list of the beetles of South Carolina. Larvae jump onto a passing bee, stowaway to the bee's lair, and then feed on bee eggs and bee larvae inside. Buy first cutting hay. Find information on blister beetle bites dermatitis and rash symptoms. False blister beetles, Coleoptera: Oedemeridae, Adams CL, Selander RB. Blister beetle, she says, is not something she's ever felt the need to watch for. The small, active larvae that hatch from these eggs crawl over the soil surface entering cracks in search for grasshopper egg pods which are deposited in the soil. Larvae of most genera enter the nests of wild bees, where they consume both immature bees and the provisions of one or more cells. Figure 9. Striped blister beetles have an orange head with two oval markings that are separated by an orange line. Of the Florida species, Nemognatha punctulata LeConte (misidentified as Zonitis vittigera (LeConte)) has been found in a nest of a Megachile sp. When it comes to the blister beetle diet, there’s not a lot that they won’t eat in your garden. Twelve species are more or less widely distributed in the central and/or eastern states. Not common. Blister beetle: A blister beetle is one of a number of beetles that have historically been used in dried or powdered form for medicinal purposes to raise blisters on the skin. Blister beetles are not active when the first cutting is made in Kentucky; harvest at the late bud stage or when the first flowers open for high quality hay for horses. Blister Beetle Once you see these, you'll never forget them - if you touch them you'll learn first hand why they're called Blister Beetles. Fluids are released when the beetle is crushed or handled roughly. Pesticide recommendations in this publication are registered for use in Kentucky, USA ONLY! Blister beetles belong to a group of insects with a very interesting and sordid past with people. These beetles are mid to late summer insects, active in mid-July and early August which translates to the third or fourth cutting. Female Blister beetles will have less cantharidin concentration in their bodies than male Blister beetles. (17 February 2017), Werner FG. Each blister bug is of a particular species; for example, Epicuata vittata. Knowing where your hay is coming from along with close inspection of the hay this time of year in areas that harbor this insect are two ways to help prevent against this potentially lethal condition. A key to Epicauta species is in Pinto (1991). Figure 13. Infestations often occur during or just following a grasshopper outbreak. Arnett Jr RH. In some species that prey on bees the FG larva uses only a single cell, while in others it digs into nearby cells and devours their contents. E. sanguinicollis (LeConte) - Known only from South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. In general, summaries of food plants do not pertain exclusively to Florida. Blister beetle Lytta stygica Blister beetle - Pyrota Variations of blister beetles: Blister Beetle - InsectIdentification.org. Foliar damage to alfalfa usually occurs in midsummer when fields may host large aggregations that can damage blossoms and leaves. Evidence for a third type of larval prey in blister beetles (Coleoptera: Meloidae). Currently, more than seventy-thousand five-hundred bugs species are found in America. After finding the eggmass, blister beetle larvae become immobile and spend the rest of their developmental time as legless grubs. They're native to the eastern US as well as parts of Europe, Africa, and Asia and range in size from 1 to 2.5 cm. Blister beetle dermatitis causes a localized blister or welt. Eastern U.S., west to Texas and South Dakota and north to Massachusetts. South Carolina Agricultural Experiment Station Technical Bulletin 1033: 1-124. Blister beetle, (family Meloidae), any of approximately 2,500 species of beetles (insect order Coleoptera) that secrete an irritating substance, cantharidin, which is collected mainly from Mylabris and the European species Lytta vesicatoria, commonly called Spanish fly.Cantharidin is used medically as a topical skin irritant to remove warts. However, they can even live up to a year or … Pesticide recommendations in this publication are registered for use in Kentucky, USA ONLY! Lifecycle of the Blister Beetle. Tetraonyx quadrimaculata (Fabricius) - Trinidad, Lesser Antilles, Puerto Rico, Hispañola, and Photograph by James Castner, University of Florida. The small, active larvae that hatch from these eggs crawl over the soil surface entering cracks in search for grasshopper egg pods which are deposited in the soil. Figure 10. A revision of the genus. Lexington, KY 40546-0091 Departments & Units   /   Figure 3. The thorax is narrower than the head. Death may occur suddenly without warning. Photograph by James Castner, University of Florida. Journal of Dermatological Treatment 20: 114-119. Adult Blister Beetles can be found on apple trees and other similar plants. Adult blister beetles vary in size and color but are recognized by the elongated, narrow, cylindrical, and soft bodies. The adults sometime… Extension   /   Adult Nemognatha nemorensis Hentz, a blister beetle. MacKay RJ, Wollenman P. 1981. Adult hosts: Recorded on Clematis in all regions; and Amaranthus, alfalfa, Tribulas and tomato in Oklahoma and Arkansas. CAUTION! The blistering agent is cantharidin, an odorless terpene (exo-1,2-cis-dimethyl-3,6-ep- oxyhexahydro-phthalic anhydride) occurring elsewhere only in beetles of the family Oedemeridae (Arnett 2008). Blister beetles have soft bodies and their size ranges from 1 to 2.5 cm in length. They're native to the eastern US as well as parts of Europe, Africa, and Asia and range in size from 1 to 2.5 cm. Adult hosts: Clematis spp. Blister beetles are members of a family of plant-feeding insects (Meloidae) that contain cantharidin, a toxic defensive chemical that protects them from predators. This can result in harmful numbers of the beetles in baled hay. New!! Practice good broadleaf weed management. This species goes by the scientific name of Lytta magister but has also been called the “master blister beetle,” most likely in honor of its large size. The larvae of blister beetles climb onto bees and hitch a ride to the bees’ nests where they proceed to eat the eggs and stored food. 1945. Convolvulaceae (Ipomoea) and Leguminosae (Bradburya, Coelosia) in the U.S. and these families and Bignoniaceae, Euphorbiaceae, and Verbenaceae in the West Indies. Horses may be ill for hours to (March 2006). Has been taken in large numbers at lights. Adult Epicauta stigosa (Gyllenhal), a blister beetle. Recorded cantharidin content of adult beetles (by dry weight) ranges from less than 1% to a high of 5.4%. April-June. March-Jul. Blister beetles will find their way back to the plant in no time if you don’t make sure that they will find themselves in the soapy water. The blister beetle insects can usually be found in the Midwest & Southwest parts of United States. After finding an egg mass, blister beetle larvae become immobile and spend the rest of their developmental time as legless grubs. 1960. Lytta polita Say - the bronze blister beetle. Kartal Durmazlar SP, Atacan D, Eskioglu F. 2009. In at least some species, females receive large quantities of cantharidin from males during copulation. Florida Veterinary Journal 10: 11-13. Adult hosts: recorded from grass. Of the species that occur in Oklahoma, the most common is the striped blister beetle (Epicauta occidentalis).This beetle has several black and orange stripes along the back (Figure 2). However, except for first instar larvae (triungulins) frequenting flowers or clinging to adult bees, larval blister beetles are seldom seen. Adult Nemognatha punctulata LeConte, a blister beetle. 1956. When crushed, the beetle can literally bleed the chemical from its joints, and skin contact with it can result in blisters. April-May. Rare. Figure 4. P. mutata (Gemminger) - Northern Florida, including the panhandle, south to Polk County. Blister beetles are frequently confused with many similar-looking beetles such as tamarisk leaf beetles, southern corn rootworms, and caterpillar hunter beetles (Figure 9). Cases of fatal poisonings of valuable horses by ingestion of blister beetles trapped in baled alfalfa hay (Kinney et al. Philanthropy & Alumni 1981. Figure 18. Blister Beetle Bite – Blister beetle is a kind of insect that belongs to the Meloidae family.This insect is known for its Cantharidin secretion, which is normally a chemical produced by male bugs. Straddle cut swaths to avoid crushing beetles with tractor tires. Catholic University Press, Washington, D.C. 