I found this bug crawling around on one of my pepper plants this week, and I wondered what it was, so I took a photo and looked it up.
From what I can tell, this is a soldier beetle, which is a beneficial insect! That’s kind of exciting because every garden insect I’ve looked up so far has turned out either to be a garden pest, or just sort of neutral– not hurting anything, but not helping me out either.
However, this type of beetle not only doesn’t harm the plants, but it eats pest insects such as aphids and caterpillars. All right! Here’s more information from the University of Iowa.