Author photo

By Marko Manoukian
P. C. Extension Agent 

Blister Beetles found in Phillips County


Photo of gray blister beetles (Epicauta musculata) taken under a microscope.

Blister beetles have been confirmed in Phillips County.

The beetles have many colors, but the same shape. They can be found with stripes, black and gray (see photo). The beetles get their name by exuding a toxic substance called cantharidin. It causes irritations to your hands if you crush one. If horses eat several that were in hay before harvesting, they may receive a toxic dose. Other livestock seem to have a tolerance.

They feed on flowers including alfalfa blossoms. An insecticide treatment that kills the beetles and allows them to fall to the soil in the field is the best management...

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