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Ground Beetle.webp

CLASS - Insecta ORDER - Coleoptera FAMILY - Carabidae




(Over 25,000 species)



Representative species - Black ground beetles, Harpaulus spp; Caterpillar hunter, Calasoma scrutator (Fabri- cius); Pincher beetles, Scarites spp.; and the Stink beetles, Nomius pygmaeus (Dej.).


Egg - Usually laid in ground.


Larva - Grub-like in appearance or worm-like. Lives in ground, decaying wood or within food materials. Dirty white/yellow to black in color.


Pupa - Quiet stage during transformation between larva and adult - occurs in a cocoon.


Adult - Fertile males and females. TYPE MOUTHPARTS - Chewing DESCRIPTION

Adult - 1/16” - 1-3/8” long, body elongated and somewhat flattened, usually shiny black or dark brown in color, but occasionally patterned and/or brightly colored. They have hard shell-like wing covers. Abdomen usually widest part of body, thorax smaller and head usually the narrowest part. Several species can fly. Typically live on/in the ground under rocks, leaves, mulch, stones, wood, logs or other debris. Only a few species fly and are attracted by lights (especially blue neon lights). Most enter buildings by crawling inside through window and door gaps, cracks and crevices, so seal, screen and caulk. After the fall rains some of these beetles may enter homes and/or buildings in large numbers. Some come inside in the hot, dry summer seeking moisture. They are basically beneficial natural pest control agents in agro-ecosystems.


Larva - Grub or worm-like in appearance. Size varies depending on species and climatic conditions. Usually found in or on the ground or where food is available.


Pupa - Various sizes and shapes for their cocoons.


Egg - Eggs laid in various numbers and locales, depending on species.


LENGTH OF LIFE CYCLE - About one year for most species.


HABITAT - Usually found on the ground under stones, logs, leaves, bark, debris or running about on the ground. Mostly nocturnal (active at night) insects that prefer dark places. Some are attracted to light at night. Once inside they usually wander around aimlessly until they die. Find and remove any reservoir.


NATURE OF INJURY - Basically visual annoyance only. They give off a very unpleasant odor when handled or crushed. Nearly all are nocturnal and predaceous on other insects which crawl around on the ground at night. No-tillage practices result in greater Ground beetle abundance than conventional tillage.


HARBORAGE POINTS - Will occasionally invade and are then found in basements, dark closets and under rugs, on walls, ceilings and furniture.



Outdoors: Since most of the ground beetles enter from the outside, the physical structure plays an important part of the control program. Lightly dust with talcum or medicated powder or Comet® or food-grade DE or spray them with or Not Nice to Bugs® or diluted Safe Solutions, Inc. Enzyme Cleaners. Caulk and seal


off all points of entry for this is the most important control procedure. The next steps is to eliminate attractants, turn off bright lights at night, clean up all items/debris/boards or other objects next to the structure, or in the yard under which they can hide during the day. Store firewood as far away as possible. Change lighting to yellow bulbs and/or sodium vapor lamps. It is best not to control beneficial predators.


Indoors treatment should be limited to vacuuming up the adults and properly disposing of the disposable vacuum bag. Carefully inspect all possible hiding areas such as behind furniture, in closets, beneath edges of carpeting and other cracks or crevices. Then carefully caulk or seal all cracks and crevices and other openings. Note: I have found that simply lowering the temperature with air conditioning removes most of these pests. Remove the rest by using a vacuum, broom and dust pan or a piece of tissue. Install duct tape, sticky-side up.

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