The Soldier Beetle is a steadfast ally to the home gardener by protecting and pollinating, doing plants two favors at once.
Commonly found in parks and fields, this genus of beetle feeds on aphids. They are usually spotted on flowers, especially goldenrods and hydrangeas. While reducing the number of plant-sucking insects, they also pollinate flowers so the plants can reproduce.
A variety of species vary in pattern, though most are some kind of orange and black. Some Soldier Beetles are paler orange, almost yellow. All have eltyra (wing coverings) that have the texture of leather. Larvae hatch under leaf litter or debris. They eat the eggs and larvae of other insects also on the ground. Larvae have special glands that emit a defensive chemical spray that is retained and used into adulthood. Look for adult Soldier Beetles on blooming shrubs and flowers. It is common to see many in the same area or on the same plant. They are active late summer to early autumn.
Scientific Name: Chauliognathus spp.
Size (Adult; Length): 8mm to 13mm (0.31in to 0.51in)
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.
Antennae: Beetles have a pair of antennae on the head used as sensors.
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and mandibles (jaws).
Thorax: Holds the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
Elytron: One of two wing cases on a Beetle that protects its wings (plural: elytra).
Wings: Appendages used for flying and kept under the elytra until needed.
Abdomen: Houses organs related to circulation, reproduction, and excretion.
Legs: Beetles have three pairs of legs located at the thorax, numbering six legs in all.