Standlee Reports on the Blister Beetle in Idaho

Aug 05, 2012

No Infestations near Standlee Farms


The State of Idaho has recently alerted the public to a beetle congregating in higher numbers in Ada County specifically near the Boise Foothills area. The insect species identified by the Idaho State Department of Agriculture is the native Punctuate Blister Beetle (Epicauta puncticollis) The State of Idaho does not have major concerns with the insect, however, Blister Beetles have been found in larger numbers this year resulting in a state-issued alert to raise awareness on the situation.

Blister Beetles belong to the Family Meloidae which lives in all parts of the world except New Zealand and Antarctica. Blister Beetles are commonly found with grasshoppers in weedy conditions where beetle larvae feed on grasshopper eggs and adult beetles ingest flowering crops like alfalfa. Blister Beetles do not typically threaten crops, however, the insect carries a toxin called cantharidin which can be harmful or lethal to livestock if ingested in large quantities.

The Striped Blister Beetle (Epicauta vittata) is widely considered to be a more serious threat to livestock. The striped species is prone to congregate in larger populations and has up to 25 times the concentration of toxin when compared to the Punctuate Blister Beetle. (Source: Blister Beetle Management in Alfalfa- University of Missouri Extension, Report- G4569, Reviewed October 1993.) The Striped Blister Beetle is typically found only in eastern states and they have never been reported west of South Dakota. (Source: Department of Entomology and Nematology- University of Florida, Report- EENY-280, Revised January 2012)

Standlee Hay Company does not grow or purchase any forage in the Treasure Valley where the infestation of Punctuate Blister Beetles was found. Standlee's Quality Assurance (QA) personnel have contacted the University of Idaho Extension offices in each county near their forage sources to stay on top of the situation. No extension offices have reported any Blister Beetle infestations outside of Ada County.

Standlee Hay Company has well-established QA processes at their farms, production facility and distribution centers to detect and eliminate insect infestations and other foreign materials. Standlee harvests its' forage before abundant blooms exist to provide high quality and high protein products and cut down on any pests. Also Standlee farm personnel scout fields 7-8 days prior to harvest to ensure that pests of all kinds are not present.