Invasion of the Beetles
Gail Ruhl, Plant Disease Diagnostician, Purdue
Chris Parker, Extension Educator in Morgan County,
reports that their local high school had literally thousands of
these Caterpillar Hunters in and around the building Monday morning.
The warm weekend prompted the emergence of this species of beneficial
ground beetle, Calosoma scrutator, which generally feeds
at night and hides during the day.
This beetle climbs trees in search of caterpillar
prey. The beetle emits an odor to ward off predators and
intruding humans and is also ‘equipped’ with a hefty
set of mandibles which can deliver an unwelcome nip to imprudent
handlers. Although the beetles are active from May to November,
it is reported that they seem to be especially numerous in May
after trees are fully leaved out and while the spring flush of
caterpillars is ravaging the foliage. The Caterpillar Hunter
feeds on tent caterpillars, gypsy moth caterpillars and pupae,
and other forest caterpillars and is strongly attracted to lights.
Links: Clemson University; Ohio
State University Extension Fact Sheet
Related News: Green,
stinky and harmless - IndyStar.com, by Dan McFeely - May
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Click image to enlarge
Photo courtesy of
University of Arkansas
Calosoma scrutator around buildings in Martinsville,
Photo courtesy of Chris Parker