Flower Beetle: All You Need to Know in a Nutshell

Flower beetles play a vital role in the pollination process, ensuring the reproduction and survival of many plant species. These fascinating insects belong to the scarab family and are essential pollinators for ancient species like magnolias and spicebush. As they feed on flower petals and other floral parts, they inadvertently spread pollen from one flower to another, boosting pollination rates.

One example of a flower beetle is the Bumble Flower Beetle, which is characterized by yellowish-brown or cinnamon-colored outer wings with irregular rows of small black spots. These beetles have a unique densely hairy head, thorax, and underside of their body. They are relatively small, measuring about 0.5-0.6 inches in length and 0.3-0.4 inches wide.

It’s important to note that not all beetles are beneficial to plants. For instance, the Viburnum Leaf Beetle is an invasive species that can cause significant damage to Viburnum species. However, the focus of this article remains on the positive aspects and fascinating features of flower beetles that contribute to the overall health and diversity of our ecosystem.

Flower Beetle Biology

Taxonomy and Classification

Flower beetles belong to the order Coleoptera, which consists of various beetle species. Specifically, they are part of the family Scarabaeidae. An example of a flower beetle, the Bumble Flower Beetle, belongs to the species Euphoria inda.

Morphology and Features

Adult flower beetles are typically 0.5-0.6 inches in length and 0.3-0.4 inches wide. They have:

  • Yellowish-brown or cinnamon-colored outer wings
  • Irregular rows of small black spots
  • A head, thorax, and underside of the body that are densely hairy

Flower beetles also have antennae which play an important role in detecting scents and gathering information about their surroundings.

Life Cycle

The life cycle of flower beetles consists of complete metamorphosis, which includes four stages:

  1. Eggs: Female beetles lay eggs, usually in the soil or any protected area.
  2. Larvae: Hatched larvae feed on plant debris or soil organic matter, depending on the species. They have a soft, C-shaped body and are usually white or cream-colored.
  3. Pupa: When they reach a certain size, larvae transform into pupae. Pupation occurs in the soil or in special protective chambers created by the larvae.
  4. Adult: The adult beetle emerges from the pupa and starts feeding on flowers or plants, depending on the species.
Stage Description
Eggs Laid in soil or protected areas
Larvae Feed on plant debris or soil organic matter, C-shaped body
Pupa Transformation stage, occurs in soil or protective chambers
Adult (Beetle) Emerges from pupa, feeds on flowers or plants

The overall lifespan of flower beetles depends on the species, but usually includes several weeks to months, sometimes extending up to a year, as they progress through the whole life cycle.

Habitat and Ecology

Distribution and Range

  • Flower beetles are found in various regions, such as:

    • North America
    • Asia
  • These beetles inhabit diverse habitats, including:

    • Forests
    • Gardens
    • Fields

Their range and distribution depend on the availability of flowering plants and their preferred host plants.

Role in Pollination

  • Flower beetles are crucial pollinators for:

    • Ancient species: Magnolias, Spicebush
    • Selected tropical flowers: Specialized Magnolias, Figs
  • Their pollination method involves:

    • Feeding on pollen and floral secretions
    • Moving between flowers, transferring pollen

Some example interactions between beetles and plants include:

Comparing Beetle Pollinators

Beetle Type Main Plant Distribution
Long horned Magnolia grandiflora Tropical
Bumble flower Various flowers North America

Flower beetles are essential in promoting biodiversity among plant species, and their ecological role remains vital in supporting plant reproduction.

Diet and Feeding Habits

Food Sources

The Bumble Flower Beetle (BFB; Euphoria inda) primarily feeds on:

  • Nectar: A sweet liquid produced by plants to attract pollinators
  • Pollen: A fine powdery substance produced by plants, which plays a vital role in their reproduction

Additionally, they are known to feed on decaying fruits like:

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Grapes

Occasionally, these beetles feed on sap and leaves as well.

Feeding Strategies

Bumble Flower Beetles use two main feeding strategies:

  1. Feeding on nectar and pollen: BFBs have a preference for nectar and pollen from flowering plants. They help in pollination as they move from one flower to another while feeding. This contributes to the lifecycle of plants.

  2. Feeding on decaying fruit: BFBs also act as natural decomposers, breaking down decaying fruits and helping recycle nutrients back into the soil.

Food Source Role in BFB’s Diet Benefits for Ecosystem
Nectar & Pollen Primary food source and attracts BFBs Assists with pollination of plants
Decaying fruits Secondary food source; nutrient recycling Breaks down decaying matter, returning nutrients to soil

This section covers the diet and feeding habits of the Bumble Flower Beetle, including their food sources of nectar, pollen, fruit, leaves, and sap, as well as their feeding strategies for obtaining these foods. Examples of fruits they may feed on include apples, bananas, and grapes.

Reproduction and Mating

Mating Process

Flower beetles, like many other beetle species, have a unique mating process. Males locate females and begin courting them in a specific way, quickly stroking their antennae and front pair of legs to attract the female’s attention1. Typical beetle mating occurs in the spring and early summer, when the weather conditions are favorable for their activity and reproduction1.

