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Soldier Beetle

FAST FACTS - SOLDIER BEETLES
by Nanette Londeree, Master Rosarian

SIGNS

  • Adult insects that are slender, relatively flat, about 1/2 inch in length with a red, orange or yellow head and abdomen and black, gray or brown soft wing covers
  • Larvae that are flat and dark-colored and covered with hairs that give them a “velvety” appearance

    Soldier Beetles SYMPTOMS

  • Adults observed feeding on aphids, mealybugs or other soft-bodied insects or on pollen or nectar on flowering shrubs and trees
  • Larvae feeding under bark or in soil or litter, primarily on eggs and larvae of small insects, worms, slugs and snails, butterflies and moths

    CAUSE

  • One of the many species of soldier beetles (over 100 in California), Family Cantharidae

    OPTIMAL CONDITIONS / HABITS

  • Larvae - leaf litter and other damp locations that are close to the soil
  • Adults - spring through summer, flowers with pollen or nectar, particularly yellow flowers late in the season
  • Increase populations by planting good nectar or pollen producing plants such as Asclepias or Solidago

    TREATMENT

    Prevention:

  • None - these insects should be encouraged with diverse plantings of nectar and pollen producing plants

    Elimination:

  • None - you don’t want to eliminate these from the garden
  • If found in the house, either capture and relocate them outside, or vacuum them up

    GOOD GUY / BAD GUY?

  • Definitely a good guy
  • Nicknamed “leatherwings” because their soft, cloth-like, brightly colored wing covers are reminiscent of uniforms, these are insects you’d like to see in the garden


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    Last Modified: 08/06/2013