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Beetles

Beetles_hagerstown-pest-controlBeetles belong to the insect order Coleoptera. This is the largest order of insects. There are more than a quarter million species of beetles in the world. In North America, scientists have identified more than 25,000 beetle species.

Sometimes people mistake cockroaches for beetles. If the beetle is an adult, it can usually be identified by looking at the wings.

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. 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. Most adult beetles seem to have a line down their back where the two front wings meet.

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.

Many beetles are beneficial insects. The lady beetle (often called ladybug) feeds on plant pests like aphids and mealybugs. Gardeners appreciate these beetles and try to keep them in the garden.

Sometimes beetles, including lady beetles and ground beetles, can become nuisances. In the late summer and fall, homeowners can find hundreds of these beetles clustered on the outside of the home. The beetles are trying to invade homes for shelter through the winter or are looking to escape inclement conditions.

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