Egg Laying and Hatching

Once the mating process is successful, female beetles lay eggs, which will eventually hatch into baby beetles. The reproductive process varies between species, but in general, it involves the following steps2:

  • Egg laying: Females lay eggs in suitable locations, such as soil or decaying plant material.
  • Hatching: After a specific incubation period, the eggs hatch into larvae or grubs.
  • Larval development: The larval stage is essential for growth, during which the larvae feed voraciously to store energy for metamorphosis.
  • Metamorphosis: The transformation process from larva to adult beetle occurs in a pupal stage.

Here are some common characteristics of flower beetle reproduction:

  • Mating process involves specific courtship rituals1.
  • Eggs are laid in appropriate habitats for the species2.
  • Larval development includes feeding and growth2.
  • Metamorphosis from larva to adult occurs in a separate pupal stage2.

Pros of beetle reproductive process:

  • Efficient for the species’ survival
  • Allows for species diversity

Cons of beetle reproductive process:

  • Dependent on environmental factors
  • Vulnerable to predators and habitat disruption
Reproduction features Example species Mating period Egg incubation
Flower beetle Spring/Early summer1 Species-dependent2

Pest

Flower Beetle Care and Hobbyist Interests

Captive Care

Caring for flower beetles involves providing a suitable environment with the right conditions for their grubs and adult beetles.

  • Substrate: Grubs will need a substrate made of organic materials like decaying leaves, wood, or compost to thrive and develop.
  • Humidity: Ensure a humidity level of 50-70% to mimic their natural environment.
  • Temperature: Maintain a temperature range of 65-80°F for optimal growth.
  • Sunlight: Offer indirect sunlight or a low-intensity artificial light source.

Beetle Jelly and Other Foods

Adult beetles have different dietary requirements from their larval stage, and they commonly feed on beetle jelly, a high-energy food source specially made for beetle hobbyists. Other possible food sources include:

  • Ripe fruits (banana, apple, melon)
  • Nectar-rich flowers
  • Sugary liquids

Beware of overfeeding, as it may shorten their lifespan.

Food Source Pros Cons
Beetle Jelly High-energy, specially formulated for beetles Store-bought or homemade, might be costly or time-intensive
Ripe fruits Easily available, packed with nutrients Some fruits might attract other insects
Sugary liquids Provides energy, easy to prepare May lead to overfeeding

Stag Beetles and Other Pet Beetles

Stag beetles are another popular choice among beetle hobbyists. Comparing them with flower beetles:

  • Stag beetles are generally larger than flower beetles.
  • Stag beetles can be more aggressive, though still safe for handling.
  • Both require similar captive care techniques in terms of substrate, humidity, and temperature.

Footnotes

  1. Ask A Biologist 2 3 4

  2. Ask A Biologist: Beetle Reproduction 2 3 4 5

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Scarlet Malachite Beetle

 

Red and black haf inch beetle
June 19, 2009
This little guy has been perplexing me for years. It was about a half inch long, and flew onto the door latch right infront of me. It was slow moving and calm. It had a black head with small flecks of red underneath by the jaws, and the black tapered to a point halfway down the back, leaving the sides of the wings red. I’ve seen a lot of beetles while searching this, that have a similar color pattern, but they are the opposite, with red bodies and black wings. This guy has me stumped.
love the site, keep on buggin
Abi
Upper peninsula MI

Scarlet Malachite Beetle
Scarlet Malachite Beetle

Hi Abi,
We are trying to catch up on some unanswered emails by skipping around until we find an interesting request.  Your beetle is a new one for us, so we did some research on bugGuide.  This is a Scarlet Malachite Beetle,
Malachius aeneus, one of the Soft-Winged Flower Beetles.  BugGuide lists the range as:  “across southern Canada and northern United States, south in the east to at least North Carolina, south in the west to Oregon  also occurs in Europe, western Asia, and the Middle East  introduced to North America (no info available on date or location).”  This remark on BugGuide is also quite interesting:  “In 2005, Buglife, a UK charitable organization devoted to the conservation of invertebrates, lauched the Scarlet Malachite Beetle Project, requesting members of the general public to report sightings of Malachius aeneus, whose numbers have declined in England in recent years. A number of clubs and groups (examples: 1, 2, 3) have joined the project, which has generated a good response and involvement from the public, and has helped to raise awareness of invertebrate conservation issues in general.”

Letter 2 – Soft Winged Flower Beetle

 

Subject: Soft-Winged Flower Beetle Anthocomus equestris
Location: Toledo, OH
April 5, 2014 12:21 pm
Pretty sure I’ve ID’d this guy correctly, but didn’t see him on your website so wanted to shoot him your way if you’d like an example! Found in my bathroom in all places, but it’s the start of the buggin’ season over here in Ohio so I was excited either way! Thrilled to be able to start posting on my own bug blog again, it’s been a long winter. Unfortunately, the find was at 5am while I was getting ready for work, so I didn’t have a chance for more impressive photos. Thanks!
Signature: Katy

Soft-Winged Flower Beetle
Soft-Winged Flower Beetle

Dear Katy,
Are agree with your identification of this Soft-Winged Flower Beetle,
Anthocomus equestris, and we are thankful that you have been considerate enough to provide your image for our archives.  We disagree with your assessment that this is not an impressive image, but you are a much better judge of your own photographic capabilities.  The reason we really like your image is that is shows both dorsal and ventral views in the same image, and you can compare the ventral reflection to this image on BugGuide.  According to BugGuide, this is a nonnative species because it is:  “native to Eurasia, adventive in NA (ON + e. US south to NC).”  This does not indicate if it is an invasive exotic species that is problematic in its introduced range, so we attempted additional research.  According to Amazing Nature:  “This one is a flower beetle that eats herbaceous plants
as larvae and probably pollinates as an adult while feeding on pollen.”  Helen Fields Freelance Science Journalist also had an indoor sighting earlier this year, and we wonder if perhaps this Soft-Winged Flower Beetle hibernates indoors to escape the harsh winter temperatures.  Another indoor sighting this year was documented by The Urban Pantheist who writes:  “this beetle is a Eurasian import–insects from that continent had several millennia of practice living among humans and their buildings, and are often brought to our continent without the predators and parasites that keep them in check. Therefore, when a North American finds a small arthropod in their house there’s a better than even chance that it’s a species from across the pond.”

