On Saturday, September 8, 2012, I spotted this unusual insect gathering nectar from our garlic chive blossoms. At first glance I thought it was some kind of wasp, but upon closer inspection, I decided that it was some kind of beetle. (This type of visual imitation, by the way, is called biomimicry. In this specific case, this beetle evolved to resemble a wasp as a deterrent to possible predators.) After some online research, I discovered that what we had here is a Megacyllene robiniae –aka a Locust Borer Beetle. [Photo credit – Alan Jones].
This convincingly camouflaged beetle shouldn’t be a problem in our garden, as this native insect only lays its eggs on, and then subsequently damages, black locust trees. It was on the chive blossoms simply to feed, and, coincidentally, to pollinate. So, as far as we are concerned, this is another beneficial insect helping to tend our garden!
For more info on this insect, see http://www.cirrusimage.com/beetles_locust_borer.htm