Monday, September 12, 2011

Hermit Flower Beetle ~ Osmoderma eremicola

Hermit Flower Beetle ~ Osmoderma eremicola


We found this large scarab beetle in our back yard near the end of August. The shiny black, 1 inch long beetle was in our dry woodland near the ground.

Also called the "Odor of Leather" beetle for its so called scent that smells like leather. (BugGuide.net)
Their habitat is in woodlands where adult beetles lay their eggs in rotting wood. The developing larvae feed on the decomposing wood.

We found this beetle in the very area in our yard where we have brought in and partially buried old logs on the ground to mimic a natural woodland.

Rotting logs provide nutrients to the soil as they decompose, keep the soil moist, and prevent erosion on slopes. They also provide very important habitat for many insects, both as a food source and for overwintering. We have planted native woodland shrubs and perennials around the logs and they do grow much faster than the same species that aren't planted near the rotting logs.

After about three years of laying our first log in our backyard, the native shrubs grew around them providing cover for woodpeckers. Downy, Hairy and Pileated Woodpeckers come and peck away at the logs seeking out insect larvae (and possibly the huge protein-rich larvae of the Hermit Flower Beetle).

If you have a place in your landscape to put one or more logs on the ground, you will be providing valuable habitat to insects and food for birds.