We just came from doing yardwork at our rental house in Arlington, and while there we found these beetles all over everything, especially the numerous dried stalks and seedpods of the cleome (tenants apparently know far less about gardening than we thought!) They were all sizes, most were shaped like ladybugs, but these have different markings and some were more umm... shield shaped? Another pic follows. I think they aren't good, mostly because there were so, so many.
The largest bug in the first picture with the yellow dot in the middle of its back is not a beetle at all, though it looks like one. It is a Harlequin Bug, Murgantia histrionica. They are agricultural pests, but I imagine they could do quite a bit of damage to ornamentals if they turned their attention towards them.
The bugs that look like bees are the same Harlequin bugs, but in the nymph stage. Not sure about the lady-bug like insect.
Thank you Greg, you are right on. We were researching for beetles and never considered "bugs". It is so interesting that these things chose this summer, our first at renting the house to tenants who let all kinds of weeds achieve bush status, including poke weed! I was puzzled that the cleome were all parched and dead when I thought they should still be flowering, but now I know why - these bugs sucked them dry.