Letter 3 – Harlequin Flower Beetle

 

BLACK AND GOLD BEETLE
Sun, May 24, 2009 at 7:52 AM
We live in Central Florida and my boys brought this beetle into the house to show me. Can you identify it? We looked in our Field Guide to North American Insects and Spiders but couldn’t find it.
Jack and Ben
Central Florida

Harlequin Flower Beetle
Harlequin Flower Beetle

Dear Jack and Ben,
This beauty is a Harlequin Flower Beetle, Gymnetis caseyi, a species that BugGuide reports from Texas and Florida. We especially love that the markings on the Harlequin Flower Beetle resemble the Rorschach Test ink blots.

Daniel,  Thanks so much for the quick reply.  My boys really enjoy the website.

Letter 4 – Scarlet Malachite Beetle

 

beetle
Location: Jamestown, RI
August 18, 2011 5:47 am
Found this pretty little thing in the vegetable garden 5/27/11. Was hanging out on my shirt.
Signature: PeeGee

Scarlet Malachite Beetle

Hi again PeeGee,
At first we thought this might be a Leaf Beetle, but we soon realized that was not correct.  After a bit of searching, we identified your Scarlet Malachite Beetle,
Malachius aeneus, one of the Soft Winged Flower Beetles in the family Melyridae.  You can read about the Scarlet Malachite Beetle on BugGuide including this information on its range:  “across southern Canada and northern United States, south in the east to at least North Carolina, south in the west to Oregon  also occurs in Europe, western Asia, and the Middle East  introduced to North America (no info available on date or location).” 

Coolo Dan.  Thanks a lot for that interesting info.  There will probably be more mysteries to come.   Love that you do what you do, so thanks.  PeeGee

Letter 5 – Hermit Flower Beetle

 

Rain Beetle Photo?
Fri, Mar 20, 2009 at 10:41 AM
My son and I came across this large beetle on a tree in our yard. We live in Southwest Minnesota. I tried to send it to you last fall when we found it but received no reply. I believe it is a rain beetle.
Vonda Talsma
Minnesota

Hermit Flower Beetle
Hermit Flower Beetle

Hi Vonda,
While we are sorry we didn’t answer you in the fall, the reality of the situation is that we are unable to answer all of our mail.  We believe this is a Hermit Flower Beetle, Osmoderma eremicola.  According to BugGuide, it is also called the Odor of Leather Beetle because of the resemblance to the smell of Russian Leather.  BugGuide indicates:  “Adults take fruit juices and sugary liquids in captivity” and “Found in rotten logs, so presumably larvae are decomposers. Adults nocturnal, found in woodlands and orchards. Adults come to lights.”

Hermit Flower Beetle
Hermit Flower Beetle

Letter 6 – Hermit Flower Beetle

 

Beetle in Michigan
Location: Livonia, MI
July 9, 2011 6:40 pm
I found this beetle in my living room today. Any idea what it is? I live in southeast Michigan
Signature: AmandaBugs

Hermit Flower Beetle

Dear AmandaBugs,
This one was a challenge.  The legs are too delicate for a female Rhinoceros Beetle in the tribe Dynastini.  We eventually found the Hermit Flower Beetle,
Osmoderma eremicola, on BugGuide and we feel it is a good match.  BugGuide notes that it is also called the “‘Odor-of-Leather Beetle’ (for strong odor of ‘Russian Leather’).”  Did you happen to catch a whiff?

Hermit Flower Beetle

Amanda confirm Odor
I did!  I should’ve mentioned that.  I looked up the Hermit Flower Beetle and the beetle does look just like that.  Thank you for your quick response!
AmandaBugs

Letter 7 – Brown Flower Beetle from Australia

 

Subject:  Can you please help me identify this beetle.?
Geographic location of the bug:  Perth, Western Australia.
Date: 01/02/2018
Time: 09:17 PM EDT
Hello, I found this beetle in my ensuite but I’m having trouble identifying it. I found The spotted rose beetle but I can’t see that there in Australia. I was hoping you could help me identify him. As I’m not sure whether to let him go or where to put him.
How you want your letter signed:  Regards, Narida Doherty.

Brown Flower Beetle

Dear Narida,
We quickly identified this Scarab Beetle as a Brown Flower Beetle,
Glycyphana stolata, thanks the the Brisbane Insect site where it states:  “The Brown Flower Beetle usually found feeding nectar on gum tree flowers. This beetle can be found feeding nectar on various native plants during summer.”  The species is also pictured on the Atlas of Living Australia and Oz Animals.

Thank you so much Daniel, that’s exactly what it is!
Regards,
Narida.

