Beetles are the most numerous insects worldwide, with about 400,000 known species. Scientists believe this is not a finite number and that there are still undiscovered species.
As you can guess, their diet varies because of so many different species, and the answer to what do beetles eat is simple. They eat practically everything.
What Do Beetles Like to Eat?
Although there are about 400,000 different beetles, they have the same body structure as most other insects. Therefore, you can distinguish the head with strong jaws, abdomen, and chest on their bodies. They use six legs to move on a solid surface.
Beetles’ bodies are solid, with two wing pairs. The outer ones are smaller, and they serve as protection for the inner wing pair thanks to their hardness. These inner wings many beetles use to fly. Although most insects are dark, black, or brown, you can also find those very brightly colored.
Most beetles are active at night, but species that have chemical protection operate during the day. Remember that they usually time their reproduction so that all adults hatch at once. As a result, you can face a beetle infestation in particular periods of the year. Beetles go through four development stages:
- Egg phase
- Larvae phase
- Pupa phase
- Adult beetle phase
An adult beetle can live on a one-year average. However, some species, especially larger ones, can live even longer. According to the diet, these insects can be:
You can classify the food that beetles eat into several categories.
Animals and other insects
Some beetle species feed on other insects such as:
The water beetle species also feed on crabs and aquatic insects.
Most beetles are herbivores and can destroy plants after consuming:
- Stems and roots
- Seeds and fruit
If you notice holes in the plant’s leaves, you can conclude that the bugs have moved into your garden. Unfortunately, they can damage the whole fruit trees over time.
Certain beetle types feed on wood. Therefore, they can cause grave damage to wooden furniture, beams, and construction wood in your home.
Decomposing organic matter is a favorite food for many beetle species. These include:
- Animal dung
- Rotten leaves and wood
- Dead animals remains
Harm of Beetles
Depending on the beetle type, the damage they can cause also differs. For instance, those living in your garden can cause harvest destruction by making holes in the plant’s leaves. As a result, the leaves will dry out and fall off.
These insects can also damage the plant stem and root, resulting in its death due to nutrition lack. Others will make holes in the fruit, causing the fruit to rot.
Even trees can suffer damage from the beetle’s presence. Whether it is a forest tree or a fruit tree in your garden, the beetle can lead to its death over time.
The female beetles drill the tree bark and lay eggs under it. When the eggs hatch, the larvae dig tunnels feeding on the tree pulp. Such activity will result in trees drying and dying.
The crucial to know is that the tree essentially suffers from the larvae presence under the bark more than from adult beetles feeding on the leaves.
The same can happen with a wooden base in your house, wooden decorations, parquet, and furniture. It is just that the beetle activities won’t lead to the tree death, but the carpentry destruction.
Some flying adult beetle types can also populate your pantry. In that case, female beetles will lay eggs in this room. After hatching, the larvae will have easy access to food, enter animal feed, plant seeds, flour, and other ingredients.
Tips to Getting Rid of Beetles
In the backyard
There are a few natural ways to get rid of beetles from your backyard, including:
- Neem oil – It is a natural repellent and kills more than 200 insect species. On the other hand, it is entirely harmless to children and pets, so you can sprinkle it on the entry points, along the windows and doors edges, or spray it directly on the plants’ leaves. The only problem is that neem oil requires regular use.
- Peppermint oil – It is similar to neem oil. You can apply it without any worries since it is entirely safe for pets and children. The best option is to spray the ventilation with water and oil solution or apply it around windows and doors. The problem with this solution is that this oil can bother people who don’t like the peppermint smell.
- Lavender – Its scent pleases people but repels beetles at the same time. You can use dried lavender flowers to prevent these insects from settling wardrobes and drawers. Another option is to make a mixture of lavender oil and water and spray it all over your home. Since it is non-toxic, you can use this spray often.
- Insect traps – They are effective for crawling insects, so you can place them where you notice beetles moving. These traps emit a smell that attracts bugs, and they get stuck and can’t escape after entering the traps. Although traps are an effective solution, they are not practical because you need to replace them frequently.
- Pyrethrin – This chemical is a compound extracted from chrysanthemum flowers that kills bugs by acting on their nervous system. Although pyrethrin is a good solution, it is messy because you need to clean dead insects often.
- Diatomaceous earth – It consists of fossilized and crushed algae and causes dehydration in insects until their death. It will be enough to sprinkle this product around the house foundation and the entry points to protect yourself from beetles. It is safe for children and animals but can be messy because you need to remove dead insects from time to time.
In the house
Several options will help you get rid of beetles in the house.
- Prevent entry – The best way to get rid of these annoying insects is to prevent them from entering your home. You can achieve this by closing potential entry points.
- Bait stations – The first thing to try once beetles enter your home is to set up bait stations. They have the appearance of a long tube and contain bait that attracts beetles with its scent and kills them quickly. Unfortunately, these stations can be poisonous to pets and children, so you need to be careful where you place them.
- Chemicals – There are several chemical products you can get at your local store. It is enough to spray any of them around the doors and windows, the house roof, and the foundations to prevent the beetle’s invasion and reproduction in your property.
- Hire a professional – One option is to hire professionals to solve the beetle elimination problem for you. Professional teams have experience in killing these insects without harming humans and pets.
Keep your property safe
To ensure that beetles don’t return to your home and yard, you need to pay attention to a few things.
It is essential to remove all food leftovers from work surfaces and put ingredients prone to spoilage in the fridge. Then, store other food in hermetically sealed containers and pay attention to the crumbs since they are a real delicacy for beetles.
It is advisable to keep the trash cans tightly closed and always ensure the lid is attached appropriately. Remember that your pet’s food and water containers can also attract beetles.
It is necessary to regularly check the food you store in the pantry and throw away those that have expired. You also need to look over the original food packages are make sure they are tightly closed. Finally, it is necessary to put the open bag in hermetically sealed containers.
To prevent beetles from entering your house, you need to close the entry points. You can expect cracks to form in the walls over the years, particularly around doors and windows.
Therefore, it is time to inspect the house, check for cracks, and look at the ventilation openings. When you fill the fissure on the wall with mortar and seal the entry points, the beetles won’t be able to endanger your home.
Take care to regularly prune trees and shrubs in the yard if they are near the house. When trees contact a wall, beetles will effortlessly find their way from the tree into your home.
Finally, check wooden floors and decorations often and replace them if you notice any change. Always carefully inspect things before bringing them into the house and avoid pieces containing beetle traces.
Beetles are the most numerous insects group, with over 400,000 species discovered so far. They can harm your home, garden, and yard in a very short time. However, there are ways to deal with these annoying creatures and protect your property by choosing methods that fit you the best.