Beetles have well-developed antennae and chewing mouthparts, as well as shell-like front wings known as elytra. These front wings are often very hard and appear more like a shell than wings. Most adult beetles seem to have a line down their back where the two front wings meet. The beetle folds the front wings so they cover the back wings. They are durable and waterproof, serving as protection against damage and dehydration. However, unlike many other insects, most beetles are poor fliers.
Beetles develop in a four-stage life cycle. Scientists call this a complete metamorphosis. The stages are egg, larva, pupa and adult. The length of the life cycle also varies according to the type of beetle. Some beetles develop very quickly and they can produce more than one generation each year. Others, like some of the wood-boring beetles can take several years to decades to develop from an egg to an adult insect. The length of the life cycle also depends on the amount of food that is available for the larvae to eat as well as environmental conditions. Adult beetles often deposit their eggs near the food that the larvae will eat when they come out of the eggs.
Some beetles can become destructive pests. Carpet beetle larvae eat natural fibers and feathers. They often damage woolens and other fabrics. Other beetles, like powderpost beetles, feed on hardwoods and bamboo. These pests attack furniture and other items made of wood. Some, like the flour beetles and the grain beetles, attack food products in homes. They also damage food in production facilities and stores. Some beetles damage lawns and landscapes. Immature June beetles, called grubs, attack the roots of grass. The elm leaf beetle damages trees by eating the leaves.
When beetles become a pest problem, your pest management professional will provide a thorough inspection to accurately identify the pest beetle. Based on the inspection findings, your pest management professional will develop an effective treatment plan to resolve the pest pressures that are specific to the situation. Accurate identification of the pest is critical since there are many different species of beetles and the specific details required for treatment must be applied to the beetle or beetles that are causing the problems. Otherwise, incorrect identification can result in a treatment plan that does not work effectively for the species of beetle needing control.