Photo by Melody

Striped Blister Beetle (Epicauta vittata)

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Order: Coleoptera (ko-lee-OP-ter-a) (Info)
Family: Meloidae
Genus: Epicauta
Species: vittata

Profile:

No positives
2 neutrals
7 negatives

Regional...

This bug has been reportedly found in the following regions:

Batesville, Arkansas
Romance, Arkansas
Wesley Chapel, Florida
Benton, Kentucky
Ewing, Kentucky
Salvisa, Kentucky
Schoolcraft, Michigan
Evergreen, Missouri
Huntsville, Missouri
Kingsville, Missouri
Broken Bow, Oklahoma
Clarksville, Tennessee
Columbia, Tennessee
Iron City, Tennessee
Moscow, Tennessee
Urbanna, Virginia

By melody
Thumbnail #1 of Striped Blister Beetle (Epicauta vittata) by melody

Member Notes:

RatingAuthorContent
Neutral melody On Aug 2, 2006, melody from Benton, KY
(Zone 7a) wrote:

Rating this bug is a hard call. while the adult is quite destructive in crop fields, the larvae feed exclusively on grasshopper eggs.

The beetle deposits clutches of up to 100 eggs in the soil and 10 to 21 days later, the larvae hatch and immediately burrow in search of grasshopper eggs. 1 larvae can be responsible for eating up to 30 eggs singlehandedly.

Found from Nova Scotia and Sascatchewan in the north toNorth Carolina to Louisana in the South.

Negative Helen50 On Aug 8, 2006, Helen50 from Kingsville, MO
(Zone 5b) wrote:

I have some striped blister beetles, and also ash-gray ones, hundreds of them!! They have stripped all of my tomatoes, cucumbers, cantelopes of 95% of their leaves! Several plants have no leaves left. Some damage to zucchinni and beans, even some weeds!
I didn't know what they were, so googled until I found them. Have sprayed a couple of times, with some success, but damage was already done. Have never seem these before, at least not such a damaging infestation. I think I have seen the striped ones before, but in small numbers. Wonder if dry heat (lots of high 90's and 100's and little rain this year) made the situation worse. So far have not found any strategy for prevention, or even a way to predict when they might strike again. I did find several references to how toxic they are to animals if eaten (in hay).

Negative jspice18 On Jul 21, 2007, jspice18 from Clarksville, TN wrote:

After seeing my healthy tomato plants being devoured and searching for the cause, I found the pest which I identified on line as the striped blister beetle. This is the first year these pests have appeared. They had done much damage to the leaves but the fruit was visibly unharmed. On line sources warned about skin coming in contact with these pests and said the best way to control was to pick them off by hand, with gloves, of course. I was able to gather quite a few and will continue to do so daily. Once spotted, they were fairly easy to catch. My concern now is what pesticide might be effective and how to control them in future growing seasons. Also, I am interested to know if they harm the fruit.

Negative sissyphus On Aug 3, 2007, sissyphus from Iron City, TN wrote:

I have seen both the striped and gray margined varieties. Someone else mentioned they thought they were worse due to hot dry conditions and I would agree. I have never seen these guys before and am inundated this year. I have found them eating the leaves of: beets, green beans, cantaloupe, and major damage to potatoes and tomatoes. I have been picking them daily which is pretty effective on smaller plants but difficult for the sprawling melons and large bushy caged tomatoes. I have also used organic concentrate neem oil spray applied to the leaves which was very effective for the last week without having to reapply. I tested it out on a few plants and will spray everything else this weekend.