Letter 8 – Flower Beetle from Australia

 

Subject: Flower Beetle
Location: Paraburdoo..WA
January 29, 2014 8:12 pm
Hi there..I found this wee fellow yesterday after we had quiet a fair bit of rain & wind trying to shelter inside the house..We live in Paraburdoo..WA..never come across one like this as we get all sorts of crawly insects whenever it rains here & that’s not very often..I noticed a couple of other pics from the Pilbara as well..
Paula
Signature: Paula

Flower Beetle
Flower Beetle

Hi Paula,
Thanks for sending us your photo of a Flower Beetle,
Eupoecila inscripta.  This is our third submission in the past month and this is the first year we have received images of this beautiful Scarab Beetle.

Letter 9 – Hermit Flower Beetle

 

Subject: Large, black beetle in NY
Location: NY, Westchester County
July 21, 2017 6:21 pm
Thanks in advance for your ID help! Notes:
– length = est. 1.25″ – 1.5″
– Westchester County, NY
– found outside
– July 21, 2017
– est. 86F, sunny, est. 65% humidity
Signature: McBeetleus

Hermit Flower Beetle

Dear McBeetleus,
The Hermit Flower Beetle is also known as the Odor of Leather Beetle, according to BugGuide:  “for strong odor of ‘Russian Leather.'”

Letter 10 – Soft Winged Flower Beetle from UK

 

Subject: What’s this
Location: Essex, UK
May 1, 2016 10:09 am
Hi,
Lots of these in my house and curious as to what they are. Started appearing two weeks ago
Thanks
Signature: R

Soft Winged Flower Beetle
Soft Winged Flower Beetle

Dear R,
At first glance we assumed this was a Burying Beetle or Sexton Beetle, until we realized the antennae were quite different.  After a bit of searching on NatureSpot, we identified your Soft Winged Flower Beetle in the family Malachiidae as
Anthocomus fasciatus.  According to NatureSpot:  “Despite its size the adult is a predator of even smaller insects. The larvae of Anthocomus are predatory on the larvae of wood-boring beetles.”  BioLib also has a nice image.

Letter 11 – Another Flower Beetle from Australia: Eupoecila inscripta

 

Subject: Bug / beetle identification?
Location: Karratha west Australia
December 31, 2013 9:05 pm
I photographed this beetle / bug in the back yard and am curious what it is?
If possible, can you please advise? 🙂
Thanks.
Signature: Richard

Flower Beetle
Flower Beetle

Hi Richard,
Just yesterday we posted another photo of this Flower Beetle,
Eupoecila inscripta, and that individual was a new species for our site.  This is a very underrepresented species in terms of photos on the internet, and we had some trouble with the original identification.  The fact that we have two photos from Western Australia submitted within 24 hours means that conditions are right for the emergence, and several folks were lucky enough to have cameras, or cellular telephones with the capacity of taking photos, handy for the moment.  According to the Atlas of Living Australia, sightings are limited to West Australia.

Letter 12 – Possibly Antlike Flower Beetle found in Salt Marsh

 

Subject: Salt Marsh Beetle
Location: San Diego County (San Elijo Lagoon)
February 4, 2014 6:04 pm
Dear Bugman,
I was exploring a spartina dominated salt marsh in southern California and found this little guy tucked within rolled up leaves of dead spartina plants. I was hoping you could help provide me some information on these guys.
Thank you!
Sincerely,
Signature: Shelby Rinehart

Ground Beetle
Beetle

Hi Shelby,
Your photos are quite excellent.  Thanks for showing so many views.  This looks like a Ground Beetle in the family Carabidae to us.  We will check with Eric Eaton so see if he agrees before we pursue trying to identify the species.  How large was this individual?

Beetle
Beetle

I don’t have the specimen in front of me, but if I recall it was less than 5mm in length.

Eric Eaton Responds
Hi, Daniel:
This looks more like something in the Anthicidae (Antlike Flower Beetles) to me.  Nice series of images considering how small the subject is.
Eric

Ed. Note:  See BugGuide for more information on Antlike Flower Beetles.

Beetle
Beetle

 

Letter 13 – Broad-Hipped Flower Beetle

 

Subject:  Chrysomelidae?
Geographic location of the bug:  Maple Ridge, BC
Date: 01/26/2018
Time: 07:58 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi,
I captured this beetle in a pitfall trap near a small stream in a forest near Maple Ridge, BC in August 2013. I’m looking to get help identifying the family, and have offered a few pictures that might help. Any advice would be appreciated!
Thank you!
How you want your letter signed:  Tonya Ramey

Broad-Hipped Flower Beetle

Dear Tonya,
By the time our miniscule staff began researching this Beetle, which reminds us of a Soldier Beetle, we found the vast resources on BugGuide had already identified it as a Broad-Hipped Flower Beetle,
Ischalia vancouverensis, in the family Ischaliidae.

