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ground beetles

Introduction

Ground beetles are a very common family of beetle that includes thousands of species. As their name suggests they are found living and invading the surface of the ground. They are mainly a predatory species and help to control the populations of nuisance insects. Ground beetles are found living throughout the entire state of Missouri.

Recognition

Ground beetles are a fairly large species of beetle, adults range in size from 1/8th to 1 inch in length. They are generally brown or black in color with metallic green or blue markings. They have shell-like wings covers and their wings often have longitudinal grooves on them. They have powerful mandibles and 3 pairs of long thin legs that allow them to run very quickly.

Their larvae are grub-like in appearance. Ground beetle larvae have specialized pincher like mouthparts, six legs, and are black, brown, cream, or tan in color.

Biology

Each specific species of ground beetle has their own unique life cycle, but in general ground beetles go through a complete metamorphosis. Complete metamorphosis means that they develop over time through 4 life stages- egg, larvae, pupa, and lastly adult. Females lay their eggs, the larvae hatch and shed their skins multiple times until they grow big enough to pupate. After a period of time they will emerge and once they become sexually mature are considered to be an adult.

Habits

Ground beetles are nocturnal, this means that they are most active at night; many species are attracted to lights. During the day ground beetles hide in dark moist areas like under wood piles, logs, rocks, mulch, and in grassy areas. Ground beetles are a beneficial species preying upon and feeding on other types of insects and small invertebrate animals. Ground beetles are found at their highest numbers in the spring, summer, and early fall.

Ground beetles are drawn to outdoor lighting and will crawl underneath of doors and through the spaces around windows. Once inside your home they may take up residence in basements or crawl spaces and can be found underneath of boxes and other stored items.

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Prevention

The best way to prevent problems with ground beetles in your home is to make changes around it to help prevent them from gaining entrance and taking up residence inside of your house. Install door sweeps underneath of all exterior doors and seal any gaps found around exterior doors. Inspect your home’s windows and make sure that all screens are intact, along with caulking gaps found around exterior windows. Inside of basements and crawl spaces reduce humidity levels by installing and using dehumidifiers.

Control

The most effective way to control ground beetles around your property and in your home is through the help of a professional pest control expert. At Rottler Pest & Lawn Solutions a trained technician will inspect your home and find all the areas where they are living. If treatment for these pests is needed we will do so through our year-round home pest control services; treatment may include the applications of residual insecticides around the foundation of your home.

Sources

http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/insects/find/ground-beetles/

https://nature.mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/field-guide/ground-beetles

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