1112 pp. The severity of the reaction, ranging from temporary poisoning, to reduced digestive ability, to death, depends upon the amount of cantharidin ingested and the size and health of the animal. Blister beetles usually feed in swarms and move about a great deal. Adult Epicauta vittata (Fabricius), the striped blister beetle. Blister beetles. Cantharidin treatment for recalcitrant facial flat warts: A preliminary study. Immature stages of blister beetles often go unnoticed. The use of some products may not be legal in your state or country. Kinney KK, Peairs FB, Swinker AM. Taken internally or absorbed through the skin, cantharidin is highly toxic to mammals. 182 pp. Accidentally crushing a beetle against the skin can result in a painful blister, the source of the insect’s common name. Cicuta, Daucus, Eryngium, and several other Umbelliferae. Several Asteraceae and Gerardia (Scrophulariaceae). At lights. Rarely, a larva pupates directly from the C phase. They can give you or your pet a nasty burn, so take care if you're growing alfalfa or potatoes, two of their favorite plants to hang out on. BLISTER BEETLE!! General handling of adults seldom results in blistering unless the hemolymph contacts the relatively thin skin between the fingers. Figure 8. Cloth garden gloves will not protect you from the toxic irritant that oozes from their bodies. Blister beetle larvae only eat grasshopper eggs, but you can find adult blister beetles munching on flowers like amaranth, dandelions, sunflowers, chrysanthemums, alfalfa and acacia, in addition to their preferred source of grasshoppers. Adults, however, can be observed on vegetation. They gather in groups, so large numbers can occur in concentrated clusters in a field. Unfortunately, blister beetles can end up in hay fed to horses, which is why traditional recommendations for blister beetle management are focused on hay and potentially infested hay fields. Photograph by Sean McCann. The welt may look like a raised, red patch of skin, whereas the blister produces a pocket of fluid and pus. Blister beetles have long (3/4 to 1-1/4 inch) narrow bodies, broad heads, and antennae that are about 1/3 the length of their entire bodies. ENTFACT-102: Blister Beetles  |  Download PDF. Blister beetles are plant-eating insects belonging to the beetle family Meloidae. Insects are typically drawn to areas by available food supply, weather, environmental factors, water supply, mating patterns etc... and are quite territorial. › Blister Beetle Map › Blister Beetle Identification › Blister Beetles In Hay. The larvae are parasites to solitary bees like the Augochlora Sweat Bee. and Alachua counties to Hillsborough County. Research is available to indicate the amount of cantharidin levels present in common species, as well as the estimated number of beetles necessary to provide a lethal dose to horses (Kinney et al. Damage: The larvae of the blister beetles destroys grasshopper egg pods. Several of the Florida blister beetles feed on cultivated plants. Epicauta maklini (blister beetle) Index. These beetles have fascinating life cycle. Zonitis cribricollis (LeConte) - Widely distributed in Florida, south to Dade County Achillea, Coreopsis, Helianthus, and Rudbeckia (Asteraceae). Cirsium and Tetraognotheca (Asteraceae). 2001. Since ingestion of these beetles can be fatal, some have warning colours to deter potential predators. E. excavatifrons Maydell - Coastal Mississippi and Alabama, and south in Florida to Marion County. in Cuba (Scaramuzza 1938) and several members of the genus Epicauta have been associated with the eggpods of Melanoplus spp. Body length generally ranges between 3/4 and 2 cm in the Florida species. As well, you can spray them spinosad, which not only is safe but effective considerably. Blister beetle in the genus Epicauta. on a trail near Pinkham Notch. Bidens and "thistle" (Asteraceae). Florida has 26 species, only a small fraction of the total number in the U.S., but nearly three times that of the West Indies (Selander and Bouseman 1960). Part I - Northern Coastal Plain. However, alfalfa is not commonly grown in Florida and blister beetles rarely are abundant. August-October. Some are brightly colored with yellow or orange, while others are a dull gray. 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