High Temperature: 89F Low Temperature: 71F Sunrise: 6:58 am Sunset: 7:54 pm Humidity: 57% Wind: ssw 7 mph Chance of Rain: 20%
Tis the season of the blister beetles, the nasty creatures. They're not as abundant as in years past - before they killed off the healthy and vigorous autumn clematis growing up and around one of the thin pillars on the front porch. It took them three years to do it. A hardy dose of diatomaceous earth seemed to have no effect on them. August and September are their months and they are busy working on the only remaining autumn clematis. No blossoms again this year.
The toxin they secrete, cantharidin, causes blistering of the skin. Cantharidin is the main ingredient of Spanish fly, a dubious and potentially injury-causing and life-threatening aphrodisiac made from the crushed bodies of blister beetles.Who comes up with this stuff?Some species are toxic enough that a small quantity consumed with hay can kill a horse. The dogs seem to know to avoid them, thank goodness.
I've crushing them underfoot with delight and impunity, leaving their twisted and bleeding carcasses behind as a warning to others.
Weather update: A thunderstorm rolled in during the early morning hours and I was woken to the lovely sounds of rumbling thunder and a steady rain hitting the roof. We got just under an inch; desperately-needed. Looks like more is on the way, fingers crossed.