Protect Your Home or Business From Beetles

General Beetle Control Information

Members of the insect order Coleoptera, beetles are one of the most diverse and populous groups of life forms on Earth.

Beetles constitute over 40% of all insects and over 20% of animal life on the planet, with over 28,000 species estimated to live in North America alone. Though the majority of all beetles are not considered pests, many beetle varieties cause problems for humans.

Due to the immense number of extant species, the organisms feature widely differing characteristics with several key commonalities.


Appearance & Identification

What Do Beetles Look Like?

Though beetles differ greatly in appearance on a species-by-species basis, a number of defining characteristics remain shared between the insects.

As insects, beetles possess three main sections: a head, thorax, and abdomen. The organisms vary in size from .25 mm to 10 cm or more in length. Elytra are hardened wing casings (forewings) unique to members of the order Coleoptera.

The shells protect the flight wings in many species of beetle. In some flightless organisms, the elytra fuse together into a shield-like structure.

Along with the inherent differences between species, sexual dimorphism, or gender-based differences in form and appearance, is widespread among beetles.

Habits & Habitat

Behaviors of beetles are as potentially dissimilar as the appearances of different species; however, movement through flight and communication through pheromones remain common to many types of beetles.

As a result of the vast numbers/species of beetles throughout North America, the insects inhabit extensive and widely differing habitats. Ponds, forests, and coasts harbor corresponding varieties of the insects.

Man-made environments, such as houses and other buildings, may also host beetles. The arthropods fill several distinct niches within New England ecosystems.


What Do Beetles Eat?

The dietary habits of beetles range from plant-based feeding patterns to predatory behaviors. Typical food sources can include:

  • Fungi
  • Moss
  • Leaves
  • Wood
  • Mites
  • Aphids

Diets and feeding methods may also change between larval and adult stages. Some species subsist on a single, specialized source of food, while others are omnivorous. The diverse natural settings throughout New England provide the insects with numerous sources of food and allow populations to thrive.


Understanding reproduction habits is essential for getting rid of beetles. These pests generally exhibit complex mating patterns. The insects display particular behaviors prior to pairings, and ritualized fighting also occurs in many species as males compete for females.

Pheromones also are thought to play large roles in attracting potential mates. Once mating concludes, female beetles lay eggs, which result in larvae. The larvae eventually go into an immobile stage, or pupa, for final development.

After the pupal stage, beetles emerge as adults and repeat the life cycle.

Problems Caused by Beetles

Though some species benefit farmers and gardeners by serving as predators to other pests, many beetles prove nuisances to humans.

Wood-boring beetles, such as members of the family Buprestidae, remain a serious issue throughout New England. The pests feed on timber used in log homes, flooring, siding, and posts, which may cause severe structural damage over time.

Other beetles consume keratin, a fibrous protein found in animal hides and fabrics, for sustenance. Rugs, carpets, linens, and other household cloth products may appeal to the pests as food sources.

Additionally, stored food products like grain, rice, and barley become regular targets for the insects to attack. Damages to agricultural crops and garden plants, painful bites, and blister-inducing secretions are also potential negative effects caused by beetles.

Signs of Infestation & Beetle Control

In addition to visibly sighting the pests, several signs of beetle infestation often exist.

Homeowners may hear chewing sounds and find exit holes when swarms of structurally damaging insects are present. Exit tunnels differ slightly in appearance corresponding with the species causing the holes, which can allow for identification of the responsible pests.

Bite marks in leaves and other plants also frequently indicate the presence of certain types of beetle. When getting rid of beetles, always consult with professionals.

Pest control specialists utilize background information, such as the age of structures, types of wood used, and samples collected on site, to determine species identification and appropriate removal methods.

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