Join The Pollen Nation!
Join The Pollen Nation!
Join The Pollen Nation!
University of California
Join The Pollen Nation!

Beetles

Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey

  • Beetles make up the largest group of pollinating animals because there are so many of them! They are responsible for pollinating 88% of the 240,000 flowering plants around the world!
  • They were some of the first insects to visit flowers and they remain essential pollinators today.

Photo credit: Kathy Keatly Garvey

  • Some beetles will eat their way through petals and other floral parts and can often become garden and agricultural pests. They even defecate within flowers, earning them the nickname “mess and soil” pollinators.
  • Research has shown that beetles are capable of seeing color, but they mainly rely on their sense of smell for feeding and finding a place to lay their eggs.

Photo Credit: Kathy Keatley Garvey

  • Fossil records show that beetles were abundant during the Mesozoic (about 200 million years ago) and they were flower visitors of the earliest angiosperms.
  • Ladybugs are natural enemies of many insects that we consider pests. A single ladybug can eat as many as 5,000 aphids in its lifetime!

Photo Credit: Kathy Keatley Garvey

  • Many beetle species eat pollen, so the plants they visit must produce a lot of pollen to make sure that there is enough left to pollinate the flower after the beetles are done eating!
  • Beetles are attracted to spicy, fruity or rancid flesh-like odors.
  • Most beetles need a wide opening to get into the flower because they are clumsy fliers.

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Sources Cited:

USDA Forest Service:  Beetle Pollination

Pollinator.org

Use #PollenNation when you see pollinators in your city, town, yard or garden. We want to see how you’re a part of the #PollenNation!

Webmaster Email: tyash@ucanr.edu