The Q&A Archives: Prehistoric Bugs

Question: I have a small round composter with a collection tank under it to collect the liquid that drains out. When I dump the liquid there are oval brown "bugs" swimming in it. They have a mouth at one end and no legs. What are they? Will they hurt myplants?

Answer: Without seeing a specimen, I'm only guessing, but they sound like immature fringe-winged fungus beetles. If so, don't worry about them. You've provided the perfect environment for them, but once you dump them on the ground and the water evaporates or drains into the soil, they'll die.<br><br>You could also have the instar stage of a water beetle. Instar is just one of the changes an immature insect goes through before in finally becomes an adult. If these bugs are water beetles, you'll disrupt their lifecycle by dumping the contents of your collection tank onto the soil. In either case, don't be too concerned - they're harmless to plants.

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