Q: What are the beetles that gather by the dozens in magnolia blossoms? Are they harmful to the tree?
A: Magnolias are among the most primitive plants we use in our landscapes. Dinosaurs probably enjoyed their shade. They developed the organs we call flowers long before bees and butterflies came on the scene. As a result, magnolia flowers grew to attract a different kind of pollinator: beetles. Beetles love to eat magnolia pollen, so by visiting the flowers on nearby magnolia trees they accomplish the pollination vital for making magnolia seeds. Lots of different beetles visit magnolia flowers, all looking for a meal and inadvertently performing a valuable service.