Soft-winged Flower Beetle (Family Melyridae)

The Soft-winged Flower Beetle are often found on flowers out in the open, where they eat pollen, insect eggs, and flower-loving insects that land within their grasp. The larvae generally stay concealed under tree bark or leaf litter or soil, where they prey on other invertebrates. North America accounts for 500-plus species of often-strikingly-colored, slightly-hairy beetles.

Ladybugs Three (Family Coccinellidae)

Ladybugs are not bugs in the Order Hemiptera. A more appropriate name is lady beetle or ladybird beetle. It seems that back in the Middle Ages, the European grape crop was threatened by a horde of aphids. Adult ladybugs eat aphids, and larval ladybugs eat aphids, and lady beetles rode to the rescue. A female may lay as many as 1,000 eggs over a few weeks, usually near aphid herds. Some of the eggs are fertile and some are not. If aphids are scarce, the sterile eggs serve as food for the larvae.

Flatheaded Poplar Borer (Family Buprestidae)

Adult Flatheaded Poplar Borer Beetles are found by day on pine and aspen trees. Eggs are laid on the twigs or bark of dead or dying Bigtooth Aspen, and the larvae chew zigzag trails just under the bark, eating the protein and sugar of the sapwood for two to five years or (anecdotally) decades. They pupate under the bark and chew their way out after emerging as adults.

Bugs Without Bios III

As veteran BugFans will recall, there are a multitude of bugs out there that are pretty cute but that simply don’t have much information attached to them. In fact, there are around 100,000 species of insects in North America, and a lot of them don’t even have a common name.

Two Beetles that Bite

Today’s two beetles are biters. There’s oodles of information about one of them, the sap beetle because its path intersects with ours regularly; the other is one of a legion of anonymous, gray, long-horned beetles.

A Passel of Predators

The BugLady has been a fan of predators since she was old enough to lisp out the word. She likes the cuts of their collective jibs and their matter-of-fact fierceness. To her, the “eat-ers” are far more interesting than the “eat-ees.”

Bugs Without Bios II

The BugLady had a professor years (decades) ago who used to say “Don’t just tell them what it is, tell them ‘What about it?’” Here is the second installment of miscellaneous bugs with brief biographies—insects about whom the BugLady can’t find many “What about it’s.”

Spotted Cucumber Beetle (Family Chrysomelidae)

Turns out that “cucumber beetle” is kind of a generic name for beetles (of several genera) that wander around on plants in the squash/melon/cucumber group. Today’s star, the Spotted Cucumber Beetle. Simply dining on plants is enough to attract exterminators, but SCBs pack a one-two punch. They also carry and spread bacteria that cause a “wilt” disease and a virus that causes a mosaic disease, either of which is worse for the plant than simply being chewed on.

Bugs Without Bios I

The BugLady has many pictures of bugs about whom she is having trouble finding much information beyond their basic taxonomy, despite the glories of her home library and all the resources on the World-wide Web. Here is a batch of “Bugs without Bios.”

Pole Borer (Family Cerambycidae)

The Pole Borer can be found during warm months—even marginally warm ones—in/near woodlands in the eastern half of North America. It has the distinction of having been exported to Europe, arriving in Germany during WWI or possibly earlier. A female pole borer excavates clusters of holes in wood, probably using both ends, her mandibles and her ovipositor. She deposits a single egg per hole. The larvae start at ¼ inch and grow to 1 inch, chewing tunnels called galleries into crossties, telephone poles and structural wood and into trees that are already wounded and starting to decompose.