Negative itaintme On Aug 11, 2007, itaintme from Lebanon, MO wrote:

while i didnt put out a garden this year due to health reasons i still love gardening and reading up on new ideas. however i still have a problem with the striped blister beetle but they have came in the house we kill many of them each night. are they a threat to small children as we have young grandchildren(crawling age) and as we kill the bugs we clean them up but are still concerned that they may encounter one we dont get!
thanks

Negative PandSInv On Aug 8, 2011, PandSInv from Broken Bow, OK wrote:

This bug arrived in swarms and quickly stripped the leaves off almost all my hot pepper plants. We had planted clover between the rows, which is one of the plants they love the most. In reading about them on line, I discovered that they can be deadly to livestock, especially horses. Alfalfa is another of their favorite plants, so it is wise to check for dead beetles in your hay before feeding to your animals. Even the dead bugs are harmful. The beetles stayed around for about a month. They may have eaten some grasshopper eggs, but we still have a large population of grasshoppers this year. Our weather has been very hot and dry since mid-June. This is the first year we've seen them. We found an organic bug spray (EchoSmart) that worked fairly well to reduce the population. It's made of thyme, rosemary, and clove oil and has to be sprayed directly on the bugs to kill them.

Neutral Wisee On Jul 2, 2012, Wisee from Batesville, AR wrote:

Here in Arkansas, the north central area, where we have lived for 13 years now, we see these insects every year. At first I thought they were firefly insects. This year, 2012, is much worse than previous years. Drought and very hot temperatures and the fact that we live among pastures and I water daily brings these en mass to what must be an oasis for them. We had a summer drought last year, but this year we had a dry spring and a mild winter and no rain for summer thus far.

Like the Oklahoma resident, we have Ladino clover planted in our garden as a cover crop, besides the vegetables of peppers, tomatoes, okra, zucchini, cucumber, pole green beans, white sweet potato, and field peas. We also have a small patch of clover along the east side of house where the septic tank and leach line are. I don't know where they emerge from but we always see them first off near the septic tank . They first appeared at end of May when we spotted a few on the spinach, but the last week of June saw them as a legion and were destroying the peppers first, put rotenone powder on those, then they went to the tomatoes. I saw some black feces on the leaves and at first thought there were tomato hornworms on the plants, but looked closer and spotted the cluster of Blister Beetles. The next day they went to the okra and clover leaving just the stems of the clover. They can destroy a particular plant overnight. I ran out of rotenone powder and used Carbaryl spray over the entire garden. I found many dead ones the next day and many more live ones that had moved on to the mulched area on either side of our sidewalk where there is Common Wood Violet as a cover crop along with some shrubs and flowers.

One thing we have noticed is if we get rid of them on one crop, they will move on to another less tasty crop, and that is why I ended up spraying the entire garden. I didn't like doing that as often times insecticides will kill visiting bees and other pollinating insects as well as harm the frogs that live in the garden.

I gave a negative as the larvae at one stage of their life are supposed to eat grasshopper eggs.

Negative ruraldogs On Jul 3, 2012, ruraldogs from ROMANCE, AR
(Zone 7b) wrote:

I'm dealing with them right now in what is barely left of my small garden in rural, Central Arkansas. I'm just sick about it and equally disgusted at what looks like a horror film in my back yard. We went from seeing maybe 20 to 50 on a Saturday evening to over 1000 by Sunday night. Tried flour/lime mix AND diatomaceous earth - no impact. Just picked up and sprayed Spinosad last night. This morning, more of what is barely left of my squash plants - their last stop - have been eaten and again, no impact. At this point, I don't know what to do. We can barely even walk near the area, let alone in it. They are even eating my compost!

Negative TevaToes On Jul 24, 2012, TevaToes from Wesley Chapel, FL wrote:

I have a small container garden more for pleasure than anything else. It's about 20 Sq. Ft. total.

I'd never seen them before this year, (which has been extreemly hot). My little garden was infested with these nasty creatures. They started on my tomatos, one day my plants look great, the next day BAM!,.. I've got loads of these little vermin all over. I tried picking them off but there were WAY too many for that to be effective. I salvaged what I could of my tomatos, and just pulled the plants (since they were just about done producing anyway), hoping to take away the "feeding ground". These opportunistic little beings just moved over to my eggplants. Again, I've harvested what I could, and now I've sprayed everything with Organicide, and I'm hoping that will take care of the problem. .
I'm originally from New York, where I'd been container gardening for about 20 years and never had this kind of problem. I've been container gardening down here in Tampa, Fl. for about 6 years now, and this is the first time I've encountered these creatures. I do hope it will be the last.

Timer: 10.56 jiffies (0.10558199882507).


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