- 1 Where are Blister Beetles found?
- 2 What does a Blister Beetle look like?
- 3 What does a Blister Beetle Bite look like?
- 4 Treatment for Blister Beetle Blisters
- 5 Blister Beetle Control
- 6 Are Blister Beetles all bad?
Blister beetles are insects belonging to family Meloidae. These bugs are well renowned for their secretion of Cantharidin—a chemical secretion that is normally produced by the male bugs. Coming into contact with this chemical substance can trigger certain reactions on your skin. As such, you should seek blister beetle bite treatment if you come into contact with this secretion. In addition to having harmful effects on human beings, this chemical substance also has harmful effects on horses—what is normally referred to as blister beetle poisoning. This poisoning occurs when horses consume hay that is contaminated with blister beetle secretions.
Where are Blister Beetles found?
Currently, there are more than 7500 know species of this bug. The blister beetles mainly occur in the Southwest and Midwest parts of the United States of America. This insect also occurs in agricultural fields of North Carolina and Canada. About 100 of the known blister beetle species currently occur in Texas. In this regard, the commonest of the beetle varieties are the E. occidentalis—which occurs in central and east Texas and E. temexa—which is predominant in south Texas. In most cases, the insect exists within Alfalfa hay—which is commonly used to feed horses.
What does a Blister Beetle look like?
Blister Beetle Identification and Appearance – Basically, blister beetles are soft bodied and range in length, between 1 and 2.5 cm. Again, the adult insects also vary in color, with most beetles having black or gray color. While there are some blister beetles with a bright yellow color and black stripes, the black variety is predominant in the US.
With regard to their general appearance, the beetles have a cylindrical, elongated body. In most cases, the bugs have wing margins that are paler. The beetles may have either yellow or metallic spotting or stripes. The head in these beetles is often wider, when compared to their first thoracic segment. The wings in the insects are pliable and soft.
The immature stages of the blister beetle are hard to detect. As such, the bug may go unnoticed during its early developmental stages. Adult beetles, on the other hand are easy to identify and are mostly seen on vegetation.
What does a Blister Beetle Bite look like?
The male blister beetles produce Cantharidin, which is known to cause skin irritation in human beings. While many people talk of blister beetle bites, these insects do not have stingers. As such, the beetles cannot sting. However, you may expose your skin to this chemical if you crush the bug on your skin.
When your skin comes into contact with this chemical, you develop blister beetle dermatitis — skin irritation and development of blisters on the affected area of the skin. This is commonly referred to as blister beetle blisters and occurs a few hours after skin is exposed to the chemical secretion. Although the blisters may be harmful, they are not long lasting and will not scar or damage skin tissue.
The chemical may also cause conjunctivitis in humans, if it comes into contact with the eyes. After coming into contact with Cantharidin, blister beetle dermatitis is expected to occur on the point of contact after 12 to 36 hours. Initially, you will experience a certain level of irritation on the point of contact.
This is later followed by the development of blisters on the skin, which rarely result in scarring. These blisters are essentially epidermal or skin lesions and will often look like burns caused by Cantharidin.
Again, this chemical is also harmful to animals — especially horses. The blister beetle naturally occurs in Alfalfa hay, which is commonly used to feed horses. If the hay was contaminated with the blister beetle secretion, it could lead to blister beetle poisoning in animals that end up consuming the contaminated hay. For other forms of insect bites read our guides on bed bug bites or what to use on chigger bites.
Treatment for Blister Beetle Blisters
After coming into contact with a chemical substance that is commonly released by male blister beetles, the skin will be irritated after which blisters may form.
While the blisters may not have any long-term effect on the affected skin area, it is advisable to treat them appropriately.
The various options for blister beetle bite treatment are aimed at easing the irritation associated with the lesions as well as fasten their healing.
Basically, there are various blister beetle bite treatment options that may be used to get rid of these lesions.
In the following section, some of the most effective blister beetle treatment options will be discussed.
