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I have a young peach tree that has a bug on it I can't identify. It's a flying beetle type insect...black wings and red head. There isn't any fruit on the tree of course. The bugs are on the leaves but don't seem to be eating the leaves. They fly around the tree and are not constantly there. They seem to come and go. Any ideas?

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There have been several recent inquiries on beetles in peach trees that are similar in description to your's.  I think it may be a soldier beetle.  Soldier beetles are predators on small insects, such as aphids.  It is likely that the peach tree had some green peach aphids earlier this summer.  Aphids suck the sap from leaves and cause the leaves to curl.  Aphids produce sticky honeydew.  I think that the aphids attracted the soldier beetles to the peach trees.  The soldier beetles would eat the aphids, so they are a beneficial insect.

Here is a link to an image of a solider beetle:
http://farm1.static.flickr.com/219/502648903_218d90d7e9.jpg?v=0
It is not the same species as the one in your peach trees, but it is similar.

Posted on 25 Jul 2008

Diane Alston
Hort-Entomologist Specialist

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