The Star-Herald

That seed-eating ground beetle may be your garden’s best friend

It may lack the drama of a lion taking down an antelope on the Serengeti, but that small beetle scuttling through your garden is just as predatory when it comes to going after weed seeds.

“Finding some of these bugs is not bad at all,” said Eric Sideman, organic crop specialist with the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association. “One of the founding principles of organic gardening is taking care of the soil and a spinoff of that is not harming the critters in the soil [because] they are all part of the ecosystem.”

In the case of the ground beetle Harpalus rufipes, they are especially helpful to Maine gardeners and farmers as seed predators.

“The ground beetle seed predators rank up there in my top four ways to manage weed seeds,” said Dr. Eric Gallandt, professor of weed ecology and management at the University of Maine. “In agriculture systems the key to weeds’ success is their ability to scatter their seeds on the surface of the soil [and] when those seeds are on the surface, the seed predators are able to get at them more easily.”

The County is pleased to feature content from our sister company, Bangor Daily News. To read the rest of “That seed-eating ground beetle may be your garden’s best friend,” an article by contributing Bangor Daily News staff writerJulia Bayly, please follow this link to the BDN online.

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