Safety Warning: The Threat of Blister Beetles

At a recent New Jersey Equine Advisory Board meeting it was reported that several horses in Florida recently died of blister beetle poisoning. In its continued effort to educate horse owners about proper horse care and management, the Center produced this timely topic fact sheet about blister beetles. Horse owners should be cognizant of where alfalfa hay that is being fed to horses was produced and, if necessary, to examine it carefully for signs of blister beetle contamination. For producers of alfalfa hay, please note that blister beetles are not typically active during the part of the season when the first cut of alfalfa is harvested. To help minimize the risk of blister beetle contamination, alfalfa should be harvested before blooming.