03-11-2011, 10:52 AM
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[QUOTE=flytobecat;958109] I got a bite on my hand around the time we started feeding this alfalfa which is fairly similar to the photos I've seen on the web of blister beetle sores.[QUOTE]
This sounds fairly suspect as you should not have any live beetles in the hay from last year when the hay was baled. They would not survive the winter in the baled hay.
Basically, almost any hay can have beetles from the midwest; however flowering plants are more suspect than non flowering hays. You can also buy 1st or 4th cutting hay as the beetles are not in the flying stage of their life cycle during those cuttings in general. Additionally, you can generally buy hay north of the mason-dixon line and the beetles generally do not thrive in the northern cliamates.
It would be a horse that is highly alerigic to the beetles that dies from one beetle as this chart shows.
Table 1: A comparison of the relative toxicity to horses of three species of blister beetles.SpeciesEstimated number of blister beetles required to cause mortality in a horse weighing:
275 lbs. 550 lbs. 825 lbs.
Black blister beetle 5501, 1001, 700
Spotted blister beetle 175 345 520
Three-striped blister beetle 40 80 120
Talk to your hay supplier - they should be knowledgeable about beetles. If you are still worried about the beetles, switch your hay to a different lot number of hay. Many hundereds of thousands of tons of alfalfa are fed each year with no ill effects - talk to your supplier!