Beetles: Facts, Identification & Control

Beetles belong to the insect order Coleoptera.
This is the largest order of insects.
There are more than a quarter of a million species of beetles in the world.

In North America scientists have identified more than 25,000 beetle species.
Sometimes people mistake cockroaches for beetles.
If the beetle is an adult, it can usually be identified by looking at the wings.
Most adult beetles have two pairs of wings.
The back wings are used for flying.
They stay folded on the insect's body when it is not flying.
The front wings are called elytra. These front wings are often very hard.
The beetle folds the front wings so they cover the back wings.
Most adult beetles seem to have a line down their back where the two front wings meet.
Beetles come is many shapes.
Some, like the click beetles, are long & slender.
Some beetles like lady beetles & June beetles (also known as June bugs) have an oval or rounded shape.
There are even beetles that resemble spiders.

Beetles Life Cycle

Beetles develop in a four-stage life cycle. Scientists call this a Complete Metamorphosis.
The stages are Egg, Larva, Pupa, & Adult.
The length of the life cycle also varies according to the type of beetle.
Some beetles develop very quickly & they can produce more than one generation each year.
Others, like the wood-boring beetles can take several years to develop from an egg to an adult insect.
The length of the life cycle also depends on the amount of food that is available for the larvae to eat.

Beetles feed on many different plant & animal materials.
Adult beetles often deposit their eggs near the food that the larvae will eat when they come out of the eggs.
Some beetles are destructive pests.
Carpet beetle larvae eat natural fibers & feathers.
They often damage woolens & other fabrics.
Other beetles, like the Lyctidae, feed on hardwoods and bamboo.
These pests attack furniture & other items made of wood.
Some, like the flour beetles & the grain beetles, attack food products in homes. They also damage food in production facilities & stores. Some beetles damage lawns & landscapes. Immature June beetles, called grubs, attack the roots of grass.
The elm leaf beetle damages trees by eating the leaves.

Many beetles are beneficial insects.
The lady beetle (often called ladybug) feeds on plant pests like aphids & mealybugs.
Gardeners appreciate these beetles & try to keep them in the garden.
Sometimes beetles, including lady beetles & ground beetles, can become nuisances.
In the late summer & fall, homeowners can find hundreds of these beetles clustered on the outside of the home.
The beetles are trying to invade homes for shelter through the winter.