This spring, I saw the first oil beetles in mid April. I’m coming back to them today, because I’ve witnessed something I’d call, forgive the anthropomorphism, a bit of ‘poetic justice’.
When the tiny larvae of oil beetles hatch, they seek out flowers and lay in wait for solitary bees. They attach themselves to a bee and hitch a lift to the bee’s nest, where they fatten up on their eggs before pupating to emerge the following season as an adult.
Parasites! The cuckoo of the beetle world! As if bees have not enough trouble without this….!
Perfectly natural. Part of ecology. Life cycles of wonder and mystery.
Today I watched as the life of an adult oil beetle was made a misery by yet another insect. As this male Meloe proscarabaeus wanders around on a dry footpath looking for a bit of tasty greenery, pesky little flies keep bothering it.
I wonder what the flies get out of that?