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Helpful Beetles

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Helpful Beetles

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 4/27/2016, 6:00 pm

Most of us know ladybugs, but I'll try to post photos of other "good guys" as I find them in my garden.
This good guy is a six-spotted tiger beetle. I usually see them in the woods, having one visit my garden is a first. They are predators. I've seen them eat ants, but I've heard they'll eat caterpillars, too. One more assistant in my fight against the cabbage butterflies...
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Re: Helpful Beetles

Post  Scorpio Rising on 4/27/2016, 6:14 pm

Love it!

Interesting name for a metallic blue beetle....lol
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Re: Helpful Beetles

Post  landarch on 4/27/2016, 10:08 pm

I love tiger beetless.

I found this in the SFG a few years ago...I think it's a Caterpillar Killer or Fiery Searcher.
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Re: Helpful Beetles

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 4/27/2016, 10:12 pm

@landarch wrote:I love tiger beetless.

I found this in the SFG a few years ago...I think it's a Caterpillar Killer or Fiery Searcher.
Beautiful! I love you
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Re: Helpful Beetles

Post  Scorpio Rising on 4/27/2016, 10:37 pm

+1! Gorgeous!
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Re: Helpful Beetles

Post  jimmy cee on 4/28/2016, 8:47 am

According to what I have read, any bugs having big eyes is generally considered beneficial.
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Re: Helpful Beetles

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 7/1/2016, 9:41 am

I've found several of these predatory, Darth Vader-y beetles in my garden - and finally had the camera at the same time. He/she looks dead, but is only pretending. I turned my back for a minute, hoping to look back and be able to get a more "lively" shot, but no such luck - poof, gone!
I'm pretty sure it's a Scarites sp. but lack the skills to narrow it to one of the two species in my area.
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Re: Helpful Beetles

Post  Scorpio Rising on 7/7/2016, 7:32 am

I have those black big beetles all over, and find them swimming in the pool all the time. They are remarkably buoyant!

Saw my first ladybug today, on a cucumber leaf! Yay! And just in time, there are aphids on my milkweed......lunch!
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Re: Helpful Beetles

Post  Zmoore on 7/7/2016, 11:39 am

Great Pictures!
I've been meaning to get more pictures of bugs, they are kind of fascinating.  
I'd really like to come across the bugs I found last year again.  I think they might be "bad guys" though, possibly "sharp shooters"?  
Anyway, last year I was piddlin' around in the garden and some movement caught my eye.  These bugs would move around the stalk of the plant as my hand/fingers moved, trying to keep the plant stalk between them and the deadly "finger predator".  So, I sat there for about 10 minutes playing with the things and laughing (hopefully no one was watching).  If I moved my finger slow back and forth they went slow back and forth, faster and they go faster.  I ended up doing my "rap master Z" impression and changing the tempo of my finger wags, "wiki-wiki-weeeeee"!  Also, there were 3 of them nose to tail on the stalk and all three of them moved in unison.  I guess you had to be there, really quite fascinating and funny at the same time to me.
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Re: Helpful Beetles

Post  trolleydriver on 7/7/2016, 5:01 pm

This one is a baddy ... a cucumber beetle. Found it in my veggie garden today. Yikes!!!

Not only do they damage the leaves they can carry bacterial diseases and viruses from plant to plant such as bacterial wilt and mosaic virus. 


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Re: Helpful Beetles

Post  Scorpio Rising on 7/7/2016, 7:15 pm

I will watch for the cuke beetles. I have cukes for the first time in 23 years....
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Re: Helpful Beetles

Post  sanderson on 7/8/2016, 1:11 am

Zmoore,  did they look like these?

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Re: Helpful Beetles

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 7/8/2016, 7:49 am

@Zmoore wrote:Great Pictures!
I've been meaning to get more pictures of bugs, they are kind of fascinating.  
I'd really like to come across the bugs I found last year again.  I think they might be "bad guys" though, possibly "sharp shooters"?  
Anyway, last year I was piddlin' around in the garden and some movement caught my eye.  These bugs would move around the stalk of the plant as my hand/fingers moved, trying to keep the plant stalk between them and the deadly "finger predator".  So, I sat there for about 10 minutes playing with the things and laughing (hopefully no one was watching).  If I moved my finger slow back and forth they went slow back and forth, faster and they go faster.  I ended up doing my "rap master Z" impression and changing the tempo of my finger wags, "wiki-wiki-weeeeee"!  Also, there were 3 of them nose to tail on the stalk and all three of them moved in unison.  I guess you had to be there, really quite fascinating and funny at the same time to me.
Thanks, Zmoore! You are describing sharpshooter behavior... I may have done something similar with them at some point in time who?me? .... 