Broad-Hipped Flower Beetle
Hi Daniel,
Yes, thank you! I was really surprised how fast it was answered. I’ve posted a few things on there with no reply, so thank you for checking it out! Ischaliidae was not on my radar.
Cheers,
Tonya
Broad-Hipped Flower Beetle

Letter 14 – Harlequin Flower Beetle

 

Batman Beetle 🙂
Dear Bugman,
I live in Houston, TX. I found this little guy on the window screen when I came from work today (June 13, 2008). It’s the season for June Bugs down here, but I’ve never seen one of these before. His coloring was a much brighter yellow in person, though you can’t really tell from the picture. I thought you might find him interesting. My mother and I both think he looks like he’s got Batman there on his hind end. 🙂 What is this little guy?
Jen

Hi Jen,
This lovely beetle is a Harlequin Flower Beetle, Gymnetis flavomarginata. We found images on BugGuide, also sent from Texas. We found another website that indicates there are only a few species from the genus in the U.S. and most are tropical. Though related to June Beetles, the Harlequin Flower Beetle is one of the Fruit and Flower Chafers in the subfamily Cetoniinae that includes the Green Fruit Beetle or Figeater.

Letter 15 – Harlequin Flower Beetle

 

can you tell me what kind of bug this is? It was on my breakfast room floor
We put in on an envelope and it stated walking and then pooped the string of brown liquid.
Sincerely,
Linda Eiswirth

Hi Linda,
And just where is your breakfast room? This is a Harlequin Flower Beetle, also called an Arizona Jewel Beetle. Its scientific name is listed as either Gymnetis flavomarginata or Gymnetis casey.

My breakfast room faces east. We have a large bay window and a rock garden with potted plants outside of the room. We live in the suburbs of Houston about 28 miles north of Houston. Never saw one of these before. So, do they eat flowers? Thank you for your response. That was really quick. The grandchildren will be excited that we got an answer.

Letter 16 – Harlequin Flower Beetle

 

Subject: beetle
Location: Orlando, FL
July 20, 2012 5:45 pm
We live in Central Florid and saw this beetle on our screen. Have never seen one like it and can’t find it in any of our books. Do you know what it is?
Signature: Susan L

Harlequin Flower Beetle

Dear Susan,
This distinctive looking Scarab Beetle is
Gymnetis caseyi, commonly called a Harlequin Flower Beetle.  You can find out additional information on BugGuide.  Interestingly, in all the years we have been running this website, we can only locate one other example in our archive.

Thank you for the information. In the 10 years we’ve been in Central Florida, we’ve never seen one. Do you know if it is common to this area?
Thanks again!
Susan

BugGuide lists them in Texas, Louisiana and Florida.  They may be more common in some areas than others.

Letter 17 – Harlequin Flower Beetle

 

Subject: Harlequin Flower Beetle
Location: Texas
June 30, 2013 12:15 am
A couple of weeks ago I submitted this 1.25” beetle from coastal Texas near Houston. It fell down from the chimney into our fireplace, landing on its back. It couldn’t flip over, and made a very loud buzzing sound as it tried. The attached picture was taken outside after the beetle was released.
While my picture (understandably) didn’t get a response, I think I’ve been able to identify the beetle myself. My problem is that I was looking for black and green beetles—and the beetle I saw was even greener than it appears in the picture—but more commonly these are yellow. Helpfully, Bug Guide indicated that a triangular thorax generally means a flower chafer beetle, and from there it wasn’t hard to find the species. This one seems to me to be a harlequin flower beetle, of which there are five examples on whatsthatbug.com, all from central Florida and Houston. (Interestingly, the other green one also came from Houston—perhaps a subspecies difference?)
Signature: Lachlan McDavid

Harlequin Flower Beetle
Harlequin Flower Beetle

Dear Lachlan,
First, your original submission was not purposely ignored.  Especially in the summer, we receive much more  small fraction of the mail that we receive that is answered and posted is mostly a matter of luck.  We do scan for interesting subject lines, and your specific subject line today caught our attention.  “Bug” as a subject line does not normally attract our attention.  We are also responding to more letters today because we didn’t have time for anything yesterday.  Also, we were away from the office not responding to any mail for much of the first half of June.
We agree that this is a Harlequin Flower Beetle,
Gymnetis caseyi.   As far as coloration goes, there is always some variation, and the Harlequin Flower Beetle seems to have much individual variation with markings and coloration.  Also, photographs can result in less than accurate color rendition under different lighting conditions. 

Letter 18 – Harlequin Flower Beetle from Trinidad

 

Subject: Yellow and black beatle ID
Location: Trinidad, south of the Caribbean
August 17, 2015 2:16 pm
I have found this beatle dry and dead on the deck of the vessel I am working on. We are at anchor offshore Chaguaramas, Trinidad. Would like to know which species is. I live in Europe so I am not used to tropical beatles. I have try in many webpages to identified but to not avail.
Many thanks
Regards
Signature: To Antonio

Harlequin Flower Beetle
Harlequin Flower Beetle

Dear Antonio,
Your beetle bears such a striking resemblance to the North American Harlequin Flower Beetle,
Gymnetis caseyi, that we were certain your individual from Trinidad is either the same species, a subspecies or a different species within the genus.  According to BugGuide:  “Ratcliffe determined 18 spp. within Gymnetis, but only G. caseyi reaches the U.S.”  Zipcode Zoo lists numerous species and subspecies, and at least one, Gymnetis bajula banghaasi, is found in Trinidad and Tobago.

