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Beetles are considered primitive “mess-and-soil” pollinators that may pollinate as they move from flower to flower consuming nectar, pollen, flower parts, or special food bodies. Because flower-visiting beetles are less active on flowers than are many flies, butterflies, and bees they are thought to be less effective pollinators. Species within the click beetles (Elateridae), scarab beetles (Scarabaeidae), checkered beetles (Cleridae), sap beetles (Nitidulidae), leaf beetles (Chrysomelidae), rove beetles (Staphylinidae), blister beetles (Meloidae), and long-horned beetle (Cerambycidae) families are known to use floral resources. Tumbling flower beetles (Mordellidae), false blister beetles (Oedemeridae) and soft-winged flower beetles (Melyridae) are known to feed on flowers.

Although beetles are the largest order of insects they are not considered as important to pollination in temperate regions as they are in the tropics. However, it is estimated that there are 52 native plant species pollinated by beetles in North America north of Mexico. There are no crops in the U.S. known to be pollinated by beetles except for the native paw paw. More research is needed.

Beetle families and genera often visiting flowering plants and their larval / adult food (click on the insect names in table to view images if available):

FamilyGenusLarval hostsAdult food
Buprestidae  Agrilus Acer, Salix pollen, nectar
Anthaxia trunks and roots foliage, fungi
Cleridae Trichodes parasitoid of bees pollen, insects
Cantharidae Podabrus small invertebrates small invertebrates
Melandryidae Xylita conifer fungus conifer fungus
Acmaeops Pinus, Picea, Abies, Tsuga Asteraceae, Rosaceae, Apiaceae
Cosmosalia Pinus, Picea,Populus, Alnus Asteraceae, Rosaceae,
    Liliaceae, Fabaceae
Gnathacmaeops Pinus, Picea Asteraceae, Apiaceae,
Julodia Pinus, Picea,Populus, Abies, Salix Asteraceae, Rosaceae,
    Apiaceae, Fabaceae
Monochamus Pinus, Picea, Abies pine needles and cones
Pachyta Pinus, Picea, Abies, Psuedotsuga Apiaceae
Pygoleptura Pinus, Picea, Populus Abies Apiaceae
Stenocorus Acer, Tsuga, Fraxinus, Asteraceae, Rosaceae,
    Apiaceae, Fabaceae, Rubiaceae
Bromius Epilobium spp. Epilobium spp.
Donacia dicotyledons dicotyledons
Syneta Abies, Larix, Piceae, Pinus Abies, Larix, Piceae, Pinus
Coccinellidae Coccinella Aphidae Aphidae
Meloidae Epicauta parasitoid of bees and grasshoppers Fabaceae, Asteraceae
Mordellidae Mordella fungus pollen, nectar, flower parts