The question ‘what is a ground beetle?’ is one popular question on the internet, and we @pestclue have decided to break down these facts into simpler forms and explain them to you our viewers.
It will amuse you to know that ground beetles usually secrete a kind of oil-like substance from their bodies as a sort of defense mechanism. It is believed that this oil is a result of the caterpillars they consume in their everyday diet.
What are the Facts About the Ground Beetle?
Today we will be discussing the ground beetles. The ground beetles sometimes referred to as the caterpillar Hunters belong to the order Coleoptera and are incredible creatures.
As you read on, we will be stating how this insect got its name. Their elytra (first pair of wings) which are the hardcovers used to protect the actual wings used for flight are beautiful metallic green.
Looking at their legs you will see that they must achieve some pretty high speeds when running across the ground. And speaking of their legs, their undersides along with their thorax is a wonderful assortment of iridescent rainbows.
These beetles can be really fast I mean they are a type of ground beetle, right? And a lot of ground beetles can Scurry across the ground quite quickly.
They are often found under debris, rocks, logs, and leaf litter, and they love to burrow.
They are often seen climbing up trees and bushes to get to their prey but they are generally ground hunters. Ground beetles are terrestrial hunters and are actually considered beneficial insects.
This of course is because they like to feed on larvae and caterpillars and other things that can harm the agricultural industry and forests, and all sorts of greenery.
They usually feed at night, which makes them nocturnal. Their night diet usually consists of soft-bodied larvae including cankerworms, mealworms, caterpillars, and other larvae.
The ground beetle will also feed on crickets and other things. When a beetle finds its prey, it just quickly overpowers them and starts to shred them into pieces with its powerful jaws. It is actually kind of irritating to watch.
Read also: How To Use the Colorado Potato Beetle Beater
Where Do Ground Beetles Live?
There are about 2,000 different species of ground beetles that can be found in North America. Ground beetles belong to a huge family of beetles. The majority of the United States is inhabited by ground beetles that belong to the family Carabidae.
Since they prefer to live outside they will mostly be found in areas such as:
- Debris that has gathered
- Branches on trees
What Do Ground Beetles Eat?
Ground beetles are notable for having long legs and powerful mandibles, both of which allow them to be voracious predators. These beetles are crucial for the biological control of insect pests on farms because of their role in the food chain.
Adult beetles do the majority of their foraging on the top surface of the soil, but they will occasionally venture up into the leaves to look for food. In addition to the adults, the burrowing larvae of these beetles are useful predators because they seek out and feed on harmful organisms that are found in the soil.
There are many different species of ground beetle, and many of those species have diverse diets, devouring not only other insects (Earthworms, Aphids, Grubs, Insect Larvae, Snails, Maggots, etc) but also the seeds of plants (including weeds).
Read also: Do Larder Beetles Fly?
What Are the Defense Mechanisms Exhibited By the Ground Beetle?
- When these beetles are disturbed they have to activate their defense mechanisms. One of these defense mechanisms of course is those formidable jaws and as you know, they could be pretty nasty and deliver a kind of powerful bite.
- The second mechanism is the ability to emit these foul oils from their joints and maybe other parts of their bodies. It is speculated that they get these oils from consuming caterpillars.
As you might know, a lot of caterpillars have some toxic or noxious chemicals stuffed within their spines to cover their bodies. It is a wonderful defense mechanism. And as we mentioned earlier, this might be how the beetle gets its oils to defend itself.
Their life cycle is generally about a year from egg to adult but the adults can live up to two or three years, which is actually pretty long for beetles.
You can never hate that metallic greenback and the iridescent rainbow-colored thorax. Just really striking colors, especially once the sunlight hits them. As you might know, I am partial to those colors and insects.
What are the Benefits of the Ground Beetle?
Carabids serve a critical function in agricultural fields when it comes to decreasing weeds and insect pests. For the most part, ground beetles are considered opportunistic feeders, but certain species hunt by sight or with unique hair-like appendages on their antennae.
It is common for many species to be termed generalist predators, which means they eat a wide variety of pests including aphids, mites, beetles, and moth larvae. Some snail-eating experts have mouthparts that are expressly designed to eat the creatures.
The practice of eating weed seeds by predators and omnivorous species alike is known as seed predation. It is likely that the amount of weed suppression caused by ground beetle feeding is overestimated, but weed seed predators can have a significant impact on weed management on the farm—without seed predators, weed emergence can rise by as much as 30%.”
Insect prey and weed seeds are often alternated in the diets of many species, allowing predators to take advantage of varying food sources throughout the year. These beetles are able to survive in farm areas where no single pest or weed is accessible as a food source because of this.
Due to their tenacity as generalist predators, ground beetles are an important part of the natural process of pest control in agricultural settings. Pesticides can reduce pest numbers for the duration of the growing season due to their slow reproduction rate.
Do Ground Beetles Bite?
In addition, humans are not susceptible to bites or stings from these insects. The fact that some homeowners mistake the ground beetle for a cockroach or another common household insect makes it difficult to get rid of them.
If ground beetles become a problem within a property, the homeowner should take steps to eliminate as much of the beetle’s natural habitats as is practical and then block any probable entryways leading into the house.
What about you, what other fact do you know about the ground beetle?
If you see one of these beetles on the ground, you know if you are lucky enough, try to have a close look at it, but it is probably going to take off and you probably don’t want to handle it because they do deliver quite a nasty pinch.
Thanks a lot for reading, and if you enjoyed this article do share it with your friends!