Yeah, they are closer to bad guys than good. They can transmit diseases to grapes, but I most often see them on burdock and other weeds. Since they drink weed-blood, aren't numerous in my garden, and participate in choreography sessions, I consider them neutral - I'll shake a finger at them, but they don't get tossed in the soapy water bucket.  There's a few different kinds, but the blue ones are the most eye-catching:


Sanderson - your picture looks like leaf-footed bug nymphs harassing a squash. I've seen those try to avoid vicious hand predators (the nymphs, not the squash), but I've not seen them line up like sharpshooters... but then, if I had, I'd probably would've had them congo into my bucket of doom.
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Re: Helpful Beetles

Post  Zmoore on 7/8/2016, 10:40 am

I think "Beetles" picture is closest.  Colors were different, for some reason I remember lighter blue/grey and some red.  Could be time of year, stage of growth, or slightly different variety of the critter.  Well, I'll just have to get a picture if I see them again.  Definitely were lined up like his picture.
So far all I've seen this year is an assassin bug, some jap beetles (which I squash immediately) and a few stink bugs (which I don't mess with unless I have my gloves).  I'm pretty sure there are a lot more there, just have to take the time to look for them.
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Re: Helpful Beetles

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 7/8/2016, 10:57 am

There are several species of sharpshooters. Some are bluish-gray and red.
http://bugguide.net/node/view/618760/bgimage
http://bugguide.net/node/view/228040/bgpage
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Re: Helpful Beetles

Post  Scorpio Rising on 7/8/2016, 6:55 pm

Interesting! I don't think I have ever noticed them....
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Re: Helpful Beetles

Post  sanderson on 7/9/2016, 1:44 pm

@BeetlesPerSqFt wrote:Sanderson - your picture looks like leaf-footed bug nymphs harassing a squash. I've seen those try to avoid vicious hand predators (the nymphs, not the squash)
Yes. The nymphs and adults are good at running to the other side of the fruit or leaf when I try to vacuum them. The glassy-winged sharpshooter endangered one of CA's crops. https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/pdcp/Glassy-winged_Sharpshooter.html

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Re: Helpful Beetles

Post  countrynaturals on 10/19/2017, 10:07 am

This bug's for you, Beetles. Razz I found it on the potted cuke plant I've been moving in and out as the nights get too cold. Eventually it will become a house plant. I think this freeloader has been doing a little nibbling, but not much.
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Re: Helpful Beetles

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 10/19/2017, 6:31 pm

Excellent photo! They may be pretty, but Spotted Cucumber Beetles aren't helpful... unless you've got spiders to feed. Wink The problem is that they are not only nibbling your cuke's leaves, there is a risk that they will give your plant bacterial wilt.

Here's a helpful (and snuggly!) beetle:

I rescued him from my water bucket and am drying him off with my sweatshirt before putting him in the garden- I've been keeping a stick in the bucket so any bugs that accidentally go swimming have a raft until I find them. He's a Pennsylvania Dingy Ground Beetle. He helps by eating weed seeds:
http://aese.psu.edu/teachag/school-based-support/instruction/weed-management/field-day
(Pic on that site is weirdly squished; here's what I used for ID: http://bugguide.net/node/view/18851 )
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Re: Helpful Beetles

Post  countrynaturals on 10/19/2017, 7:45 pm

@BeetlesPerSqFt wrote:Excellent photo! They may be pretty, but Spotted Cucumber Beetles aren't helpful... unless you've got spiders to feed. Wink The problem is that they are not only nibbling your cuke's leaves, there is a risk that they will give your plant bacterial wilt.
YIKES! I thought he was a good guy so I let him go. affraid
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