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How to Get Rid of Blister Beetles for the Foul-Mouthed Organic Gardener
July 28, 2014, 5:47 pm
Filed under: Gardening | Tags: , , ,

graybugYou see this bug? Handsome fellow, right? I thought so when I snapped this photo last week. He was just chilling on my Echinacea, seeming to pollinate it like a nice beneficial beetle. Oh how wrong I was. Just when I thought nothing could be worse than last year’s discovery of wood cockroaches living (gasp) outside and being attracted to my porch light, I meet this grey asshat.

Fuck this bug. Fuck it with large, red-hot pokey objects while its pupae watch. This twatwaffle is known as the blister beetle. Why blister beetle? Well, that’s because its bodily fluids cause blister-like injuries to skin…particularly when crushed.  Here’s an image of an injury caused by a blister beetle from blogger Holly Scoggins.

blistersmall

Scoggins assures her readers that while there was discomfort, the blisters were gone in a few hours.

But wait! There’s more! Not only does this beetle want to hurt you with its toxic fluids in a final wave of its middle tentent hair, but it also would like to devour every plant in your garden leaving lovely lace plant art in its wake. Their favorite foods are many of your favorite foods including, but not limited to alfalfa, beet, eggplant, potato, beans, soybean, peas, sugar beet, and tomato. They will also eat flower blooms. Gardeners with large infestations have even reported the bugs eating forming fruits. Alfalfa containing live beetles or even fluids from crushed beetles may kill horses if eaten in large enough quantities.  Oh, and it also leaves large, black droppings (that resemble slightly smaller rabbit turds) in its wake.

Below are my potatoes in early July.  They looked lovely and bushy like this, and were flowering in mid-July.

potatopatchBelow are my potatoes as of today, July 28th, about a week after I spotted the first blister beetle in my garden.  I used the bucket (which contains about 2 inches of soapy water) to drown the little douchenozzels after picking them off my potatoes one by one.  The soap bubbles break the surface tension of the water, making it impossible for the bug to climb out of the bucket. 

potatoeseatenThe little shitheels like to fall to the ground and play dead when in danger.  It did not help them.  I sprayed the ground with water to flush more of them out, showing them as much mercy as they’d shown my potato plants.  One of the fuckrags attempted to escape into my hair, but he too was cast into the bucket to drown with his brethren.  They do have wings, but seem loathe to use them. I left the bucket outside, and have been returning every few hours to toss more into the bucket. 

deadbeetlesUnfortunately, the horror doesn’t stop at skin rashes and decimated gardens. They also feed on bee eggs.  Last year, I was hard pressed to go outside and not see a few different types of bees (largely carpenter bees) feeding on the nectar of my various wildflowers. This year, I hardly see any bees, and absolutely no carpenter bees. As both carpenter bees and blister beetles are known to nest in the ground, I suspect the worst.  Meanwhile, the grasshopper population is thriving and those crunchnuggets apparently think my irises are delicious.  I don’t feel like a slightly lower grasshopper population is worth a vastly lowered population of bees.  

Sooo… My control methods will not stop at drowning the motherfucking blister beetles.  I also will be wetting the potatoes this evening before applying some food grade diatomaceous earth.  Crawling insects will be treated to razor sharp pieces of fossilized phytoplankton working their way into their bodies and joints before dying of dehydration. Yay!  The best part is, bees and most flying insects will be largely unharmed by it.

Then,this fall, I am not only throughly tilling the potato bed and all the raised gardens, to disturb and dry out out some larvae, but also plan to dump gallons of boiling water into them to help kill off eggs and larvae.  MWHAHAHA!  

4thebees

For my fallen bee and plant friends:  I will avenge you!

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