What is this brown beetle that keeps burrowing into my garden?
May 19, 2010
I have a garden in my backyard, organic, and a few times now I’ve caught this type of beetle trying to burrow its way down into my soil. It’s a flying beetle, though it doesn’t seem to be that graceful (the first time I saw it it flew in past me and landed upside down in the dirt, then situated itself and commenced the burrowing). It’s about the size of the nail on my thumb and blends in pretty well with the dirt. The garden that it seems to prefer is one that contains asparagus, green onions, carrots, and radishes. I really just want to know whether or not this beetle can be harmful to my garden; if it isn’t then I have no problem with sharing the space! If it’s terrorizing the roots of my plants, however, we may have some issues. The images that I’m attaching, just to clarify, are not of a dead bug. This beetle plays dead when poked. This particular fella continued what he was doing a few minutes after our photoshoot.
Any help is greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time!
This is a Bumble Flower Beetle, Euphoria inda, and we identified it on BugGuide which indicates: “Larvae usually reported to live in decaying wood, vegetation, and especially, dung (5). Eggs deposited in summer near these food sources. Larvae feed and overwinter, or perhaps pupae overwinter. Adults emerge in early summer. Males often seen searching for newly-emerged females.” Your organic garden probably has rich organic soil that can provide a food source for the young. The Texas Beetle Information website provides this interesting information: “You know that the sun MUST be out for them to fly… Can be the same temp but no sun, no beetles… They drop to the ground and dig in as soon as it gets cloudy…” The Beetles of Eastern North America website also has some good information. Your second image of the underside has what appears to be a parasitic infestation, possibly a Tachinid Fly. The Pacific Horticulture Website has an excellent article on Tachinid Flies. We will check with Eric Eaton to see if he has a theory on the parasite.
I don’t see a fly anywhere in this picture. I see what *could* be mites, but this also looks like a DEAD beetle. I can’t draw any conclusions.
I thought they looked like fly larvae. Thanks Eric.
Ah, well, if so then Phoridae would be a better candidate than tachinids I think. Still, image is wa-a-a-a-y out of focus, can’t tell if beetle is alive or not….:
Here is the link to the letter Eric,
She described the beetle as still moving.
Ok, then mites (phoretic, not parasitic) are the most likely candidates for the tiny objects on the underside of the beetle.