Mother Nature calls in the troops

Remember the over-abundance of grasshoppers I complained about in a previous post? Well, help is on the way!

goldenrod soldier beetle croppedSee those yellow beetles with black spots? They’re goldenrod soldier beetles (Chauliognathus pensylvanicus) also known as Pennsylvania leather-wings. The adults feed on nectar and pollen (hence their interest in the Sedum matrona) but the larvae feed on aphids (hurray!) and — get this — grasshopper eggs! Is it any wonder that a large number of them have chosen to hang out in my front yard? I saw quite a few mating pairs on the sedum, but decided to photograph the singles because it’s easier to see them.

So it looks as though my “plague of locusts” may not be quite so bad next year. Platoons of goldenrod soldier beetle larvae will be on patrol.




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