The Q&A Archives: Beetle Identification

Question: While pulling leaf mulch off my spring bulb bed, I came across beetles about 3/4 - 1" in length, Orange & black in color. Beneficial? harmful?

Answer: It's really hard to say for sure what it is without seeing it, but based upon the time of year (late winter, early spring), and the fact that you found it in the soil, I'm going to guess its a Soldier Beetle. If so, it's one of the good guys (or gals) in the garden. Soldier beetles feed on aphids, spider mites, small caterpillars, grasshopper eggs, cucumber and other beetles. The larvae live in the soil and adults like to hide in bark (or mulch). I'd leave them alone and let them do their work!

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