Pollen Beetles

Meligethes spp.

Pollen Beetles

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by Magne Flåten (CC BY-SA 4.0)
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A picture of a pollen beetle against a white background Meligethes
creative commons icon
by Magne Flåten (CC BY-SA 4.0)
1 of 4
The Meligethes genus holds 60 or so species of pollen beetle. As their name suggests, they feed mainly on pollen, but can sometimes be found eating internal parts of the flower and petals too. There are around 30 species of pollen beetle in the UK, the most common being Meligethes aeneus. These beetles have a strong association with yellow flowers so are highly attracted to the colour. You may find a few of these insects hitching a ride on your t-shirt during summer walks near fields of oilseed rape; they might just think you're a flower!
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Traits

Adult beetles are renowned pollinators.
These beetles can be major pests of oil seed rape during years they're in high abundance.

Appearance

These beetles are tiny (2-3mm) and commonly occur in large numbers, so you'll quite likely see a few of them. They're black, with a bronze-green metallic sheen to them. If you can get close enough, the antennae are clubbed. Tip: find these beetles within the flowerheads of yellow flowers or on yellow surfaces from spring to summer.

Symptoms

Numerous small dark beetles may be evident in the heads of cultivated flowers.

Activity

Diurnal

Personality

Order

Coleoptera

Family

Nitidulidae

Metamorphosis

Complete

Distribution

Asia, Europe, North America and Africa.

Biological treatment

If you intend to use flowers indoors, they can be gently tapped or shaken to remove any beetles within the head. Alternatively, you can leave your flowers in a dark room with a light source, such as a shed. The beetles will become attracted to the light, leaving the flower head.

Attracts this pest

These beetles feed and breed within yellow flowers.
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Knowledge and advice

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