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When the temperatures rise in spring, the beetle season begins. They usually only catch your eye when you are sitting on the balcony or terrace in summer. Not every sight of a red beetle is as pleasing as that of a ladybug. But what is it about them and do they have to be fought?
Small creepy-crawlies, especially with a red body, appear “threatening” to many. Among the beetle species there are countless specimens in the most diverse shades of red, shapes and sizes. They usually appear in whole columns and can be found in flower beds, on a wall or on the wall of a house. But many are useful helpers against pests in the garden.
Fire bug (Pyrrhocoris apterus)
In most cases, the fire bug is confused with a beetle, which is why it should be omitted here when mentioning red beetles. The fire bug is a species of bug that stays in the garden between early summer and late autumn.
- red to dark red color
- mostly light black patterns on the body
- Size: about one centimeter
- short fore wings
- cannot fly
Preferred areas of residence:
- dry locations
- Europe-wide occurrence
- especially love linden trees, acacias and mallows
- old seed stocks of flowers
Fire bugs have no real use in the garden. They feed mainly on seed residues that remain after the flowering period. Dead insects are also one of their favorite foods. Since they can emit an unpleasant odor to defend themselves against enemies, they keep mosquitoes and the like away in their immediate vicinity. This is advantageous if they have settled on terraces and balconies. They are not dangerous and are not among the pests that should be controlled. Since they like to appear in huge columns and also get into the house through cracks in the house wall, doors and windows, they are often perceived as annoying.
Small red "bugs", which are actually bugs, can be controlled indoors with a conventional insecticide for flies and spiders.
In the garden, withered inflorescences should be cut off so as not to attract them. If they have already spread in the garden, on a wall or on a house wall, an insecticide should not be used. Other beneficial insects might otherwise be killed. A spray of soapy water suds will kill them off without involving other small critters in the garden.
Fire Beetle (Pyrochroa)
The small, deep red fire beetle Pyrochroa coccinea can be found most frequently in German gardens. There are other species of this beetle genus, but they are less common in Germany. These include the red-headed fire beetle (Pyrochroa serraticornis) and the orange fire beetle (Schizotus pectinicornis).
- flat, elongated body
- Size: about two centimeters
- scarlet color
- black head
- preferred places to stay
- forest edges
- on flowers also in the garden
- on dead wood on trees or on the compost
The fire beetle feeds mainly on seeds, fungi and dead wood. He likes to eat the larvae of other insects. Here, for example, the bark beetle counts. It is a plant pest and can kill entire trees. With fire beetles you keep numerous plant pests in check.
Due to their usefulness, fire beetles should only be controlled when found to be a nuisance. They are not a threat to humans and are therefore neither dangerous nor poisonous. It does not damage plants.
Lily Beetle (Lilioceris lilii)
As small red beetles, lily beetles often stand out in gardens between May and September. This is a leaf beetle that should be taken "seriously".
- red pronotum
- Size: between six and eight millimeters
- black legs
- elongated head narrowing behind the eye area
Preferred places to stay:
- lily of the valley
- imperial crowns
- Flower bulbs (larvae of lily beetles)
- deciduous trees such as alder and birch
Lily beetles have no benefit but harm your plants. They will eat any species of lily down to the stem if not stopped. Their larvae feed on flower bulbs, which they can completely destroy. If you see small red beetles, you should immediately identify whether they are lily beetles to combat them.
The most effective and fastest is an insecticide that is also used for aphids and mites. Rapid combat is advisable so that as few plants as possible suffer damage and, in the worst case, die.
You can also collect the beetles as "first aid" if no insecticide is readily available. Place newspaper or kitchen paper under the affected plants, push beetles off the plant with a stick and dispose of with the paper in an airtight household waste or burn.
Red head beetle (Anthocomus rufus)
The little red haired beetle is also known as the two-spotted haired bug. It is a species of beetle from the Melyridae family and is mainly seen from July to October. Their concise appearance means they can easily be identified as a hairy beetle.
- red elytra and pronotum edges
- Size: about five millimeters
- black legs
- colored black-red under the wings
- black spot between head and body
- black abdomen
Preferred place of residence:
- swampy and wet meadows
- on bank and pond edges
In gardens, the head beetle is of great use. In the thicket as well as in the undergrowth and on dead wood he goes in search of food. Its favorite foods include larvae, pollen and dead insects. Mainly by eating the larvae, these red beetles ensure fewer pests in gardens, such as vine weevil. By eating pollen, it contributes to “cleaning the air”, which is particularly beneficial for people who are allergic to pollen.
Due to its high utility factor, the ear beetle is a valuable creature in gardens and should not be fought. In some cases it is even attracted to eat harmful larvae.
However, if it is a nuisance, it is advisable to attract it with sugar water. Here it can be collected afterwards and exposed somewhere else outside of your own garden.
Red-covered beetle (Lycidae)
One of the largest families of beetles is the red-covered beetle, which has over 3000 different species. Only eight species are known in Central Europe.
- orange-red to brownish-red body
- Size: between three and 80 millimeters depending on the species
- usually longitudinally corrugated surface structure
- predominantly flattened body
- Demarcation between head and torso
- Depending on the species, the head is black or has prominent eye areas
Preferred place of residence:
- rotten wood
- tree stumps
- Cracks in a wall (hiding place)
According to current knowledge, red-covered beetles have no beneficial use. Their way of life is not yet sufficiently known because they have not been in the local area for long.
This red beetle species does not usually appear in moderation, but is usually found in single animals or in small groups of five to ten in the vicinity. They actually only live outdoors, but can also "get lost" in the house. They do not damage plants. Control with the aim of killing is not necessary. Rather, the beetles should be collected and ideally released in the forest.
Red velvet mite (Trombidium holosericeum)
Although the red velvet mite is not a beetle, it is often mistaken for one, especially when spotted on a house wall or wall. Especially in summer they often frolic in groups in the sunshine.
- completely red body including antennae
- Size: up to four millimeters
- scarlet hairs
- soft body shell
- stalked eyes
- scissor-shaped jaws
Preferred places to stay:
- house walls and walls
- plant leaves
- on dried leaves in the sun
- heated stone slabs
- sometimes found on garden furniture in the sun
The beetle-like velvet mites are very useful as they feed on insect eggs and small garden pests such as aphids.
Since they are harmless to plants of all kinds and to humans and eat many pests in gardens, control is not appropriate. If they make their way towards the house when the evening temperatures are cooler, simple fly screens protect against intrusion.