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Beetle - Blister

Black blister beetle, Epicauta pennsylvanica


COMMON NAMES:  Black Blister Beetle, Margined Blister Beetle, Silver Blister Beetle, Spotted Blister Beetle, Striped Blister Beetle

SCIENTIFIC NAME:  Order Coleoptera, family Meloidae, Epicauta spp.

SIZE:  Adult 1/2" - 1"

IDENTIFICATION:  Adult beetles are long and slender head is wider than the neck. They have black or yellow stripes; some are solid gray in color, others blue, purple, green, or brown. These beetles are usually hard to see.

BIOLOGY AND LIFE CYCLE:  Complete metamorphosis. Cylindrical eggs laid in the soil in the summer. Larvae vary in appearance with each instar. Younger instars are lighter in color. One generation per year. Overwinter as larvae in the soil.

HABITAT:  Many plants, especially food crops. Lower leaves of tomato and potato plants. Feeding habits: Larvae of some species like to eat grasshopper eggs. Adults eat various plant leaves. Especially a problem on vegetable plants and in alfalfa hay. Like foliage and fruits. Larvae are predaceous.

ORGANIC CONTROL:  Spray SurroundWP to repel. Can be killed with neem and plant oil products like Essential-One and Essentria.

INSIGHT:  All blister beetles produce an irritating substance called cantharidin, which can blister the skin. Blister beetle larvae will eat grasshopper eggs. 


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