Subject: I’d beetle
Location: St. Paul MN
June 3, 2017 4:45 pm
Weeding my wild flowers. Veggie garden nearby. Saw these in the dirt. I am not having luck on my own. Thanks!
Do you have any milkweed growing in your garden? That is the preferred food plant of these mating Swamp Milkweed Leaf Beetles, Labidomera clivicollis, and you can verify our identification by comparing to this BugGuide image. According to BugGuide: “Often overwinter as adults among leaves, e.g. on mullein (Verbascum). Adults mate on or around milkweed. Eggs are cemented to the underside of leaves. Larvae feed on leaves, and drop to ground to pupate.” According to Bug of the Week: “Adult beetles are voracious feeders and they quickly removed large slices of the leaves. Leaf protein is translated into batches of eggs within the female beetle. About a week after eggs are laid, rotund orange beetle larvae hatched from these eggs and grazed mightily on my milkweed. Larvae move to the soil to pupate and by September a fresh batch of adult beetles had emerged and colonized the milkweed. Adults of this generation fatten up on milkweed leaves before finding a protected refuge somewhere in my garden to spend the winter.” We are post-dating your submission to go live to our site later in the month while our editorial staff is away on holiday.