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Ground Beetle

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Ground Beetle

There are more than 2,200 species of ground beetle in North America, making it one of the largest beetle groups on the continent. As their name implies, adult ground beetles spend most of their day in the ground where they live and breed in the soil. 

Ground beetles are nocturnal. During the day, you might find them outside hiding under rocks, mulch and other plant detritus. At night, you might spot them gathering around outdoor lighting or brightly lit windows as they are attracted to light. 

What Do Ground Beetles Look Like?

Though there can be a slight variation in body shape and coloring, most types of ground beetles in North America are shiny, black and have ridged wing covers, though some come in bright, metallic colors like green or blue with red and gold markings. Most types of ground beetle also have a smaller head than their thorax and threadlike antennae. Ground beetles can range in size from 1/8 of an inch to a full inch in length. 

Ground beetles are sometimes confused with certain kinds of cockroaches, like the Oriental cockroach since both are shiny and black. You can tell the difference by looking at their wings: beetles have hard wing covers, while cockroaches have leathery, soft wings. Ground beetles are also often mistaken for roaches because they are nocturnal, and move quickly when discovered.  

What Do Ground Beetles Eat?

Ground beetles have powerful jaws that they use for chewing. They primarily feed on common invertebrate pests like ants, aphids, caterpillars, maggots, slugs and worms. As a result, they are often categorized as beneficial insects since they eat pest insect species. Depending on the species of ground beetle, some will exclusively feed on one type of pest, while others may feed more generally on a wide range of insects. Some ground beetle species eat seeds, shoots and pollen of plants rather than other insects. Certain species of ground beetle can ingest as much as 4 times their own body weight in food daily. 

Are Ground Beetles Dangerous?

Ground beetles pose no threat to humans in terms of disease spread or harmful bites. They don’t damage lawn grasses or garden plants. A few species of ground beetle are known for giving off poisonous, possibly caustic, secretions to intimidate predators. Bombardier beetles combine this secretion with other unstable compounds and then emit this secretion by a small combustion. This makes a loud popping sound accompanied by a cloud of hot, acidic gas that can make small mammals and can completely kill many invertebrates. For humans, being “bombed” by a bombardier beetle is unpleasant and even painful, but not dangerous or deadly. 

For the most part, the majority of species of ground beetle are considered beneficial as they eat other pest species. They can become a nuisance pest during mid to late summer when they are in abundance and tend to flock around foundations and can even find their way inside your home. 

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The creator of this review received compensation by RMICPA, LLC on behalf of Terminix®. This review is the opinion of its creator and its claims are not endorsed or evaluated by RMICPA, LLC.

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