These types of beetles are beneficial in your yard or garden


Sometimes people call my office and ask what to do about all the bugs. Since 99.9% of insects are either beneficial or harmless, the usual answer will be nothing.

Many insects are actually beneficial as insect predators, parasitoids, pollinators, weed killers, and even decomposers.

One of the largest orders of insects is the order Coleoptera or beetles. You can probably think of a few beetles (including weevils) that are pests: alfalfa weevil, carpet beetle, root weevil, flathead borer, emerald ash borer, hollyhock weevil, etc.

There are many, many more that are beneficial. Here are a few :


Ladybug larvae feeding in a colony of aphids. | Ron Patterson,

Ladybugs (ladybugs, ladybugs) are a group of predatory beetles. Both adults and larvae are predators of aphids, mites, leafhoppers, mealybugs, thrips and whiteflies. There are a few species in the lady beetle family that feed on desirable plants, such as the Mexican bean beetle and squash beetle, but I haven’t seen them in eastern Idaho yet.

colops beetle

colops bettle
Adult colops. | Ron Patterson,

Adults and larvae are predatory. Adult beetles forage crops and feed on soft-bodied insects, caterpillars, Lygus bug nymphs, and other small insects. The larvae are active in the soil as predators of soil-dwelling insects and grasshopper eggs.

Checkered Beetle

Checkered ladybug
Plaid beetle adult. | Ron Patterson,

Adults and larvae are predatory. Almost all checkered beetles are predators of smaller insects. Some feed on grasshopper egg pods. Others feed on the larvae of tree-boring insects. Some feed on bee larvae.

Carabid Complex

Ground porridge
Adult ground beetle in defensive position. | Ron Patterson,

There are many species of ground beetles that are predatory both as larvae and as adults. They can consume their body weight in aphids, beetles, caterpillars and grasshoppers daily.

rove beetle

Rove Bettle
adult rove beetle. | Joseph Berger,

The rove beetles are more like earwigs without the claws. When disturbed, they often hold their abdomen up and look a bit like a small scorpion. Both adults and larvae of rove beetles are very good predators of soil pests such as fungus gnats, slugs, snails and soil stages of thrips.

soldier beetle

Goldenrod adult soldier. | Susan Ellis,

Soldier beetles feed both at ground level and in canopies. Both larvae and adults prey on aphids, slugs, snails, insect eggs, scale insects, caterpillars, root maggot larvae and other soft-bodied insects.

tiger beetle

adult tiger
Tiger beetle adult. | Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University,
tiger larva
Tiger beetle larva. | Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University,

Tiger beetles are very fast hunters and in the open ground. Larvae and adults are predatory. They feed on a wide variety of arachnids and insects such as ants, beetles, caterpillars, flies and grasshopper nymphs.

cedar beetle

Salt cedar larva
Cedar beetle larva. | Ron Patterson,
Cedar adult
Adult cedar leaf beetle. | Ron Patterson,

Adults and larvae feed exclusively on salt cedar or tamarisk.

Thistle-headed weevil

adult thistle
Adult thistlehead weevil. | Ron Patterson,
thistle larva
Thistle-headed weevil larvae. | Ron Patterson,

The adult females chew the young flower heads and lay their eggs. After hatching, the larvae feed on the seeds of most biennial thistles. Although they prefer musk thistle, they also feed on native biennial thistles, so their use is not encouraged.

turtle beetles

Bettle Tortoise
Adult of the golden tortoise beetle. | Courtesy of Clemson University – USDA Cooperative Extension Slide Series,

Turtle beetles are phytophagous beetles. A few species are specific to field bindweed and musk thistle.

Conserve and Encourage Beneficial Beetles


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