Letter 19 – Harlequin Flower Beetles

 

Subject: Black Yellow Beetle
Location: Sanford, FL
May 10, 2014 3:25 pm
We live in Sanford, FL and have a screened in porch that is sealed up. These beetles keep appearing and I am wondering if they are coming out of a plant, pygmy date palm or other.
We cannot identify where they are coming from and think they may be living in the large potted palm, that is 24″ tall by 18″ wide.
Do you know what this beetle is and does it live in plant soil? When I find them, they are not dirty or wet. I have soaked the plant and compressed the top soil to see if they are coming out the top, but no soil is disturbed. Thought maybe the bottom of the planter as it was up on wheels, but I sat it on the floor and still they appear. In 3 months we have had over 20 of them appear and all the same type, but different patterns on their backs.
Signature: Mike

Harlequin Flower Beetles
Harlequin Flower Beetles

Hi Mike,
These are Harlequin Flower Beetles,
Gymnetis caseyi, and as you have indicated, the markings can be quite variable, with some individuals almost entirely yellow and others mostly black.  We thought assisting you in figuring out their place of origin would be easy, but according to BugGuide:  “Adults readily come to bait. However, little is known about the habits of the larvae. Ritcher (1966) reported three third-stage larvae collected December 31, 1919, at Blue Mott, Victoria Co., TX in rotten moss in a hollow anacua (Ehretia anacua) tree.”  Most Scarab Beetle larvae we know about are found in soil or in rotting wood.

Letter 20 – Hermit Flower Beetle

 

Subject: What kind of Beetle is this?
Location: Boston MA
July 16, 2017 5:35 am
Found this 1 inch(ish) beetle on the floor in my house in Boston, MA in the beginning of July.
I wasn’t able to confidently identify it from searching the web.
Can you help?
Signature: Thanks!

Hermit Flower Beetle

Also known as the Odor of Leather Beetle because of its aroma, the Hermit Flower Beetle, Osmoderma eremicola, is pictured on BugGuide.  According to BugGuide, it develops in:  “rotten logs in woodlands and orchards; adults nocturnal, come to lights.”

Letter 21 – Hermit Flower Beetle

 

Subject: Mystery Beetle
Location: Portland ME
July 24, 2017 6:54 am
Hello Bugman!
I found a large beetle on the sidewalk of Portland, ME. It looks like a scarab species and it is bigger than an inch. I’ve talked to others about it and a few of them have seen them around the Central Massachusetts area as well. Any guesses?
Thanks!
Signature: Claire Frederick

Hermit Flower Beetle

Dear Claire,
The habitat of the
Hermit Flower Beetle is “rotten logs in woodlands and orchards; adults nocturnal, come to lights” according to BugGuide.  Did you by chance sniff at this Scarab Beetle?  Its other common name is Odor of Leather Beetle.

Letter 22 – Intertidal Soft Winged Flower Beetle: Endeodes insularis

 

Subject: California Rove Beetle
Location: Laguna Beach, CA
November 13, 2013 11:16 am
I knew EXACTLY who to turn to for an unknown California bug! hese cool, really small rove beetles (I’m pretty sure that is what they are) were common on the rock faces above the ocean in Laguna Beach, CA. I’ve tried to pin a name on them but have had no luck. So any help with an ID is much appreciated. Dave
Signature: Dave Moskowitz – Bug Addiction and National Moth Week

Intertidal Soft Winged Flower Beetle
Intertidal Soft Winged Flower Beetle

Hi David,
How nice of you to think of us for your identification, and we are pleased we did not disappoint you.  The only way we managed to identify your wingless Intertidal Soft Winged Flower Beetle,
Endeodes collaris, or a closely related species, is because it was also described on BugGuide as being like a Rove Beetle.  According to BugGuide, the genus is found in the “Pacific coast of NA” and the habitat is listed as “intertidal zone, dry rocks & sand, sometimes moist seaweed.”  Somehow, a wingless Soft Winged Flower Beetle sounds a bit oxymoronic to us.

That is awesome! Thanks! Amazing, how quickly you found it! Hoping all is great on your end! Dave

You are most welcome Dave.  Over the years, we have learned that the right key words can lead to to an answer quickly on the internet.  We looked up the names of the recognized marine ecosystem zones, and “intertidal” turned out to be the word that found us the image that led to the identification.

Letter 23 – Invasive Spotted Maize Beetle from South Africa

 

Subject: Bug in South Africa
Location: South Africa
March 3, 2017 5:05 am
Hello Bugman!
We found this bug in South Africa in Maize. But I have no idea what bug it could be. Maybe you can help me.
Tank you very much!!
Signature: Simon

Spotted Maize Beetle

Dear Simon,
We believe we have correctly identified your Beetle as a Spotted Maize Beetle thanks to the Beetles in the Bush site where it states:  “One of the most common insects encountered in agricultural fields in Argentina is
Asylus atromaculatus (spotted maize beetle).  This native species can also be found further north in Bolivia and Brazil, and as implied by its common name it is frequently encountered in maize fields.  The species, however, is also common on soybean, on which the individual in the above photo (and mating pair in the previous post) were found.  Looking like some strange cross between a checkered beetle (family Cleridae) and a blister beetle (family Meloidae), it is actually a member of the Melyridae (soft-wing flower beetles)—placed with the Cleridae in the superfamily Clerioidea.”  Elsewhere on Beetles in the Bush, it states:  “For all their ubiquity, however, their economic impact seems more nuisance than substantive. Corn breeders complain about interference during tasseling, and larval feeding on seeds during or just after germination seems to be on the rise due to increased use of conservation tillage, but overall this species seems to be more bark than bite.”  On the A Tale Unfolds site it states:  “Astylus atromaculatus is a species of beetle in the family Melyridae. It is variously known as the Spotted Maize Beetle, or Pollen Beetle. It is indigenous to Argentina and neighbouring countries, but has been accidentally imported into various other regions such as the warmer regions of North America and much of Africa, where it has become invasive.”  We also found a posting on iSpot.

