Beetle Insects: How to Control Them

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beetle insects

Do you know that the presence of Beetle Insects can destroy your garden or crops?

A mere 1% of the identified insects on this plant are crop consuming, disease spreading, and landscape destroying thugs.

Though a wide range of insects are allies and beneficial to your crops and garden plants, helps you to control pests, break down organic matters, and pollinate edible crop,s

However, some critters are adept at wielding wicked ways in your landscape.

These beetle insects are host to a small posse of such pests.

Most are not garden ruffians, however, those that are can cause significant injury and damage.

And because beneficial insects and pollinators may become collateral damage in case you use pesticides, identifying bad beetle insects is a must for every gardener.

Keep on reading to learn more about them in detail.

Beetle Insects

Beetle insects are flying and crawling insects in the vast Coleoptera order and have the potential to benefit or harm your vegetable garden or flower garden.

Some beetle may eat enough garden pests in a day, thus making them nearly as effective as insecticides in eliminating infestations.

damage to the leaves

While other species of beetle insects may be destructive or even lethal to your plants, consuming them as food or spreading diseases to them.

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Potential Beneficial Beetle Insects in your Garden

There are a number of varieties of beetle insects that can benefit your plants, and serves as pollinators.

Moreover, they protect your garden from potentially harmful species of bugs.

The following are a handful of critters that can help provide biological control of bad bugs:


Also known as lightning bugs, these creatures are actually beetles, not flies.

As larvae, fireflies tend to feed on insects, snails, and worms.

While as adult fireflies, they feed on nectar and do not harm your plants.


Lady beetles or ladybird beetles are beneficial insects. An iconic-looking red beetle with black spots will feed on harmful garden insects.

These include aphids, spider mites, mealybugs, caterpillars, thrips, and scales.

However, if you prefer all-natural pest control, instead of using insecticide, you can consider adding ladybugs and green lacewing larvae, which is other beneficial insect.

Together, the ladybugs and green lacewings are capable of consuming a huge amount of aphids, whiteflies, and leafhoppers.

Ground Beetles

These good bugs are big eaters and are a form of natural pest control.

They can eat mites, snails, earwigs, cutworms, aphids, hornworms, and other potentially harmful insects.

Rove Beetles

Long and thins, these beetles resemble earwigs.

However, unlike earwigs, these are beneficial bugs and will consume the eggs and larvae of harmful insects.

For instance, they can consume aphids, groups, mites, and mealybugs.

Soldier Beetles

Also known as soldier bugs, these beetles live on plants and eat harmful insects.

Moreover, their larvae can also be beneficial to your garden as they eat the eggs of harmful pests.

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Japanese Beetle Insect

A non-native member of the family Scarabaeidae, a Japanese bottle is a notorious pest in your garden.

Characteristics: The adult is metallic green with copper-colored wing covers.

It measures about 1/2 inch in length and is half as wide.

Moreover, its ground-dwelling larvae is a C-shaped, plump, grayish-white grub with a light brown head.

Its larva can grow up to an inch and spends the winter several inches below the surface of the soil.

Damage: The Japanese beetle grub tends to attack the roots of the turfgrass and other ornamentals.

In case of serious infestation when there are 10 or more grubs per square foot of the soil, the turf may peel back in a carpetlike fashion.

Moreover, the ornamental will appear wilted.

beetle insects 1

Grub damage is most evident in spring and fall when the grubs are actively feeding in the upper layer of the soil.

As an adult, the Japanese beetle tends to consume over 300 types of ornamentals and begins in midsummer.

Also, they release pheromones as they feed, resulting in a large number of adults coming together to feed and breed, on the same host plants.

Thus, a heavy congregation of adult beetles is capable of consuming rapid defoliation, though they live for only 30 and 45 days.

Control: Early and frequent hand picking can help prevent massive populations.

Make sure to knock the adults into soapy water, or squash them.

Pheromone and the floral scent-based Japanese beetle traps might also help lure far more beetles than they actually trap, causing heavier feeding in areas where you place them.

Either way, do not use the traps or plane them several hundred feet from your garden.

Tip: Japanese beetle grubs can cause the biggest problem in your lawn with heavy fertilization and frequent, however, when you irrigate them shallowly.

The female beetle needs soft, damp soil to tunnel down, and lay eggs, and the eggs and grubs need moisture to survive.

Stop watering and allow your lawn to go dormant naturally in summers.

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May/June Beetle Insects

There are different hundred species of May/June Beetles, while gardeners consider only about two dozen of them are pests.

Characteristics: With only a handful of exceptions May/June beetles are 1/2 inch to 1 inch long and are either black or chestnut brown in color.

They are often present in congregating around lights on summer evenings, the adult beetle insect is nocturnal and active for only a few weeks.

Damage: The adults tend to feed on trees and shrubs, including oaks and maples in the early season.

Moreover, it happens often when the leaves are still in the bud.

As the season progresses, however, the leaves may appear to have been riddled with buckshot.

Control: It is important to note that the control of adult beetle insects is rarely warranted.

This is because the damage is seldom significant to the health of the plant, and by the time it shows, the beetles have already finished feeding.

Most of the life these beetles spend is underground as a comma-shaped, creamy white, brown-headed grub.

Damage from May/June beetles appears as irregular patches of yellow turf and loose sections of sod.

The grubs also feed on root vegetables and decaying organic matter.

Be aware of the years when populations are predicted to be the highest in your area.

Make sure to avoid planting root vegetables during such years. Moreover, restrict irrigation in July and August as newly laid eggs and young larvae need moisture to survive.

Tip: In order to deter adults May/June beetles from buzzing around your outdoor lights, replace regular lightbulbs with yellow-colored light-bulbs.

Though they will not eliminate the beetles, yellow bulbs throw light that is less noticeable to insects of all sorts and helps to reduce the number of beetles.

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Oriental Beetle

This kind of beetle insect emerges in late June through July and tends to be active for two months.

Characteristics: The Oriental beetle is just like the Japanese Beetle in size.

However, it is straw-colored with irregular dark blotches on its wing covers and two black spots on its thorax.

It tends to be active only at night, and the adult beetle feeds on the flowers of roses, phlox, petunias, zinnias, irises, and daises.

In addition to also skeletonizing leaves and eating holes through developing fruits.

Though you may find them intimidating, the adult Oriental Beetle rarely causes significant damage.

Damage: The grub of this herbivore insect can cause substantial injury to the roots of your plants, including turfgrass, ornamentals, and small fruits of different types.

Damage these beetles cause generates a patchy brown lawn, especially in late summer and fall.

beetle insects 2

While other types of plants that they may injure will quickly wilt and die.

In order to distinguish this grub from other scarab species, you may want to consider sending a sample insect to your local extension service for identification.

Control: To trap adult beetle insects, you can invest in a species-specific pheromone trap.

These will help catch-can traps to lure male beetles and disrupt mating cycles.

Moreover, you can install these traps in the ground with only the catch funnel exposed.

However, note that these traps are also to attract Japanese Beetles.

Tip: To stave off excessive damage from oriental Beetles. allow your lawn to remain 3 to 4 inches tall.

Other Harmful Garden Beetles

Some other harmful garden beetles are:

Cucumber Beetles

These insects are extremely harmful in your vegetable garden. If you see large numbers of them in your garden, act immediately.

Moreover, the cucumber beetle can destroy your garden in two ways: by feeding on or infecting your plants.

The larvae tend to feed on roots and the adults will eat the stems, stalks, and blossoms of flowering plants.

These can include cucumber squash, melons, and gourds. In case they do not destroy your garden by eating plants, they can bacteria that can cause bacteria wilt.

Once the beetle infects your plant, it will die.

Flea Beetle

These tend to eat plant materials like leaves, however, they are more harmful because they carry viral and bacterial diseases that can destroy your plant.

Leaf Beetle

There are thousands of species of leaf beetles and each one of them feeds on a different type of plant.

For instance, there are potato beetles, elm leaf beetle, bean leaf beetle, willow leaf beetles, etc.

What they all have in common is that they can destroy your plants by eating their leaves.

Controlling Garden Beetle Insects

There are different methods that can help rid your garden of beetle infestation.

The following are the pest management strategies for most common beetle adults and their larvae:

Beneficial Nematodes

These microscopic roundworms can help to get rid of a number of insects.

These include cutworms, earwigs, and beetles. Moreover, they target critters that live in the soil like Japanse beetles, weevils, cucumber beetles, and flea beetles.

Moreover, beneficial nematodes will not affect plant roots or harm beneficial garden insects like honey bees or earthworms.

Milky Spore

This pest control powder is a bacterium that tends to target Japanese beetle groups.

Milky spore is moderately effective and will only kill Japanese beetle insects, not the other beetle infestations.

Neem Oil

A natural pesticide, neem oil is extracted oil from the neem plant.

It is safe for plants and you can even spray the oil directly onto the leaves.

Moreover, neem oil kills or repels harmful insects including beetles, aphids, snails, mealybugs, maggots, cabbage moths, cockroaches, whiteflies, and termites.

controlling them

Insecticidal Soap

Less toxic than traditional insecticides, insecticidal soaps can help to control beetle infestations.

Make sure to follow the product instructions to measure and mix the soap with water to create a bucket of soapy after.

Fill the spray bottle with the mixture and then spray it on the plants, or you can apply the soapy mixture directly to the leaves.

After washing the leaves, you can remove the beetles by handpicking them off the leaves.

However, remember to wear gloves while working with soap and when handling the beetles.

Pheromone Traps

These traps work by emitting mating pheromones and floral scents to attract insects, especially the Japanese battles.

Moreover, these traps come with a collection bag that makes it easy to dispose of the bad bugs.

Final Thoughts

Though beetles are beneficial insects for your plants and crop,s however, some types of them can cause more damage to your plants than others. Examples of such beetles are cucumber beetles, Japanese beetles, flea beetles, etc.

However, with the help of beneficial nematodes, insecticidal soap, neem oil, pheromone traps, milky spores, etc you can take steps to eliminate the beetle insects from your plants.

Increase your knowledge on bees and the ecosystem.

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