Home Remedies for Blister Beetle Bite Treatment
Rather than using drugs, which may have side effects, you should consider using the various natural remedies for blister beetle bite treatment. The benefit of the various natural treatment options is that they do not have side effects. Additionally, the remedies are cheap and conveniently available. If the blister has not yet popped, you should avoid popping it and apply the following remedies.
- Baking Soda
Baking soda can help soothe the affected area and help with the healing process and blister beetle bite treatment. To use this remedy, you should mix baking soda in water to foam a paste. You should then apply the paste evenly on the blister. Alternatively, you may dissolve the baking soda in lukewarm water and use the water to wash the affected area.
- Essential Oils
There are several essential oils that may be used for blister beetle bite treatment. The lavender is among the best essential oils to use, in this regard. This is because lavender oil will not cause itching or pain on the bite site. As such, you should apply a drop of this essential oil on the blister. Alternatively, you may also use tea tree, clove, lemon and basil essential oils to achieve the same results. In this case, the various oils should be applied topically on the skin lesion.
- Peppermint Oil
This oil is normally used to ease the pain associated with these blisters. In this regard, you should rub a small amount of peppermint oil on the affected region.
This remedy has been proven to alleviate skin irritation caused by blister beetles.
- Aloe Vera Gel
Aloe vera gel is also an effective natural remedy when dealing with blisters associated with beetle bites. This is mainly because of the anti-inflammatory properties associated with Aloe Vera. Additionally, Aloe Vera also eases pain and reduces redness associated with these blisters. To use this remedy, you should extract the Aloe Vera sap from a fresh Aloe Vera leaf. You should then apply the gel on the bite site. After applying the gel, you may experience some tickling. However, this remedy will eventually relieve you of the irritation and discomfort associated with such bites.
- Onion Poultice
Onion is another effective remedy, with regards to easing the pain and irritation. For effective results with this method, you should cop an Onion Poultice well. You should then cook the chopped onion in a small amount of water until it is tender. You should then wrap the tender onion in flour sack towel, cheesecloth or medical wrap and apply it to the blister. With this remedy, you should experience instant relief from pain after applying the onion to the affected region.
- Green Tea
Green tea features anti-inflammatory properties, which can be very beneficial when dealing with blister beetle bite treatment. As such, you should brew about three tea bags of green tea in boiling water. You should then add a teaspoon of baking soda to the boiling water. Baking soda has antiseptic properties, which can also be beneficial in this case. Allow the solution to cool down before soaking the blister in it. You may also soak the blister in warm solution. The warm water will soften the blister, if it has not popped and aid in draining its fluid.
- Witch Hazel
The effectiveness of witch hazel in curing a blister beetle blister may be attributed to its astringent tannins content. This component will dry the blister and clean it, hence allowing it to heal faster. In this regard, you should dub the witch hazel on the affected region using a clean cotton ball for each application.
- Castor Oil
This is a well renowned home remedy for blisters. As such, it may also be used for blister beetle bite treatment. In this case, you should apply the oil on the blister some minutes before bed time and allow it to remain there throughout the night. Alternatively, you may mix castor oil with apple cider vinegar and apply it on the blister. This remedy dries up the blister and fast tracks its healing process.
- Cider Vinegar
This home blister remedy is particularly helpful if the blister has already popped. As a result of its anti-bacterial properties, Cider vinegar will protect the open lesion from infection. It is advisable to first wash the popped blister using hydrogen peroxide solution before applying the cider vinegar.
- Plantain/ Plantago Major
In this case, you may use either narrow leaf plantain or the common plantain to ease the irritation caused by the beetle secreted chemical substance on your skin. If this is your preferred treatment method, you should mash the leaf and extract the juice. You can then apply the juice to the lesion. Alternatively, you may infuse the plantain leaves in oil. In this case, you should then apply the oil on the affected area. The later option is ideal when dealing with larger skin areas. For effective results, you should use fresh plantain leaves for each application.
