Friday, November 16, 2012

Clematis Bugs

In early fall, these bugs rapidly ate up my Sweet Autumn Clematis. The vine was simply filled with these creatures. I got pretty close to these beetles trying to see them well. I am so glad I did not touch them because I just found out what they are: margined black blister beetles! They are identified by bulbous heads, long legs, and narrow elongated soft bodies. They differ from  black beetles by having grey margins on their wings. I remember seeing blister beetles a long time ago, but they did not look like these. No wonder. There are 7500 different species worldwide  (Another example of God loving beetles as He made so many.) These particular ones have been known to kill cattle that ate hay they were in, even though the beetles were dead. The beetles have a substance in their blood called cantharidin which causes blistering. Imagine that on your insides and you feel a need to back away.
They can be controlled by using a gloved hand to knock them into soapy water (and carefully dispose of later) or using a pesticide. I made no attempt to kill them, so next year I may be eaten up with them in the yard.

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