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We have flying, black bugs with orange/red spots by the eyes. They are all over our year old peach trees. Do you have any idea what they could be and how we can get rid of them?

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Please look at the attached photo and see if this is the insect that you are seeing in your peach trees.  If so, this is a soldier beetle (Family Cantharidae).  Soldier beetles are predators of aphids and other small insects.  Did you have aphids on your peach tree?  Aphids are small soft-bodied insects that suck sap from leaves and cause leaves to curl and produce abundant honeydew (sticky substance).  The presence of aphids in the trees could lure the soldier beetles into your trees to find prey.  Soldier beetles are natural, beneficial insects for your peach trees.  They feed on the pest aphids.

Here are a few web page links on soldier beetles for your information:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soldier_beetle
http://www.ca.uky.edu/entomology/entfacts/ef625.asp
http://www.ipm.iastate.edu/ipm/iiin/soldier.html
http://bugguide.net/node/view/118/bgpage

Posted on 7 Jul 2008

Diane Alston
Hort-Entomologist Specialist

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