Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Soldier Beetles - good or bad?

Soldier beetles are making an appearance right now.  While there are many different species, the one I have been getting questions about is the Goldenrod Leatherwing.  They are brightly colored, orange and black beetles, very noticable and fairly large (about 1/2 an inch).  They are also being noticed on flowers and in veggie gardens, much ot the shagrin of many gardeners.
Photo by Dr. Jerry Parsons

While I haven't seen many of these in the past several years, they are not an uncommon or rare beetle. But, they sure seem to be having a little population explosion right now.

Soldier beetles are considered beneficial insects.  Goldenrod leatherwings are both predatory and pollinators.  They feed on small bodied insects, like aphids, maybe a whitefly or two, and others of the like.  They are also known to feed on pollen and nectar, so they play a role in pollination.  If you ask me, you couldn't find an insect with better qualities!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Little beetles coming through the windows

If you have noticed very small beetles coming in through the widow or congregated around the windows and walls near the windows, you are on the many who are experiencing a species of dermestid beetle (AKA Carpet beetles).

Adult Dermestid Beetle.

In the spring, adults feed on pollen and nectar and with all the pollen falling from trees (and everything else), the pollen tends to collect in corners and cracks and crevices, attracting dermestid beetles.  They will come to the corners of the windows to feed, and since they are so tiny, they find small cracks and enter the home.

There really is no reason to worry about them.  Wipe them away, vacuum them up, or scoot them out the door.  They aren't going to harm anything right now.  Once the allergy season slows down some, you won't notice them as much.  But, whenever pollen is high, it isn't unexpected to see 10s to 100s of these guys inside.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Managing Wildlife in Your Backyard Webinar

eXtension - an online resource of various topics from experts all over the nation - is hosting a FREE webinar on Managing Wildlife.  While the webinar is meant as a Master Gardener Training, I believe anyone can register and attend.

The webinar is being offered on April 10th at 1:30 central time.  If you have been having issues with wildlife in your yard, this would be an excellent opportunity to learn what to do in the comfort of your own home.

If you happen to miss it - it will be recorded and you can view it later.

The link for the webinar and to find it later is: