Summary: Did you know that coleoptera have been on this earth for about 265 million years? If the name coleoptera means nothing to you, maybe you know them better by their common name: beetles. Beetles make up the largest order of insects, totaling over 350,000 different species.
Such species that make up this order include click beetles, scarab beetles, fireflies, and lady bugs/ladybird beetles. Not to be confused with Lady Bird Johnson. Totally different species.
Coleoptera live in almost every location on earth. The only places they shy away from are ones with frigid temperatures, including Greenland and Antarctica, but they have even been spotted in the peaks of the Himalayas, though such occurrences are rare.
The name coleoptera gives a physical description of the bug. It is a combination of the Greek words for wings and sheath. Beetles derived this name because their front wings serve as a sheath for their hind wings. Coleoptera also have stiff exoskeletons, segmented antennae and mouthparts that enable them to chew their food. Other physical characteristics of beetles can vary greatly, though. For instance, their sizes can range anywhere between 0.3 mm to 200 mm. I'd hate to see a 200-mm beetle crawling around my house. That would be nearly an 8 inch insect hiding under your bed.
Female beetles can lay hundreds or thousands of eggs throughout their lives. The eggs then develop into larvae and may continue this phase for days, months or even years. The appearance of larvae can vary greatly among beetle species. Some look like grubs, others may be flat and some larvae even have tiny legs. The larval stage is one in which beetles grow the most, so they eat as much as they can. This helps them mature into pupa, the last stage before adulthood.
The different species of beetles can feed on a multitude of items. They include stems and roots of plants, decomposing wood, carrion or other insects. Some beetles are also parasites because they feed off of the internal organs of animals.
Here are some interesting facts about coleoptera:
- If you want to study beetles you will study the field of coleopterology, a specialized science for beetles.
- Coleoptera larvae molt as they are growing.
- Some species of coleoptera feed on stored grains, while others may feed on clothing.
- Some farmers hate beetles because they destroy their crops. Coleoptera also feed on grains that farmers store, but planters that deal with predatory beetles love them because they prey on other insects that can cause crop damage.
- While there are estimated to be 350,000 species of coleoptera worldwide, there are only about 23,000 species in the United States.
- The forewings of beetles are known as elytra. Because these wings are rigid, beetle fossils are often found more intact than those of other insects.
If coleoptera have invaded your home, here are some ways to get rid of them:
- You can use insecticidal soap on the beetles that are hanging out in your garden. This treatment will also kill spiders. Before using insecticidal soap, keep in mind that beetles may actually be eating up the bugs that can cause significant damage to your petunias or sunflowers.
- Vacuum your house regularly. This will help eliminate many types of beetles and other bugs. From my own experience, using a hose attachment on avacuum is an easy way to suck up any beetles aggregating in corners, especially near ceilings.
- If you see carpet beetles in your home, you may want to wash your carpets with hot water and soap or run a steam vacuum over them. Also, make sure to thoroughly clean your clothes, as carpet beetles may cause damage to woolens. Treat baseboards with Suspend SC insecticide.
- Replace any torn window or door screens. Having ripped screens is like placing a welcome mat for bugs outside your home. It is too easy for them to get indoors. Screens free of tears will help prevent beetles and other pests from crawling or flying inside. Seal up cracks around window frames with Xcluder. It's easy to use and does a great job.
- Move firewood, leaf piles, or other debris away from the foundation of your home. Some species of beetles love to feed on decaying wood, so they will most likely be in firewood. If you keep debris very close to your house for convenience, you will find that beetles are that much closer to crawling inside. Stack the wood a few more paces away from foundation walls and save yourself the headache of a beetle infestation.