Pests & Predators Podcast, Ep 27: Armoured tanks — beetles in battle

It’s a beetle-eat-worm world out there in the field, and it pays to know which insects are doing the eating of others, says Tyler Wist in this latest episode of the Pests and Predators podcast, brought to you by Field Heroes.

Wist, entomologist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada at Saskatoon, says that Ladybird beetles are just one of the armoured tank, battle-ready insects ready to eat an enormous amount of insects. Commonly called ladybugs, ladybird beetles as larvae and adults have tremendous appetites: one ladybird can eat 10 flea beetles in one meal.

There are also less familiar tanks at ground level; farmers should keep an eye out for ground beetles, too. These nocturnal beasts are even more tank-like, eating cutworms, caterpillars and aphids that hit the ground.

Some species even carry gas bombs: scent glands that release a smelly bomb if disturbed. But don’t worry, these stinky tanks are in the field to eat grasshopper eggs and other pests, often in high enough numbers to make a real dent in populations, Wist says.

The Pests and Predators Podcast is brought to you by Field Heroes! Check out all the resources available, including how-to videos, at FieldHeroes.ca

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