Happy Beetle, Happy Beaches; Scientists Embrace Return of Big-Jawed Bugs

The small, light-colored beetles flitting across the sand on a stretch of south shore beach on Martha’s Vineyard had long crawled under the radar. But when Tim Simmons saw several such beetles on an August day in 1989, he started to celebrate.

Not Just Tigers, Poachers Target Beetles, Too

Northeastern beach tiger beetles on Martha’s Vineyard have survived hurricanes and northeasters, parasitic moths and erosion. But there is yet another threat: tiger beetle collectors.

Magnolia Magic

Magnolia trees would do well to befriend beetles but leave bees behind.

Why should magnolias favor one insect over the other? It’s a question of co-evolution. Bees were not around when magnolias first developed. In fact, they are Johnny-come-latelies, evolutionarily speaking.

Beetles beat out the bees in the history books because beetles evolved simultaneously with flowering plants. This evolution occurred many millions of years ago, taking place earlier than the development of their buzzing brethren. 

How Much Lawn?

For a homeowner, especially one with a fondness for gardening and landscaping, winter is the season for making plans and thinking about the possibilities of the coming year. As you contemplate your yard this winter, here’s a question to ask yourself: “How much lawn do I really need?” Modern patterns of homebuilding and landscaping tend to make sod-grass lawn the default use for any available space.

Beetle Mania

These brilliant beetles are easy to spot and hard to forget.

Spots are the way to identify the six-spotted green tiger beetle, but don’t take the name too literally. The beautiful beetles defy the confines of their given name.

For instance, don’t waste time counting spots for an identity confirmation. The six-spotted green tiger beetle can have as few as zero or as many as 10 white spots on their hard, outer wings.

Airport Clears Habitat Land

Airport Clears Habitat Land

Mitigation Plan Saves Rare Plants Alongside Purple Tiger Beetles; Sandy Pathways Are Created Across West Tisbury Road

By James Kinsella
Gazette Senior Writer

Consider the outlook of a purple tiger beetle living at the Martha's Vineyard Airport.

For the beetle, life has been good. The climate is agreeable. Its ancestors have made their home there for generations. Best of all, there's been a nice sandy path where the beetle, a carnivorous sort, can more easily spot its meals moving along.

Beetle Mania

“And now, here they are: the beetles!” (Insert soundtrack of hysterical screams.)

Don’t faint, and don’t expect to see Paul, Ringo, George, and John — the beetles that I am talking about are the ones you would have had a much better chance of seeing in the past few weeks.

Arboretum Guards Against Nasty Beetle Loose on Mainland Wood

Meet the beetles. The invasive exotic ones, that is. There is the goldenhaired bark beetle, the six-tooth bark beetle, the Mediterranean pine engraver beetle and the most dreaded of them all: the Asian long-horned beetle, which arrived on American shores a decade ago the way many foreign threats do, hiding in wood pallets.

At the Polly Hill Arboretum, collections and grounds manager Tom Clark and collections management intern Alyssa Janilla have been on guard for the unwelcome arrival of the voracious bugs by participating in a USDA monitoring program.

Light Fever

We are all fired up at Felix Neck!

And why shouldn’t we be? Summer staff is here, camp is going strong and we are getting ready for the big parade next week. But it isn’t just the kids and counselors who are animated.

Our fields are full of light and love in the form of bright beetles. I know exactly what Bishop Reginald Heber was experiencing when he observed, “Before, beside us, and above, the firefly lights his lamp of love.”