Red and black what I think is a beetle eating a bumble bee
Sat, Jun 20, 2009 at 1:42 PM
I was outside working in my yard when I looked up on my awning and saw what I thought was a bumble bee holding a flower, but then I saw some liquid drop and I decided to look closer. When I did, I saw that it was a bunch of small red and black beetles eating the bumble bee. I was kind of shocked. I just moved to northern North Carolina and have seen some strange bugs, but these ones eating the bumble bee is the strangest. If you could, please tell me what this is.
These are immature Florida Predatory Sting Bugs, Euthyrhynchus floridanus, sometimes called Halloween Bugs because of the black and orange coloration of the adults, which are winged. According to BugGuide, they are: “Predatory on other insects, including caterpillars, beetle. Nymphs, and to some extent, adults, are gregarious, and may attack large prey in groups.” Your photo nicely illustrates this. Despite what your photo illustrates, the Florida Predatory Stink Bug is a beneficial insect because of the caterpillars and beetles it consumes. We are guessing Bees, since they can easily fly away, are not commonly eaten.
Update: From Eric Eaton
Sat, 20 Jun 2009 17:12:31 -0700 (PDT)
The predatory stink bugs appear to be scavenging the remains of a dead carpenter bee (it is missing both hind legs, so who can say for certain…). Many hemipterans, even plant-feeders, will scavenge dead insects on occasion.