Katherine Nesheim is doing her graduate work on parasitoid wasps, and is very interested in insects. Her love of the subject is apparent in her portfolio.
By Katherine Nesheim
We all know that butterflies and honeybees are key flower pollinators here in Columbus, but did you know that other types of insects are crucial to pollination as well? Examples of these alternative pollinators include beetles, ants, and native wild bees.
Pollen may account for up to 50% of the diet of Coleomegilla maculata, the Twelve-Spotted Lady Beetle, seen here exploring a tulip.
Beetles pollinate many different types of flowers. They are often referred to as “mess-and-spoil” or “mess-and-soil” pollinators, due to their habit of consuming the flower’s petals and pollen and leaving behind a trail of frass (insect feces). For some beetles, such as the Twelve-Spotted Lady Beetle Coleomegilla maculata, pollen is an essential source of nutrition in the early spring before other food sources are available.