Soldier Beetle
Soldier Beetles

Soldier Beetles

Stop! Don't harm that bug!

Soldier beetles in the garden are a good thing. These beneficial insects are most useful in the late summer when aphids abound and other predatory insects begin to lay their eggs. 
 
Larvae feed on the eggs and larvae of beetles, grasshoppers, moths and other insects. While adults feed on aphids and other soft-bodied insects, along with pollen and nectar.

While reducing the number of plant-sucking insects, they also play an important roll in the pollination of flowers.

 They do not damage flowers or other plants and are also harmless to people, making it unnecessary to control them. Just ignore them and they will go away on their own.

 

Fun Facts

  • Soldier beetles are nicknamed leatherwings due to their soft, clothlike wing covers, which when brightly colored are reminiscent of uniforms.
  • Larvae hatch in spring and are found in damp areas beneath rocks, in leaf litter, or under bark, where they prey on insects and other small organisms.
  • They are related to fireflies but lack the light-producing organs that fireflies possess.
  • Different species vary in color and pattern, but the most common one found in Ohio is orange and black (pictured above).
  • There is no cause for concern as they will go away on their own and not do harm.
  • Attract soldier beetles by planting nectar and pollen plants, such as goldenrod, milkweeds, and yarrow.