10 Easy Ways To Get Rid Of Blister Beetles

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Blister beetles are insects that you probably don’t think about too much until you develop a rash. So, what are 10 easy ways to get rid of blister beetles?

Blister beetles are long and narrow insects that vary in color from yellow to gray. They live in flower beds and grassy fields and congregate around evening outdoor lights. If you come into contact with them and develop blister beetle dermatitis, here are ten easy ways to eliminate them.

What do blister beetles look like?

What do blister beetles look like?

Blister beetles get their name because they secrete a blistering agent when threatened. There are many different types of blister beetle, but they all share some common characteristics.

They have a narrow thorax, the part of their body between their head and abdomen. Soft leathery wings cover their back; unlike other beetles, they have a narrower thorax.

Where do blister beetles live?

Blister beetles are not an indoor infesting pest and can be found feeding on plants from ornamental to vegetable crops. While blisters beetles are not harmful to humans, their cantharidin in hay may be ingested by animals and cause death.

What is the blister beetle life cycle?

The blister beetle life cycle is an interesting process that should be understood when dealing with these pests. Blister beetles can be found throughout Canada and the United States.

blister beetles

The larva from the 2nd generation overwinters in the soil during the 6th instar stage, becoming active when the soil warms up in springtime. Adult beetles are often found from June to September, with peak numbers present in July.

After breeding, the female beetles lay 4 to 6 egg clusters, each containing 50 to 300 eggs. The blister beetle life cycle is fascinating because it takes 10-24 days for the larva to hatch.

10 easy ways to get rid of blister beetles

Yellow Meloid Beetle on white Background  -  Mylabris variabilis (Pallas, 1781)

Diatomaceous Earth

Blister beetles can cause extensive damage to crops, so getting rid of them as soon as possible is important. Diatomaceous Earth kills blister beetles and also repels them from the area.

It is effective because the sharp edges of the diatomaceous earth cut into the beetle’s exoskeleton, causing them to die. Additionally, sprinkling diatomaceous earth over plants will help prevent new blister beetle infestations from moving in. 

Handpick blister beetles

The next blister beetle control home remedy is to handpick them. It can be done by either picking them up by hand or dropping them into a container of soap water. Wear gloves when doing this, as the beetles can secrete toxins that will cause skin irritation.

Try to pick them up two times a day. If you must handle the insects, be sure not to squeeze the plant as that will release cantharidin, which is harmful to humans and pets.

Oyster Lime Shell

Oyster lime shell is another effective beetle repellent. It works by creating a barrier to hindering eggs from laying. This natural powder won’t kill them, but it is good for enriching the soil and raising its ph balance.

Shells are a great way to take away blister beetles’ mortality. They work well with all types of soil and are also good for enriching the soil.

Attract birds

One way to attract birds to help you rid your garden of blister beetles is by adding colorful blooms. Birds love to eat beetles and flock to your garden if you provide them with the right food and environment.

You can also install a bird bath or other features to make your garden more accessibility interface to birds.


There are several ways to eliminate blister beetles, but organic methods are always the best. Blister beetles are removed by spraying them with spinosad.

It is an organic insecticide compound that breaks down into harmless ingredients within a day or two. However, it is important to be careful not to endanger your honeybee neighbors.

Evict grasshoppers

There are several ways to get rid of blister beetles, including chemical and non-chemical methods. Some common ways to eliminate them are grasshopper controls, which include sprays such as garlic, vinegar, and hot pepper.

Remove grasshopper eggs as a food source for the larvae. Attract natural predators like frogs, toads, and birds.

Light & Trapping

Utilize curtains and blinds as much as possible to keep them from entering your home in the first place. If they have already infiltrated your home, try turning off all lights except one in a room and leaving the door open so they will migrate towards the light.

You can also use a vacuum with an extension handle to remove any beetles from the walls and ceilings in the bedroom.

Pull weeds

Weeds are one of the blister beetle’s favorite foods. Pull weeds in your garden if you want to get rid of blister beetles. Some of their favorite weeds are ironweed, pigweed, and ragweed.

Grow a trap crop

Blister beetles are attracted to the food source of pigweed. You can leave a patch in your garden as a trap crop and handpick blister beetles from the trap crop.

Remember that they will return, so you may need to reapply the trap crop every few weeks. It can be done by flame-weeding the pigweed plants that the beetles are infesting. Additionally, reducing the population of beetles will help decrease their numbers.

Use row covers

Row covers are a garden fabric used to protect plants from insects. They work by preventing the insects from landing on the plants, so they are most effective when used before the insects can get to the plants.

Be careful to remove the row cover when flowers begin to emerge so that pollinators can reach them. Removing the row cover is recommended after flower buds have emerged but before they open.

Are blister beetles dangerous?

A dark-colored blister beetle sits on a yellow flower, taken from the top.

Blister beetles are not typically dangerous to humans, but their welts and blisters can be painful. If the beetle’s cantharidin toxicosis is rubbed into the eyes, it can be very dangerous.

The best way to treat blister beetle stings is by washing them with soap and water. If there are any concerns about the stings, it is best to see a doctor.

Do beetle blister bite?

Blister Beetle dermatitis is not the result of an actual insect. These beetles don’t have stingers, nor are they strong enough to break human skin.

However, their reaction to cantharidin can cause welts or blisters on the skin. Blister beetle larvae produce cantharidin, which is why it’s so important to be able to identify these pests.

What does a blister beetle bite look like?

What does a blister beetle bite look like?

A blister beetle bite looks like a raised, red bump that may blister. The reaction to the beetle’s venom develops on areas of skin exposed to the beetle.

Pain, burning, redness, and swelling often accompany these lesions. This dermatitis appears within 24 to 48 hours after contact with a blister beetle.

How to treat blister beetle bites?

There are a few ways to treat blister beetle bites. The most important thing is to address any symptoms of a local reaction, such as swelling and pain. You can do this with warm, soapy water and topical steroids.

If the person has been exposed to cantharidin, they should seek medical attention immediately as it can be toxic if ingested. The lesions will usually go away within a week.

Do striped blister beetle damage crops?

Striped blister beetles eat flowers by damaging the stigma and ovary. It can lead to reduced seed production and even death of the plant.

Blister beetles also do damage to both plants and hay crops. They are known for feeding on plants’ leaves, flowers, and fruit.


Blister beetles can be a nuisance, but they are not dangerous and usually do not cause long-term damage or scarring. First, learn how to recognize them. Second, avoid contact with them as much as possible.

Third, if you get bitten, apply ice or cold packs and take ibuprofen for the pain. Finally, if you have a garden, keep it free of flowering plants so the blister beetles will go somewhere else.

About the author

A biotechnologist by profession and a passionate pest researcher. I have been one of those people who used to run away from cockroaches and rats due to their pesky features, but then we all get that turn in life when we have to face something.