In recent days our gardens have come alive with black beetles running around looking under plants as though they are on a mission. I'm happy to share with you that it is an important mission which will help keep our gardens free of pests.
The beetles are a wonderful glimpse at how nature works to stay in balance.
For the past several weeks you may have noticed far greater numbers of moths flying around and sipping nectar from blooming plants. They are particularly active just after dark. The moth population exploded in response to well timed winter rains and the October wild fires which pushed them closer to the coast. As you probably know that as the moths lay eggs, a similarly large population of caterpillars will soon follow. We urged people to resist using pesticides to deal with the caterpillar boom which will occur and instead let nature work first. The black beetles are nature's answer to the caterpillars. The black beetles look like common stink bugs and in fact do send off a interesting scent when agitated, but they are far different than the stink bugs we typically see around here. They are much quicker and they don't stick their bum in the air to warn off threats. The beetles are in the carabidae family and commonly known as ground beetles and caterpillar hunters. We watched one attack and eat a large fig beetle grub yesterday and it was ugly. These are aggressive little predators that will work hard to keep the caterpillar numbers from exploding. Enjoy them and thank them if you get the chance. They are definitely good guys.
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