Beneficial Beetles

Ground Beetles (family Carabidae) are ground dwelling, night active predators. Many species cannot fly, and so both adults and larva spend their entire lives in and on the soil. They eat slugs, ground dwelling pest insects and also weed seeds.

The very common Rain Beetle (Pterostichus melanarius) © theobroma85, some rights reserved (CC-BY-NC)

Ground beetles can be small, or very large. They come in black, brown, and a range of iridescent purples and greens! You will often find them running along the ground, and hiding under mulch. They have large, forward facing jaws, sometimes modified for reaching into snail shells.

The Narrow-collared Snail-eating Beetle (Scaphinotus angusticollisa) © amanda_howe, some rights reserved (CC-BY-NC)

They are often found in farms and gardens where soil is well cared for. Adults can live for 2-3 years, if they are not killed by tillage. They reproduce slowly, with only 1 generation of new ground beetles per year, so protecting those present in your farm or garden is key. Provide them with refuges of undisturbed soil, cool soil with mulch, and reduce tillage when possible.

The pupal stage of a ground beetle - easily killed by tillage!
© Bonnie Zand, some rights reserved (CC-BY-NC)

More information on ground beetles can be found here: https://eorganic.org/node/33936

And here is information on creating a protective habitat to support ground beetles in a farm setting (a beetle bank!): https://beebettercertified.org/habitat-highlight-beetle-banks

Posted by bzand bzand, September 14, 2021 23:12

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