Ground Beetles

(Carabidae family)



Ground beetles are very common outdoor insects that occasionally become pests by wandering into houses and buildings by mistake.

They do not damage household structures or furniture and are harmless to people and pets.

They are actually beneficial because they feed on insect larvae. However, large numbers are occasionally present and they become more annoying than beneficial.

These beetles make up one of the largest groups of beetles in North America, with more than 2200 species.

Although there is some variation in their

body shape and coloring, most are shiny and black (some are metallic), and have ridged wing covers.

Another characteristic common to most beetles is a smaller head than thorax, and threadlike antennae.

ground beetle

They may be confused with cockroaches such as the oriental roach (both are shiny and very dark) but beetles have hardened front wings where roaches either have leathery wings or no wings.

Adults are active at night and tend to hide under rocks during the day.

They will run when exposed.

They come out at night to feed on unsuspecting insects.

Likely targets include caterpillars, root maggots, slugs and snails, and other soft bodied insects.

One group of beetles, called bombadier beetles, have an interesting defensive mechanism.

When threatened, they raise the end of their body and fire a chemical gas with popping sound and smoke like puffs. The gas is irritating to enemies such as toads and would-be collectors.

Adults may wander into homes by crawling through small openings or under doors.

They will not stay inside-they prefer the outdoors. Since ground beetles are beneficial insects, control is not warranted.

However, if they are creating a nuisance, move or remove hiding places next to the house such as log piles, mulch, and debris around the perimeter.

Caulking and weatherstripping will close some entrance points.

Ground Dwelling Beetles found indoors may be swept up and discarded.

If beetles are creating a nuisance by flying to lights at night, repositioning the lighting or changing white lights to yellow may reduce the attraction.

ground beetle larvae

The beetle larvae, like adults, are important predators.

The larvae live below ground, where they use their large pincher-like mandibles to devour soil-dwelling insects.

WHAT IS A GROUND BEETLE:

Like all beetles,they have chewing mouthparts and hardened front wings (elytra) that meet in a straight line down the back of the abdomen when closed.

These beetles are often black and shiny, but a few species have bright colors.

They have long, slender legs and antennae, and a head that is narrower than their thorax. They may closely resemble their relatives the Tiger Beetles (Cincindelidae), but tiger beetles can be distinguished by the overlapping sickle-shaped jaws which do not occur on ground beetles.

Most beetles in the Carabidae family do not climb very well, and tend to be found on or near the ground.

Typical Ground Beetle larvae are long and slender with dark coloration.

ground beetle larvae LIFE CYCLE:

After mating, female beetles lay eggs in the soil. They place them one by one, not in groups.

They can lay many dozens of eggs over the summer.

Like all beetles, these ground dwellers have "complete" metamorphosis with egg, larval, pupal, and adult stages.

In most species, females lay eggs in soil.

Upon hatching, larvae feed and grow for 1-2 years (in most species) and pupate in small chambers made of soil.

Many species spend the winter in these chambers, and the adults emerge in springs.

Most adult ground beetles will live for 2 to 3 years.

ground beetle

ECOLOGY:

Most are fast-moving predators that feed on small insects, spiders, and other arthropods.

They usually hunt at night by patrolling the ground, and are found in a variety of habitats, including farmland, wooded areas, and lawns.

During the day, most beetles hide under rocks, logs, and fallen leaves.

They seldom fly.

A few beetles in this family, such as the seed corn beetle (Stenolophus lecontei), are herbivores.

The beetle larvae are also predators, and most species hunt in the same way as the adults, by patrolling at night and hiding during the day, although many larvae tend to remain undercover even while hunting.

Some hunt under fallen leaves, others hunt underground.

Ground Beetles and Other Beneficial Insects

Build a Beneficial Insectary

Native Flowers Attract Insects and Birds

Offer Water for All Your Wildlife

Feeding Birds


God offers many things for us to enjoy and as helpers. As his people, we only need to open our eyes look around.



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