Blister beetles are absolutely stunning but their colorful beauty carries an important warning to the unwary: they secrete a defensive substance called cantharidin which causes blisters.
While medical intervention is rarely needed for these blisters, the substance blister beetles produce does have medical uses: one manufacturer of wart removal products uses it as an ingredient.
Note the orange dot of defensive secretion in the above picture. Ingesting this ‘beetle juice’ may not be wise: people have used ground up pulverized blister beetles in preparations and poisonings have been reported. A few beetles in found in hay are also lethal to the horses who eat them.
These beauties are wonderful to look at but keep your distance and don’t handle them unless you want blisters popping up!