Photo from Bruce Marlin, black blister beetle, Epicauta pannsylvanica shown on Goldenrod, Solidago sp.
When the goldenrod starts to bloom, I know it’s time for the rise of the blister beetle at a local park. Every year in the fall, the females and males meet up for a little beetle lovin’ at this one particular place (yes, they are many other places, too but they seem to be more noticeable at this spot).
The trouble is, there is a paved sidewalk right through Beetle Inspiration Point. Oh, the terrible beetle carnage that ensues! The poor things don’t stand a chance. It’s the busiest park in the county and on the most popular trail.
I’ve always liked the black shiny, iridescent beetles because they are not only beautiful but they seem to be stubborn as well. (Sure, that’s anthropomorphic of me, but it’s my blog and I don’t give a crap!) This is where they have always come to hook up and, by gum, they are going to keep on crossing that sidewalk come big, hulking feet of doom or not. If you try to move them off onto a leaf or steer them away from certain squish, they just stop, wave their antennae at you as if to say, “NOW what?!” and do not comply.
Then, you should listen to this podcast from CBC’s Quirks and Quarks program about some freaky blister beetle tricks (it’s the very first story, so you don’t have to listen long).
Of course, there IS a reason they are called blister beetles so I would not advise picking them up without caution and please do not eat them (or rub them on your naughty bits)! Otherwise, you might end up laying on the sidewalk next to them…see here for more gruesome details. Yeah, you really should just get the little blue pill from your doctor instead….;-)