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Goldenrod leatherwing

Goldenrod leatherwing

Insects on echinaceaThis week, the world seems to be chock full of soldier beetles.  Specifically, these goldenrod leatherwings are in a mating frenzy --- I counted half a dozen on just a few echinacea flowers on Wednesday afternoon.

With nearly 500 species of soldier beetles in the U.S., gardeners aren't likely to learn them all by name.  But I'm pretty sure all of the soldier beetles are either innocuous or beneficial (although some of their larvae are minor problems on fall fruits).

Feeding soldier beetle

The beneficial species are handy because the larvae eat slugs and snails while the adults consume aphids.  Other species (like the goldenrod leatherwing) seem to fixate on nectar instead, but the world can't have too many pollinators!

(Yes, this post is just an excuse to share pretty bug photos.  What can I say --- they're cute!)



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