Approximately 1 cm (½”) in length, the adult soldier beetle has a narrow, black abdomen and bright red head or thorax. The soldier beetle larva is various shades of orange with black markings.
Soldier beetles are rather mercenary in their dietary preferences; they’re just as likely to hunt the good bugs as they are the bad bugs. Even so, soldier beetles deserve to be welcomed into any garden. They help control pests such as aphids and many types of caterpillars, grasshopper eggs and beetle larvae, among other insects around the garden.
Because soldier beetles supplement their diet with pollen, golden rod and catnip, hydrangea, milkweed and wild lettuce help to attract these insects.