The seemingly harmless Striped Blister Beetle has a secret chemical weapon that it uses on bugs and people alike.
When threatened, this yellow and black blister beetle secretes an acidic yellowish fluid onto its legs. Predators and people that touch this caustic fluid are burned by it. People may immediately see blisters form in the area of contact. The Striped Blister Beetle has a yellow head. The wing coverings are yellow with two black stripes on them. Closely related beetles look similar, but have a different number of black stripes. Adults eat potatoes, tomatoes, and other garden plants, making them a potential pest to backyard gardeners. Many of them may inhabit the same plant. Their habitat includes gardens, parks and farm fields.
Beetle larvae feed on buried grasshopper eggs and spend winter underground. Their diet keeps crop-destroying grasshopper populations in check, making them beneficial insects to have around to farmers and backyard gardeners, if direct contact can be avoided.
Scientific Name: Epicauta vittata
Size (Adult; Length): 9mm to 15mm (0.35in to 0.59in)
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.
Antennae: Beetles have a pair of antennae on the head used as sensors.
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and mandibles (jaws).
Thorax: Holds the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
Elytron: One of two wing cases on a Beetle that protects its wings (plural: elytra).
Wings: Appendages used for flying and kept under the elytra until needed.
Abdomen: Houses organs related to circulation, reproduction, and excretion.
Legs: Beetles have three pairs of legs located at the thorax, numbering six legs in all.