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!


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