Common Red Soldier Beetle

Common Red Soldier Beetle ©Philip Precey

Common Red Soldier Beetle

Scientific name: Rhagonycha fulva
The Common Red Soldier Beetle is also known as the 'Bloodsucker' for its striking red appearance, but it is harmless. It is a beneficial garden insect as the adults eat aphids, and the larvae eat other pests.

Species information

Statistics

Length: 1cm

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

June to August

About

The Common Red Soldier Beetle is a medium-sized, narrow beetle commonly found on open-structured flowers, such as daises, Cow Parsley and Hogweed, during the summer. It can be spotted on grasslands, along hedgerows, and in woodland, parks and gardens. Adults feed on aphids, and also eat pollen and nectar. Larvae prey on ground-dwelling invertebrates, such as slugs and snails, and live at the base of long grasses. The adults spend much of their short, summer lives mating, and can often be seen in pairs.

How to identify

The Common Red Soldier Beetle has a narrow, rectangular body and longish antennae. It is bright orangey-red with black marks near the tips of the wing cases. There are about 40 species of soldier beetle in the UK, displaying various colour combinations of black, red and orange.

Distribution

Widespread.

Did you know?

Soldier beetles are so-named for their various combinations of black-and-red markings, which are reminiscent of a soldier's uniform.

How people can help

Our gardens are a vital resource for wildlife, providing corridors of green space between open countryside, allowing species to move about. In fact, the UK's gardens provide more space for nature than all the National Nature Reserves put together. So why not try planting native plants and trees to entice birds, mammals and invertebrates into your backyard? To find out more about encouraging wildlife into your garden, visit our Wild About Gardens website: a joint initiative with the RHS, there's plenty of facts and tips to get you started.