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Soldier Beetle
(John Obermeyer, Purdue University)
Common Name: Soldier Beetle

Order: Coleoptera

Family: Cantharidae

Pest Status: Soldier beetles are not considered pests.

Appearance: Soldier beetles are elongated, soft-bodied, and about 1/2-inch long. Colors vary from yellow to red with brown or black wing trims. They somewhat resemble lighting bugs, but their heads are visible from above and they do not have light-producing organs.

Life Cycle: Adult females lay their eggs in clusters in the soil. The larvae overwinter in plant debris or in buildings, feeding on caterpillars and eggs. They pupate in the spring and a few weeks later, the adults emerge.

Where to Collect: Soldier beetles can be found in damp soil and debris or under loose bark, but are easiest to collect from flowers.