A few years ago in early May our hiking crew called my attention to what they considered an amazing situation: there were hundreds of beetles climbing on short grassy stems scattered throughout a major portion of a nearby field. Most of the beetles were about 8-10 mm in length and dark in color. Close examination revealed a larger species widely spaced among the majority of smaller beetles. Here was the Short-winged Blister Beetle (Meloe angusticollis) also known as the “Oil Beetle” — probably named for its iridescent, reflective colors. The larval stage of this beetle is parasitic on wild bees; they ride bees to bee nests and cause damage. It is generally known that droplets of liquid ooze from the leg joint of this beetle, causing blisters on human skin.
Copyright © 2005 William T. Hathaway.