Clinical Blister Beetle Bite Treatment
Since blisters are caused by a chemical that is produced by blister beetles, the first blister beetle bite treatment step should be aimed at eliminating the irritant. As such, the initial treatment procedure for these blisters is washing the affected area with water and soap. This is then followed by a cool wet soaks treatment, after which a strong topical steroid medication is administered on the blisters.
In most cases, clinical treatment regimes for these blisters combine oral antibiotics and antihistamines with topical steroids. However, this medication should be taken according to a prescription given by a qualified medical practitioner.
Blister Beetle Control
While the above mentioned remedies can help you alleviate the pain associated with dermatitis caused by blister beetles, preventing this contact with the bugs can help you avoid the blisters in the first place. As such, getting rid of blister beetles can prevent dermatitis cases. Learning how to handle the insect and exterminate its population can help you minimize cases of blisters caused by the beetles in your family.
Organic Blister Beetle Control
The following are some of the methods you may use to get rid of blister beetles, following positive blister beetle identification.
- Mowing Grass before it flowers
Since adult beetles are attracted to these flowers, mowing the grass early enough can help control blister beetle infestation in your home.
- Covering plants in garden fabric
During summer, you should consider covering vegetation next to your home using garden fabric. This will prevent the beetles from feeding; hence drive them away from your home.
- Attracting birds
Some birds feed on various developmental stages of the blister beetle. Attracting such birds to your farm can keep the number of these beetles low.
- Clear affected sections
Rather than using chemical control methods, you should consider clearing the areas of your firm that are infested by the beetle. Additionally, you should avoid using hay crimpers or other implements that may crush the beetle when haying. If you had identified the beetle on the field, you may need to let hay lie on the field for two to three days after cutting.
- Using barring methods
Spreading diatomaceous earth around plants that are more likely to be attacked by the blister beetle is advisable. Alternatively, you may use diatomaceous earth in smaller plots or raised beds. You may also use Oyster shell lime as a barrier around the endangered plants. However, this method will only repel the beetles and not kill them. For the purpose of repelling blister beetles, you may also need to maintain a proper soil pH.
- Introducing natural enemies
ntroducing organisms that prey on this beetle in your fields can regulate the number of blister beetles. Such organisms include meadowlark, robber flies, bluebird, scissor-tailed flycatcher and Sialia sialis.
Chemical Control of Blister Beetles
The above mentioned blister beetle control methods are all organic. While such methods are effective in some cases, they may not eliminate this insect entirely. With a good beetle management strategy and extermination expert working on your fields, how to get rid of blister beetle will become a thing of the past.
In most cases, chemical control of these beetles requires a foliar application of the appropriate insecticides. As a pest, the beetles tend to aggregate on certain regions. In such a case, some parts of the farm may be heavily infested and others not affected. This indicates how important it is to maintain a constant visual examination of your fields after application of chemical control methods.This being the case, you will be able to apply follow-up spot treatments on the heavily infested areas.
With regards to blister beetle warts removal, Blister beetles are beneficial insects. However, their damaging effects on plants, animals and human beings outweigh their benefits. Coming into contact with a chemical substance produced by the beetles will cause skin irritation and blisters.
While the above mentioned remedies will help you cure these blisters, learning how to effectively manage and mitigate blister beetle infestation in your fields will go a long way in preventing such problems. Eliminating the beetle is not easy and often requires a control method that can kill the various developmental stages of the beetle.
This being the case, using a combination of blister beetle control methods — along with close monitoring — is likely to be more effective than applying a single control method.
Are Blister Beetles all bad?
The blister beetles are well renowned for their negative effects on human being s and animals. However, these insects are not entirely bad. Their chemical secretion — the same that causes blisters on human skin—has been proven to cure warts. As such, the talk on blister beetle warts is actually founded; a good number of warts remedies are known to use blister beetle chemical secretions.
While removing warts, the main aim is to heal the tissue without causing any form of scarring. This chemical secretion is very effective, in this regard. The chemical is normally applied on region of the skin with warts and covered for about 24 hours.