Kern’s flower scarab

Color variation in Kern's flower scarab.

Color variation in Kern’s flower scarab.

I’ve received several reports this week from worried gardeners concerning an attractive (yes, bugs can be pretty!) beetle feeding in flowers.  The Kern’s flower scarab, Euphoria kernii, is a medium-sized (8-11 mm-long) beetle reported to feed on pollen of a number of different species of flowers ranging from roses to irises to certain grasses.  Coloration and markings of this beetle is also variable, ranging from all black to nearly all yellow with black markings.

There are several species of Euphoria found in Texas, but the one that seems to be common now in the Dallas area is E. kernii.  All Euphoria are found in fields, meadows and thickets and are abundant in early spring (April-May). An interesting thing about these beetles is that after feeding on flowers their larval habitat is reported to be in the nests of pack rats or mounds of soil associated with other ground dwelling rodents like pocket gophers.

A decision about whether to treat these interesting beetles is up to the individual gardener.  Sevin (carbaryl) and any of the common garden pyrethroid insecticides are effective against a wide range of chewing insects, and should work well against these beetles.  But for my part I’m hoping you’ll put up with a little damage and simply admire the beetles for their colors and their interesting place in nature.


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