DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Pollen beetles on a flower of a marrow plant, Cucurbita pepo. The picture shows a flower with hundreds of small beetles that have been attracted by its yellow hue. The insects feed on pollen, but may swarm on both male and female flowers. Their role in pollination is on balance probably beneficial."Pollen beetle" is generic term that refers to many species of small pollen-eating members of the Coleoptera family. The common swarming species found in gardens is Meligethes aeneus, also known as the rape beetle, since it lays its eggs inside the flower buds of oilseed rape (Brassica napus).The larvae develop within the buds, and for this reason are a serious crop pest. They pupate in the ground, adults emerging after the host plant has ceased to flower. It is at this time that they enter gardens. In horticulture, they can be an irritation and inconvenience, but are not harmful.
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