Dandelions produce both nectar and pollen and so are appreciated by wildlife, especially early bees and butterflies (100 species of pollinators have been tallied). The BugLady has been dawdling among dandelions to see who else appreciates them. She saw representatives of 8 kinds of hymenopterans (ants/bees/wasps), 4 kinds of flies, 3 of arachnids (spiders and spider relatives), and 1 beetle. Seen, but not photographed, were a few cabbage butterflies.
Lightning Bugs float silently (but brilliantly) over the dark fields and wetlands of June and July, inspiring poets and children of all ages. Also called Fireflies, they are neither flies nor true bugs; they are members of the order Coleoptera and are more correctly called Lightning beetles (LBs). And yes, their ethereal light show is all about sex.
Spring housecleaning—time to tidy up a few more insects whose biographies are short ones.
There are about 410 species of blister beetles in North America north of Mexico and about 4,000 worldwide, and various species have starred in these pages before. Eastern blister beetles are sedately (yet elegantly) colored, but in the Southwest, where the family is most diverse, there are some beautiful species.
‘Tis the Season for conifers to come indoors, so here are two beetles and a primitive wasp whose larvae make their living chewing on assorted evergreens.
Predictably, the Dogbane Leaf Beetle lives and feeds on dogbane (a close relative of milkweed) and on milkweed, too, in edges, open woods, waste spaces, prairies and grasslands over the eastern two-thirds of North America.
Multicolored Asian Ladybugs (Harmonia axyridis) need no introduction—they’ve been around for a century (especially for the last 30 years). Introduced over the years, they became common in the Midwest about 15 years ago, in the Northeast 20 years ago, and in the Northwest 25 years ago, and its numbers have grown considerably beyond abundant.
Rove Beetles make their living hunting springtails, mites, aphids, and other tiny invertebrates along the marsh and stream edges they inhabit. Whether Stenus is eating the plant tissue or going after another invertebrate feeding there.
Originally from Asia, the Emerald Ash Borer beetle was first discovered in the Detroit, MI area in 2002, but it had probably hitched a ride into this country as much as a decade earlier. Its strong flight typically allows it to increase its range by a mile or two per year, but it doesn’t have to depend on its wings to travel, since humans have been doing the heavy lifting for it.
The Antelope Beetle is mainly found east of the Great Plains, and it’s one of five Lucanids in Wisconsin, all of which like wooded areas. Lizard Beetles are one of only two members in their genus in North America. Lizard beetles used to have their very own family (Languridae),