Nature’s Pest Manager the Soldier Beetle

April 6, 2016
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Stop, don’t smash that insect. Take a closer look, it may be one of the beneficial insects helping keep garden pests under control. The soldier beetle is one such insect.  This elongated beetle is about ½ inch long and can be yellow to red with brown or black leathery wings.  The immature soldier beetle larval stage, is long, slender and worm-like.

Both the adults and larvae feed on other insects. The adult beetles eat caterpillars and soft bodied insects like aphids. They also feed on nectar and pollen, but do not harm the plants.  The larvae reside in the soil and feed on soil organisms and occasionally plant roots.  But their feeding is not a threat to the plant’s health.

Attract these good guys to the garden by planting goldenrod, dill, milkweed and yarrow. And eliminate or limit your use of pesticides that can kill the beneficial soldier beetles.

A bit more information: Select carefully and use properly if you decide to use an insecticide to manage problem insects. Organic products like insecticidal soap are good at controlling soft bodied insects like aphids and mites and less harmful to the beneficial insects.

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