Many of you have probably noticed that the San Antonio beetle population is booming. As warm temperatures abound, beetles are more active. While some beetles can cause serious harm to plants and trees, others may simply be a nuisance to people, but not actually harmful. Let’s explore a few different types of beetles found in Texas.
Colorado Potato Beetle
Don’t be deceived by the name. These potato bugs live in Texas even though their name claims Colorado. If you want to identity this beetle, they will be about 3/8-inch long. Their body is primarily yellow with black stripes down their back. Two to three generations of this beetle emerge each year. Colorado potato beetles come by their name honestly since they can often be found feeding on leaves of potatoes, and sometimes eggplant too. While they don’t cause harm to humans, they can damage growth of plants in vegetable gardens substantially.
This small brown beetle can be easily identified by the prominent snout, which is used for drilling holes into cotton squares or bolls in order to feed. This beetle not only feeds on cotton, but also uses these locations to lay eggs. Once the female lays the eggs in the feeding hole, she covers the hole with a special substance that hardens and protects the eggs inside the cotton. Up to six or seven generations of this long-nosed beetle can be produced each year. The boll weevil migrated to Texas between 1892 and the 1920s, and has since caused enormous problems for cotton production due to their choice of food.
A ground beetle can have several different looks. Ranging in size from 1/8-1 inch, they are normally dark brown, almost black. Their head and body are typically the same width, with a smaller segment between the head and abdomen. However, different types of ground beetles can look radically different than this description. For example, the caterpillar hunter is considered a ground beetle, but it is always bright green. Unlike their other beetle relatives, the development of one generation of this particular species takes a full year. While these beetles can be irritating to humans when they appear in vast numbers, they are considered to be a beneficial insect. They do not cause damage to plants or trees and are not harmful to humans.
On the outside, these beetles are unexciting – flat and brown. However, they have gained the nickname “sawtoothed” grain beetle because they have six teeth-like tools on each side of their mouth. Normally about four to six generations of the sawtoothed beetle can be produced each year. Adult grain beetles can often be found in dry goods like grains, beans, sugar, or whatever else they can find in your pantry. A good way to ensure you don’t find any of these little creatures in dry goods is to check your containers and make sure they all seal properly.
Three features distinguish the diving beetle: oval shape, brown-black color, and long antennae. These beetles are found around the water. True to its name, this type of beetle dives into the water where it feeds on different aquatic creatures. They hold their breath under water and are skilled swimmers. Diving beetles are helpful to humans because they prey on other insects instead of attacking plants or trees.
This list only describes a handful of the different types of beetles you are likely to come across in the San Antonio area. For more information on the bugs in our area, see our San Antonio Bug Guide. If you are having issues with beetles in your home or business, Bob Jenkins Pest & Lawn Services has a team of experts that can help you deal with any unwelcome pests.