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I popped in to the new section of Cardiff’s Cathays Cemetery yesterday for a mooch. Around the old graves, where last week there had been a colourful mix of long grasses and wildflowers, the strimmers had been in and done their destructive work (why? why? why?) so there wasn’t much insect life to be found. However, I spotted a burst of bright yellow – one of the Santolina species of shrubs – in the middle of an adjoining section so, thinking there might be a bee or two, I went to investigate.

160704 red soldier beetles (7)

Well, I couldn’t believe my eyes! It was seething with Common red soldier beetles (Rhagonycha fulva). There must’ve been hundreds of them, scurrying from flower to flower, feasting on the obviously delicious pollen and nectar, and … um … creating more soldier beetles. Everywhere I looked there were couples. As I later read on the Wildlife Trust website, the ‘adults spend much of their short, summer lives mating and can often be seen in pairs.’ Ain’t that the truth!

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