Beetles are an incredibly diverse group with over 350,000 species that have been discovered worldwide. They were some of the first insect pollinators of flowering plants opening the door to this amazing plant-insect relationship around 130 million years ago. Many ancient groups of plants that we can find living today, like magnolias, are still commonly pollinated by beetles.
Because beetles are so diverse it is difficult to narrow down what types of flowers they are attracted to. But flowers that are commonly visited by beetles are often bowl shaped and white to green in color. They will typically open during the day and will be strongly scented. With odors ranging from spicy, sweet, musky, or fermented. The flowers may be large and solitary, like magnolia and tulip trees, or small and clustered like goldenrod.
Beetles are often referred to as ‘mess and soil pollinators’ because they often feed on flower petals and leave behind holes, plant parts, and frass (insect droppings). Because of this, many beetle pollinated plants have evolved to have thick, leathery petals which are more tolerant of feeding.