From My Garden: Beetle Time

Carrion beetleAgain, more fun in the tomatoes. I found several of these when I was cleaning up the bed at the end of the season. Kind of a big guy, about the size of a quarter, but not a flyer. And again, I wrote to Michael Harman, our Jefferson County Extension Agent. He passed on the verdict from Dr.┬áDaniel Frank, Entomology Extension Specialist & Assistant Professor, West Virginia University: “It is a carrion beetle. They are considered beneficial because they help decompose things like dead carcasses and other organic matter.” I’m guessing (hoping) dead mice?

I’d asked if there was a recommended insect reference source. From Dr. Frank: “There is a book called the Handbook of Vegetable Pests, which has information on just about every garden pest you can think of, including control. However, it is a bit expensive and only has drawings of the insects. The website BugGuide.Net has good images of insects, but it is not restricted to garden pests and can be a little difficult to navigate without knowing a little about insect taxonomy.”

Does anyone else have a suggestion? I’ll post the replies. Terry T. @ GEG