Just when I thought I could turn on the auto-pilot along comes a new garden pest. I found the first ones in the flower bed and mistook it for a lost squash bug. I seem to have dealt handily with the squash bugs on Tuesday removing them AND their egg cases from all of the zucchini plants.
But these blister beetles are something else. First I had to identify it and with a combination of Pests of the Garden and Small Farm (thanks, Jim Fechner) and the internet (thanks, Al Gore?) I learned that this was the blister beetle. They are so named because if you squash them in your fingers they can cause blisters. If ingested they can make you very sick and their effect on your urinary tract can be like that of Spanish Fly. The real fear for farmers is that they swarm alfalfa and can be baled up in feed hay without knowing it and make livestock very sick.
They have a very complicated life cycle as illustrated here. -->
As I say, they started in the flower bed and stripped the anemones. They had then moved to the cherry tomatoes. I carefully dropped every one I could find into a glass of water. Now this morning I see that they have made it to other tomato plants. I will be enlisting my entire household in a blister beetle hunt as soon as they awaken.