Category Archives: beetles

Scarab Beetle or is it Scary Beetle?

This scarab beetle should have been in construction or house renovation because its name sounds like Polyfilla, the goop that fills cracks in wood and drywall. But no, it is “Polyphylla” and the rest of its name refers to its ten lines (four long and two short). Like decades of lineage, it is called decemlineata. Now you’ll never forget the name of this beetle whose face only a mother could love. It’s called Polyphylla decemlineata, the ten-lined June beetle.

It’s a big scary inch to an inch and a half long, and hatches from a prawn-like grub when the weather gets hot. Then it waits until dusk when you can’t see it very well, and when you’re standing there waiting for the dogs to pee, it attacks. Mainly it tries to land on your back because that makes it hard to fight  off.

I heard this guy talking as I took his picture while he hung onto my fence.

I push the air beneath closed wings,

To hiss and buzz and make her cringe.

With beady eyes I see her stand,

And when she turns, that’s when I land

Upon her back and hear her shriek.

I only turn the other cheek.

I try to lift my spiky feet,

But threads entangle and defeat.

It seems I cannot get away

I have to stay and watch this play.

She’s running crazy round the yard,

It’s fun to cause her to discard

Her vest and fling it on the ground.

I crawl away without a sound,

But, hee, hee, heeeee. Hee, hee, heeeee.

Anneli’s afraid of me!

A Not-so-boring Boring Beetle

Many years ago I saw one of these beetles in my yard and later wondered if it was one of those terrible Asian longhorned beetles that destroy our forests. Should I have killed it and saved our forests?

Most likely our forests were not in danger, and I’m glad I didn’t kill the poor bug. Yes, it bores into wood and lays its eggs there so its progeny will also bore into the wood, but it prefers dead wood. By eating the dead wood, it is actually doing more good than harm.

Today, I found this poor little guy already dead on the walk beside my house. I picked it up with my bare hands in spite of the horror I have of touching bugs. If it had wiggled, I would have been in trouble. But no, it didn’t move. I wanted to take its picture so I could identify it for sure.

I apologized to it for placing it in such an undignified pose, but I wanted to be sure, in case I needed to confirm its I.D. by its underside.  If you click to make the photo below bigger, you can see that it has fuzzy mitts on its front legs and tufts of “fur” on its antennae.

Here is what I found out.

It is a banded alder beetle, often confused with the Asian longhorn beetle, a
damaging exotic pest.

I found more information at this site:

https://entomology.oregonstate.edu/sites/agscid7/files/entomology/Banded_Alder%20Borer_13.pdf

They said:

The easiest way to distinguish these two species is  to look at the segment directly behind the head. On the Asian longhorn beetle the area is entirely shiny black while on the BAB the area is white with a single, large black spot that occupies 60% or more of the segment.

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On the photo above you can see that black circle on its head, a sure sign that it is a banded alder borer, and not the dreaded Asian longhorn beetle.

One Potato, Two Potato

When I dug up a potato plant in my garden, I was hoping to find:

One potato, two potato

Three potato, four….

But it seems that something found the potatoes before I did. My not-so-good old friends, the ten-lined beetles, mainly in their larval stage.

Here are my Pontiac potatoes, half eaten by the ten-lined beetle larvae. I could have cried!

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Ten-lined-June-Beetle

Near each eaten potato, I found the larvae of these beetles.

 

 

Ten-Line-June-Beetle

Don’t they all look like they’ve eaten too many potatoes?

Beetle larvae

I’ve had to do a lot of extermination as I dug potatoes. My foot was the quickest way to deal with them. Where is a robin when you need one?

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So far, the only way I can think of to get rid of these potato eaters is to put all my garden through a soil screen, and watch for the smaller larvae that might fall through the mesh. I’m very frustrated. What to do?

They’re heeeere!

At last the weather is warming up, and just when we are all set to enjoy it, the ten-lined June beetles rain on my parade.

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Remember that pudgy puppy from a few posts ago? Emma is now 12 weeks old and investigating everything. She told me she doesn’t like the flavour of June beetles, but they’re fun to pounce on and watch. They also make a very entertaining buzzing noise with their wings.

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It doesn’t want to play, it doesn’t taste good, but it crawls and that’s fun to watch. But it’s too slow. It’s like watching paint dry. So…when all else fails…roll on it.

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Phobias and Phriends

ten-lined beetle

Ten-lined-June-Beetle

 

These  guys are about an inch and a half long. The ten-lined beetles are about to make their presence known again. The hatch happens during the first few very hot days.

They have spiky hooks on their legs made for hanging onto people’s clothing. I don’t think they bite, but they don’t have to. They can give a person a heart attack simply by landing on them. The most dangerous places for a person to be landed on are the delicate dip at the base of the throat, the head where they tangle in one’s hair, and the back, where they are unreachable.

I’m terrified of going outside in my backyard after dusk which is when these horrors fly from shrub to tree and back again like a thousand mini-choppers buzzing me as they criss-cross the yard in endless erratic flights.

I have discovered them in their larval stage while digging in the garden. Amazingly they can live in very firmly packed ground easily at a depth of a foot, and even much farther down in the ground, as I’ve discovered when I was digging post holes. The larvae are fat and look a bit like a prawn except they are a cream colour.

Beetle larvae

Knowing that the larvae will turn into my nightmare beetles, I make it my mission to kill every one I can find, by feeding them to the robins who love them like I once loved prawns.

When I had finished digging my garden, the robins had to work harder to provide their own meals. Today I watched one picking at something in the ground. Not knowing what he was after, I kept taking his picture. Here he is looking…

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listening…??????????

and after much digging and pecking…??????????

to my shock, pleasure, and undying gratitude, he uncovered a “prawn.”

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I’m sure he was wondering how to tackle this rather large hors d’oevre. If necessary it could be swallowed whole, but…

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maybe he should set it down and try to kill it first?

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 It’s such a mouthful…and someone’s coming…what to do…

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Best to “take the honey and run.”

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