Letter 24 – Possibly Antlike Flower Beetle

 

Subject: What’s this bug?
Location: Southeast Minnesota
August 21, 2016 9:12 pm
Hey bug man,
I recently started finding these guys all over my walls around the house. Any ideas what they are?
Signature: Curiousaboutabug

Possibly Antlike Flower Beetle
Possibly Antlike Flower Beetle

Dear Curiousaboutabug,
Your description did not make it clear if you are finding these beetles “all over my walls around the house” indoors or out of doors.  We believe this is an Antlike Flower Beetle in the genus based on BugGuide images like these BugGuide images of
Notoxus desertus.

I apologize. They are inside my house. We see them mostly at night. Thank you for your help.

Perhaps they are being attracted to lights as this BugGuide posting indicates.

Letter 25 – Possibly Tumbling Flower Beetle

 

Subject: Never seen
Location: Oklahoma
April 6, 2015 10:12 pm
My wife had this land on her and we can’t figure out what it was threw our searching, that’s my pinky nail it was tiny.
Signature: Confused

Tumbling Flower Beetle, we believe
Tumbling Flower Beetle, we believe

Dear Confused,
You did not state where your wife was when this landed on her, and we are guessing it might have been a garden because this looks like a Tumbling Flower Beetle in the family Mordellidae to us, based on images posted to BugGuide where it states:  “Body humpbacked, more or less wedge-shaped; broadest at front; head is bent forward, attached ventrally; abdomen pointy, extending beyond elytra. Hind legs enlarged. They kick and tumble about when disturbed. Black or gray, some brown; hairy, sometimes light patches of hair form pattern. Antennae short to moderate, threadlike, sawtoothed or clubbed. Tarsal claws often bilobed or comblike.
Identification beyond family often involves the number of ridges on the hind tibia and tarsi (see photo below); try to photograph these parts.”

Letter 26 – Soft Winged Flower Beetle, we believe

 

Subject: This little beauty made my day
Location: Bangalore, Karnataka, India.
July 6, 2017 4:52 am
Dear bugman,
I think this is a pollen beetle but since it’s too small, I cannot find a correct match. What do you think this is?
Signature: Gautam dikshit

Soft Winged Flower Beetle, we believe

Dear Gautam,
Sometimes when dealing with sightings from countries that do not have an extensive online database of insects, it is difficult to make an exact identification.  India does not tend to have many sources for online identification, but based on your Beetle’s similarity to North American Soft-Winged Flower Beetles in the family Melyridae, which is well represented on BugGuide, we believe that we have narrowed down the family.

Authors

    by
  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

53 thoughts on “Flower Beetle: All You Need to Know in a Nutshell”

  1. We have hundreds of the Scarlet Malachite Beetle in our Titusville, Florida area. They are most certainly not rare in this area.

    Reply
  2. I remember first seeing this beetle (Flower Beetle) as a child in Wittenoom W.A. (we used to call them the “Wittenoom Beetle” because of the large black “W” on the head.
    I have since seen them even as far south as Southern Cross W.A. and also out in the area of Forrestania out towards Norseman. They seem to appear after prolonged heavy rains.
    I videoed one of them today, we had rescued it from a tub of water and placed it on a chunk of Rock Melon, it fed off that for around about half an hour before flying off.

    Reply
  3. I remember first seeing this beetle (Flower Beetle) as a child in Wittenoom W.A. (we used to call them the “Wittenoom Beetle” because of the large black “W” on the head.
    I have since seen them even as far south as Southern Cross W.A. and also out in the area of Forrestania out towards Norseman. They seem to appear after prolonged heavy rains.
    I videoed one of them today, we had rescued it from a tub of water and placed it on a chunk of Rock Melon, it fed off that for around about half an hour before flying off.

    Reply
  4. We find these beetles in Exmouth Western Australia every season now placed Cetoniidae family was subfamily Cetoniinae in Scarabaeidae.There seems to be slight variation in the black markings locally here too,our coloration here varies between Aqua almost blue to a light green.There are some images on our flickr stream taken over a few consecutive years that are date tagged,may help you collaborate a rough time frame when they emerge.Mark and I are both fans of your site,Great work and interesting articles.Have an awesome week end.

    Reply
  5. We have them in Massachusetts. I live on the north shore, I spotted a couple of them last year in mid spring around this time indoors and just saw another one today. Put him outside in the lavender but damaged one of his legs while trying to take him off a window screen, hopefully he makes it.

    Reply
  6. We currently have an infestation of these bugs, and live in Southern California. We are in the middle of a very serious drought. Would that have anything to do with that?

    Reply
  7. Thanks so much for this answer. Someone had posted a picture of this beetle to a Butterfly Gardening group on Facebook, and people were having trouble identifying it. I googled “Rorschach Beetle” because the pattern reminded me of a Rorschach personality test, and it brought me to this page. This site not only has great answers, it also is fun and free-associative, like a Rorschach test (if your career isn’t depending on it).

