Orange-headed, black-bodied bug inhabiting the yard - PIC

spaghetina(SF Bay Area)April 16, 2011

I've done numerous searches, and since I have yet to come up with anything, I thought it was time to ask the GW population.

These bugs are around my yard in pretty decent numbers, and seem to prefer the Santa Rosa plum tree in the backyard, although I've seen them on everything from the roses to my peppers. I can't tell whether or not they're doing any damage to other crops, the the plum tree looks absolutely pitiful.

It was difficult to get a good, close, full body shot, and you can't tell very well from the photo, but they're about a 1/2" long, with a slender black body, and an orange head. They're winged, and almost seem as though they're making noises as they fly. Super creepy.

Any idea what they could be?

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taz6122(N.W. AR.6b)

It's a lightning bug.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2011 at 11:24PM
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bella_trix(z6b SE PA)

Not in San Francisco, it's not :) No lightning bugs there. I remember seeing those bugs, too, but I can't remember what they are. Sorry, I'm not much help.

Bellatrix

    Bookmark   April 17, 2011 at 12:17AM
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bella_trix(z6b SE PA)

The name "blister beetle" just came back to me and when I looked it up on google images, it does match your discription. Hope this is your beetle!

Bellatrix

    Bookmark   April 17, 2011 at 12:30AM
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taz6122(N.W. AR.6b)

Well that's what I get for not looking at the local (o0)

    Bookmark   April 17, 2011 at 12:45AM
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spaghetina(SF Bay Area)

Hehe, taz, definitely not a lightning bug, though I wish we had them out here. It's been a long, long time since I've seen one in person.

Bellatrix, the body shape definitely looks like that of a blister beetle, but I'll have to do some more looking around through the 7,500 species to see if something matches up. Thanks!

I tried to zap one with an electric tennis-racket bug zapper thingy earlier so that I could have a dead one to photograph, but either I have no idea how to use the zapper, it doesn't actually work, or the bug has superhero powers and survived the shock, so I couldn't get any more detailed, close-up shots. I'll try again tomorrow!

    Bookmark   April 17, 2011 at 2:51AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Probably those buggs are not responsible for teh misery of your plum tree.The one in the picture looks diseased, as I can tell from thr curling leaves...PROBABLY!

    Bookmark   April 17, 2011 at 3:32AM
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ltilton

Maybe posting this on the fruits forum would help. There are really knowledgable people over there.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2011 at 5:48AM
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mrdoitall(7)

Is it a Tanbark Beetle?

    Bookmark   April 17, 2011 at 6:05AM
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rnewste(8b NorCal)

I've squashed 2 of them down here in Campbell last week when emptying a couple of EarthTainers. They contained tan bark in them so maybe the previous poster has them correctly identified. They moved pretty fast, so I didn't have a chance to really look at them, other than the bright orange and black markings.

This Season, I've got the Take Down Garden Spray at the ready for the Psyllids and Tomato Russet Mites. I am using silver reflective plastic much in the 'Tainers this Season to bring some brightness to the underside of the leaves. We will see if this has any deterrent on the critters....

Plants are about 18 inches tall now and some are flowering.

Raybo

    Bookmark   April 17, 2011 at 10:44PM
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habitat_gardener(z9 CA/Sunset15)

Soldier beetle? If so, it's beneficial -- eats other insects.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 1:28PM
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sunnibel7 Md 7(7)

I also thought soldier beetle. Hard to tell from just a side shot, though.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 5:07PM
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melikeeatplants

soldier beetle, you probably have aphids on that tree. if you don't like the aphids don't kill the beetle :)

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 9:43PM
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angiemomma4

I'd say Soldier Beetle, too.

:)

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 6:42PM
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