Learning more about what ground beetles are and why they come inside can make them less scary and provide insight into infestation prevention.
In this guide on how to get rid of ground beetles, we’ll cover:
- What are ground beetles?
- What attracts ground beetles?
- What does a ground beetle infestation look like?
- Are ground beetles harmful?
- How to prevent ground beetles?
What are Ground Beetles?
The name “ground beetle” is an umbrella term for one of the most prominent insect families. Also known by the scientific family name, Carabidae, there are over 40,000 species of ground beetles worldwide, with over 2,000 species in North America alone.
Ground beetles are easily mistaken for cockroaches, carpet beetles, and other household pests due to their rounded body shapes. Nearly all types of ground beetles exhibit a small head, six legs, and antennas. Ground beetles also have wings and wing covers but are unable to fly.
Although it’s common for ground beetles to have dark black or brown bodies, some may have a shell with metallic blues, greens, and bronze. Species range in size from 2mm to over 35mm (approximately ⅛ inch to 1 inch) in length.
What Attracts Ground Beetles?
Ground beetles don’t typically make their way inside a building unless enticed. One common reason is to search for food supply, and it’s common for them to move indoors during the warmer months (April through October). Ground beetles prefer feeding on crumbs, seeds, and small bugs. Because of this, other indoor pests can also pose a risk of ground beetle infestation.
Ground beetles are also attracted to bright lights. If you have outdoor lighting on a porch or driveway near entry points like open windows and doors, this can create a hotspot for beetle activity. Beetles are more active at night, making white and yellow lights all the more alluring.
What Does a Ground Beetle Infestation Look Like?
There are several identifying factors in a ground beetle infestation, including:
- Finding beetles in moderate to large numbers around the home. You may notice one or two in different rooms or find groups of ground beetles, especially near cracks, crevices, or small openings in the foundation, and accumulated debris like chopped wood piles or trash.
- Smelling a strong odor. Some ground beetles release a foul scent when they feel threatened.
- Hearing popping sounds. Ground beetles will raise the end of their body when threatened, releasing odors and creating a popping sound.
Are Ground Beetles Harmful?
Despite their appearance, ground beetles are hardly dangerous to humans or pets. They aren’t known to carry any diseases, and while they can bite and sometimes pinch if threatened, they rarely ever do. Being ingested by a dog or cat is also harmless for the most part, although it may cause an upset stomach.
Along with this, ground beetles don’t cause harm to structures, furniture, materials, or clothing. Some people even keep these insects as pets! Regardless, large numbers of ground beetles in the home can become a nuisance, even if they are just wandering around in search of little bugs to snack on.
How to Prevent Ground Beetles?
The best way to prevent ground beetles is to minimize attractors. Keeping the attic, basement, and other areas of the home free from small bugs, including dead bugs and larvae, can deter beetles from entering to find food. Moth larvae, for example, can show up in infested food boxes and other hidden areas like cabinets and pantries.
Be aware of cracks in your home’s foundations and other openings that let insects in. Fixing these issues can tremendously reduce the chance of infestation. Keeping doors and windows shut, especially at night, is another essential habit for keeping out unwelcome pests.