Arizona State University researchers warning others to beware of blister beetles
TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- Mosquitos get a lot of attention this time of year, and so do bees. But what about the blister beetle? Ethan Wright is a bioscience major at Arizona State University’s School of Life Sciences. He’s devoted much time and research to the blister beetle, an insect not everyone knows.
The bizarre bug got its name because of its ability to cause blisters on people’s skin. “If they feel threatened, they have the ability to open the joints of their legs and excrete blood, which then comes into contact with skin and causes blisters,” said Wright. The blister beetle will bleed on someone as part of its defense mechanism. Their blood contains a noxious chemical that causes blisters.
Andrew Johnston is a research specialist at the School of Life Sciences. He said blister beetles will typically leave people alone. Still, there are many occasions when someone might come in contact with them, especially this time of year, with so many blister beetles on hiking trails, mountains and neighborhood parks. “Yeah, I think they can be a little scary in that they are fairly large and fairly bright colored,” said Johnston. “You might not see them until you are right on top of them.”
Johnston insists the blisters the bugs cause are not a serious health concern, but they can be quite painful. Walking the other way is the best thing someone can do if they see one.
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