The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Soldier beetle larvae: Not really bad bugs

Beetle larva on raspberry

Soldier beetle larvaYou can always tell where the most luscious fruits are in my garden because these velvety black, beetle larva soon show up to drink the juices.  The scientific community claims that soldier beetle larvae suck the liquids out of other insects' eggs and young, but the fuzzy baby beetles clearly like sugar water too.

In my early days on the farm, I'd be tempted to dub these guys "bad bugs".  But the truth is that battling insects is a thankless project --- it's much more fun to tweak ecosystems into balance so no one is really bad.

Insect on fig

In fact, soldier beetles are on most gardeners' list of good bugs since they'll chow down on cucumber beetles, caterpillars, grasshopper eggs, aphids, and other troublesome denizens of the garden.  And the beetle larvae really don't hit my raspberries unless I forget to pick for a day or so, at which point the fruits are winey anyway.  Plus, soldier beetle larvae are a very clear indicator of exactly when to pick a ripe fig!

Yep, after a week or two off, the next round of figs are starting to plump up and droop down.  Good thing too since I've been literally dreaming about roast figs --- they're that good.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.



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Talk about being in sync. This weekend I extended the height of 3 of my garden beds. While digging, I came across some of these velvety black "worms." I didn't know what they were, and figured I'd look them up today. Lo and behold this post in Google Reader. Luckily I didn't kill them. I've learned over the past couple of years to not kill bugs before I find out what they are.

Thanks for the post

Comment by Fritz Mon Sep 17 08:16:28 2012
Fritz --- Glad I finally decided to look them up and post about them! I've been wondering what they are all summer. :-)
Comment by anna Mon Sep 17 15:29:24 2012





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