Blister Beetles have decimated this year’s tomato plants. One day the tomatoes plants were growing beautifully, green with healthy flowers, the next day Blister Beetles chewed their way over the plants, eating every leaf and flower on the plant, decimating this year’s tomato crop.
You can use pesticides to kill the Blister Beetle if you do, read the directions so you know when you can pick and eat the fruit safely.
An organic-Green- way to rid yourself of Blister Beetles :
· Wear gloves when picking them off plants – drop the beetles in soapy water
* Remember that the dead bugs are still toxic!
· Spay with kaolin clay
· Remove weeds and allow plants to leave a space between each plant
· Run screaming -lol
Use gloves if you want to pick off the beetles. USE GLOVES! Do not touch the beetles with bare skin. Drown them in a bucket of water
Blister Beetles, in this Hampshire garden, are one-half inch long with large, charcoal grey, stripped abdomens. They resemble an alien life form with their pea shaped heads and long black antenna, almost comical if it weren’t for the fact that they can eat nonstop. Markings can vary.
Here are the three most common:
· Black Blister Beetle
· Spotted Blister Beetle
· Threestripped Blister Beetle.
Their elongated abdomens are bottom heavy. With a small midsection making them look like they have a belt or a tight-collared shirt.
Blister beetles lay their eggs in the soil. When the larva hatches, they search out a grasshopper eggs and start munching. Blister Beetles are poisonous to eat so other insects stay away from them. Have you ever seen a Blister Beetle become someones meal?
The grubs can live underground in a dormant state for up to two years. When they wake up, they become pupate and emerge as adults in late spring early summer.
“Blister beetles produce cantharidin, which is toxic to people and animals. For centuries, cantharidin was prescribed as a cure for a variety of ailments. Spanishfly or cantharis, a preparation of dried meloid beetles, was thought to cure gout, carbuncles, rheumatism and many other medical disorders. The barbarisms practiced upon the American people during the nineteenth century by the application of cantharis beetles for all sorts of ailments, in addition to treating the misery endured by those who suffered in the Revolutionary War (Metcalf, 1962).” ~ Chemweb.calpoly.edu
Blister beetles are particularly dangerous to horses. When Blister Beetles are inadvertently, chopped and rolled up into hay and alfalfa, they can be deadly to ingest by livestock, especially horses. This is due to the concentrated amounts of Cantharides.
Warning this bug is poisonous do not eat it or touch it!
“The lethal dosage for man is about .03 grams.”~
Do not handle Blister Beetles, they will cause blisters on the skin, this is a reaction to cantharides. Cantharides can vary by fifty percent depending on the Blister Beetle.
“Hippocrates, Celsus and Pliny mention the drug. The Roman empress Livia (58 B.C.-A.D. 29) slipped it into the food of other members of the imperial family to stimulate them into committing sexual indiscretions that could later be used against them (Metcalf, 1962).”~Chemweb.calpoly.edu
Organic control: Spray kaolin clay in a mixture of manure compost tea, molasses, and plant oil products.~ Dirt Doctor
What Is Kaolin Clay
Within those two days, the Blister Beetles ate then disappeared, like my tomato plants….