Knowing how to identify ground beetles is your first step to controlling them.
What Do Ground Beetles Look Like?
Ground beetles vary in size and shape, but most are oval and elongated. They range in size from about ¾ inch to almost an inch in length. Most species are black or otherwise dark in color, though certain types of ground beetles feature an iridescent quality characterized by metallic hues of yellow, copper, blue, green, red, orange, or a combination of them all! Like other bugs, a ground beetle’s body is divided into three body parts: head, thorax, and abdomen. They have three pairs of legs and two pairs of wings. The outer wings are hardened and used as protective covers. Because most are predators, they have prominent mandibles for capturing and devouring their prey. Ground beetles can be distinguished from similar-looking species by their ability to run quickly and their tendency to scurry for cover when disturbed.
Ground beetles develop and mature by undergoing complete metamorphosis from egg to adult. Females typically produce one generation of offspring each year and lay their eggs individually in the soil. A single litter of ground beetles contains 30 to 600 offspring that hatch from the eggs as larvae. Ground beetles emerge as adults shortly after completing the pupal stage of the life cycle, which occurs in the soil and is rarely witnessed. Full development from egg to adulthood can take place within a single season. Adult ground beetles typically live for one to four years and are usually most active between the months of April and October.
How Did I Get Ground Beetles
There are more than 800 species of ground beetles, making them the most frequently encountered beetles in yards and gardens. They usually live in the soil under logs, rocks, wood, leaves, boards, and other debris in agricultural areas like fruit orchards, happily eating garden pests and plants. They are very active at night. But they are attracted to light and in the summertime can congregate around well-lit homes and businesses, before entering all at once and creating an infestation. They gain access through cracks, crevices, and other small openings, and can be found hiding in damp basement areas or under objects on the floor.
Where Do Ground Beetles Live?
Ground beetles live and breed in the soil. True to their name, the insects are regularly found on the ground under logs, rocks, wood, leaves, boards, and other debris. Ground beetles commonly reside in agricultural zones like fruit orchards and rank as the most frequently encountered type of beetle in yards and gardens. When the pests move indoors, they can often be found hiding in damp basement areas or under objects on the floor. Most ground beetles are nocturnal creatures that remain hidden during the day. Although they invade buildings from time to time, ground beetles only reproduce outdoors.
Widely regarded as beneficial insects due to their eating habits, ground beetles are predators which feed on common invertebrate pests such as ants, aphids, caterpillars, maggots, slugs, and worms. Certain ground beetle species will eat seeds, shoots, and the pollen of plants rather than feeding on other animals. Some ground beetles can eat as much as four times their own body weight in prey on a daily basis. Gluttons!
Ground beetles actually have many benefits, preying on garden pests like ants, aphids, caterpillars, maggots, slugs, and worms. However, some ground beetles eat the seeds, shoots, and pollen of plants, even eating seeds of corn, potentially destroying a harvest. Ground beetles in homes and businesses can cause alarm when they enter, and some can release odorous secretions which can be unpleasant and create the illusion that your home or business is not clean. The good news is ground beetles can’t reproduce indoors, don’t pose a health threat, and will not damage property. While smaller infestations of ground beetles can be vacuumed up, captured in a container, or caught in sticky traps, larger infestations require the help of a professional pest control exterminator to ensure the proper application of insecticide and to prevent the pests coming back.Not the beetle you have?
How Can I Prevent Ground Beetles?
Ground beetles often gain access to buildings through cracks, crevices, and other small openings. Repairing and sealing these potential entry points will help keep ground beetles and other pests from invading. Other ways to prevent a ground beetle infestation include keeping mulch away from the building foundation and either reducing the level of outdoor lighting within the immediate vicinity of the structure or using yellow light bulbs instead of bright white ones. Also, the yard should remain free of rocks, stones, wood, boards, leaves, and other debris under which ground beetles typically like to live.
We’re passionate about controlling ground beetles in your home or business because we live and work here – it’s our neighborhood, too. With our almost 100 years of experience keeping homes and businesses in Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania safe from pests, Western has the experience you can trust.