    Reply
  8. Hi,
    We also live in Exmouth and just found at least ten in our yard this morning while moving some mulch around and managed to take a few photos. I notice the grubs are quite often in my pot plants while I’m replanting. Are they ok for the garden? lovely looking beetles.

    Reply
  9. Hi,
    We also live in Exmouth and just found at least ten in our yard this morning while moving some mulch around and managed to take a few photos. I notice the grubs are quite often in my pot plants while I’m replanting. Are they ok for the garden? lovely looking beetles.

    Reply
  10. Very curious infestation of what apparently are Scarlet Malachite Beetles around base siding of a mobile home in Arlington, TX. Curious what harm they cause and whether extermination is required. Thanks for info on this site to help identify and make informed decision.

    Reply
  11. I have never before fifteen minutes ago seen a red insect other than a black widow. The lady in the next apartment has a huge flower garden and I am starting to add to hers to extend all the way across. Redstone Arsenal is across the street. There are wetlands there. Since we moved here we have seen lots of Gods creatures: humming birds, armadillos, opposum, Redtailed hawks, dragonflies, butterflies, wasp, bees and radiant rainbows some times they are double. I am truly at home here in the city of Huntsville AL. To God be the glory.

    Reply
  12. Hello Mike,

    I am an avid insect collector and would be thrilled if I could visit Your property and collect some of Your beetles. That species is native to the Southwestern United States and has recently spread to Central Florida. I would appreciate it if I could make the 1.5hr or so drive to Your location instead of the 2 day trip to Texas to collect some lol. Please let Me know, Eddie.

    Reply
  13. Hello Mike,

    I am an avid insect collector and would be thrilled if I could visit Your property and collect some of Your beetles. That species is native to the Southwestern United States and has recently spread to Central Florida. I would appreciate it if I could make the 1.5hr or so drive to Your location instead of the 2 day trip to Texas to collect some lol. Please let Me know, Eddie.

    Reply
  14. Hi, I am from venezuela and I found one of this beetles in my apartment yesterday, I want to know what they eat and if they are poison or toxic.

    Reply
  15. I’m pretty sure I saw one of these guys in Pittsburgh, PA. He was indoors on my desk at work and let me pick him up (very carefully because he was so tiny), and snap a couple photos of him on my finger before taking him outside. He seemed to enjoy the taste of the little bits of lotion under my nail, lol. Thanks for the id!

    Reply
    • Living in OH, I have also seen a bunch of these beetles in my attempt to start my outdoor tomato/cucumber garden. I’m wondering what damage they are doing to my plants. Inspecting the undersides of leaves I have saw multiple blister looking spots. I’ve searched the net and haven’t come up with much info. Please leave any info about plant damage, eating habits, breeding, egg placement, or irradiation methods.
      Thanks in advance!!

      Reply
    • Living in OH, I have also seen a bunch of these beetles in my attempt to start my outdoor tomato/cucumber garden. I’m wondering what damage they are doing to my plants. Inspecting the undersides of leaves I have saw multiple blister looking spots. I’ve searched the net and haven’t come up with much info. Please leave any info about plant damage, eating habits, breeding, egg placement, or irradiation methods.
      Thanks in advance!!

      Reply
  16. Found one in our house, in a rural area near Edmonton, Alberta. I had put it outside before I read that it may damage wheat!

    Reply
  17. My wife and I live in a 3rd story apartment in Lake Buena Vista, Orlando FL, and despite not having a balcony, we have a few of these Harlequin Flower Beetles rummaging around our potted indoor avocado trees. Don’t know if the beetles crawled in through the door cracks or if it came inside by way of soil for the plants. Pretty docile, haven’t seen any leaf damage.

    Reply
    • BugGuide does not provide any information on diet, however for members of the subfamily Cetoniinae to which it belongs, BugGuide states: “Many found on flowers, where feed on pollen.” There is no indication they are harmful to plants.

      Reply
  18. I live in Maine, USA and I didn’t see any of these in recent years but this year they are all over my windows, mating quite frequently. I had to look them up because I have never seen one before, they are quite pretty for an insect. I see that they are rare in the UK so I won’t be killing them.

    Reply
  19. We just found one. We live in Edmonton Alberta Canada. Took some searching to identify this northern invader. My son was so excited because he thought he discovered a new species.

    Reply
  20. I have had them on my peonies for a couple of years and this year I am finding them on the irises in the same flower bed. Each year there seems to be more but just in this particular thick flower bed.

    Reply
  21. Philadlephia, PA. I found one of these beetles in my garden on my pepper plant this morning. I let it be not knowing what role it was playing in my garden.

    Reply
  22. I’m pretty sure I have one of these stuck between the pane of my window and the screen. I’m afraid of bugs, so I’m hoping it finds it’s way out, back to the wild. I took a picture of it so I could try to identify it. I live in Western Canada, it’s June.

    Reply
  23. I also want to the name of the beetles that I have. Because I cannot find them on google and I tried it so many ways but I cannot find it too. What am I supposed to do?

    Reply
  24. Hah. What a description. Matched exactly where and when I found the beetle. I came into contact with a beetle that looks exactly like the picture at night in my mulberry tree where the wood is rotting.

    Reply
  25. I found these (Scarlet Malachite Beetle) on my hibiscus plants. Are they beneficial or should I be trying to get rid of them? (I live in Phoenix, AZ)

    Reply

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