State Livestock Board warns of blister beetles

Cheyenne, Wyo. – The Wyoming Livestock Board says a beetle that can be deadly to horses has been found in forage crops in central Wyoming.

Horses that eat blister beetles can become severely ill or die from gastrointestinal, heart or kidney effects. Cattle and sheep can also be sickened, but not usually to the same degree as horses.

The board says blister beetle infestations normally occur in late summer and can contaminate green, cured or baled hay. Agriculture officials say cutting hay before it blooms may decrease the likelihood of contamination. Live or dead blister
beetles are toxic.

The first signs of blister beetle sickness are acute colic, diarrhea and excessive salivation. The board recommends seeking immediate veterinary care if
blister beetle poisoning is suspected.