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Old 07-06-2012, 12:31 PM   #1
A Bee's Best Friend
 
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Default Ground Beetles Beautifully Beneficial Be...

Garden habitat for beetles is beneficial to those battling agri bugs.

Ground and Tiger Beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae) — Entomology — Penn State University

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They live on the surface of the soil where they capture and consume a wide assortment of soil dwelling insects, including caterpillars, wireworms, maggots, ants, aphids and slugs. Several ground beetles will also eat the seeds of troublesome weeds and are considered one of the “many little hammers” that help regulate weed populations (Liebman and Gallandt 1997). Conserving ground beetles through habitat manipulations and cultural practices can enhance the natural regulation of arthropod pest and weed populations, reducing the need for chemical controls.
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Carabid beetles are considered to be mostly opportunistic feeders that consume a variety of foods; however, the majority of species have been observed as primarily predatory, feeding on other insects and related organisms. Most species locate food by random search, although some day-active (diurnal) species hunt by sight. A few species have also been observed to detect chemical cues from springtails, mollusks, and aphids (Lovei and Sunderland 1996). Females tend to have a more varied diet than males. A greater diversity of food types in females has been linked to greater egg size and egg number (Lovei and Sunderland 1996). Larvae and adults typically have similar feeding habits; however, larval diets are more restricted due to a limited search range underground. The natural diets of carabid beetles are still widely undetermined. Laboratory studies have shown that carabid beetles will eat nearly anything offered, however they typically show food preferences and it is unclear whether or not these feeding habits are typical in nature (Larochelle 1990, Tooley and Brust 2002). Prey preferences can change throughout their life cycle based on nutritional needs or a change in the resources or environment.
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