Beetles in Australia

In Australia most adult beetles emerge in the warmer summer months and the subtropical weather brings plenty of rain.

Before this they spend most of their life, up to seven years as a grub.

There are over 1500 species of beetles in Sydney and up to 80,000 in Australia.

There are over 350,000 different known beetle species worldwide and new species are being discovered all the time.

Beetles belong to the Class Insecta, and are the most abundant of all insects

  • Bess beetle
    (Aulacocyclus edentulus)

    Bess beetle
    (Aulacocyclus edentulus)

    Characteristics

    • Shiny black beetles with black or brown colours parallel along its sides
    • Adult beetles and larvae are found in group chambers within rotten wood
    • They make a stridulation or chirping noise when disturbed
    • Larvae are grub like in appearance and not shaped in the form of a 'C'
    • The body is elongated and they have a distinct waistline
    • The wings are grooved along their length
    • The head has a small horn
    • Adult beetles and larvae feed on rotting wood
  • Black Carpet Beetle (Attagenus unicolor)

    Black Carpet Beetle
    (Attagenus unicolor)

    Characteristics

    • They are 3-5mm in length
    • Larvae grow to 7mm in length
    • The beetle damages household products containing keratin
    • They also eat cereal, grains and synthetic fabrics
    • Adults feed outdoors on nectar and migrate indoors to lay eggs
    • Adults can live between9 months to three years, depending on weather
    • The females lay about 50 oval shaped eggs in lint and cracks
    • The larvae of the beetle is the damaging stage of the pest causing damage to household items like wool products, cereals, nuts, and stored grain.
  • Blacklegged Ham Beetle (Necrobia violacea)

    Blacklegged Ham Beetle
    (Necrobia violacea)

    Characteristics

    • The beetle is dark blue / black in colour
    • It is 3.0-4.5mm in length
    • Native to Australia
    • Usually located on the skin and bones of dead animals and fish
    • The female lays her eggs in cracks and crevices
    • The larvae burrow into food products and feed
    • The larvae go through several stages and then spin a cocoon and pupate
  • Bombardier Beetle (Pheropsophus verticalis)

    Bombardier Beetle
    (Pheropsophus verticalis)

    Characteristics

    • Black in colour with brown markings
    • The wing covers most of the body and is mostly black with brown patches
    • When threatened the Bombardier Beetle creates an explosion from its rear end by mixing two chemicals from a gland, and expels a spray of boiling steam and chemicals with a loud explosion noise
    • It is 12-18mm in length
    • It lives in riverbanks and floodplains in Eastern Australia
    • They are carnivorous insects which hunt predominantly at night on the ground and trees
  • Brown Stag Beetle (Rhyssonotus nebulosus)

    Brown Stag Beetle
    (Rhyssonotus nebulosus)

    Characteristics

    • This beetle is 20-36mm in length
    • It is light brown in colour with a dark apex
    • The adults feed on sap flows and sugared baits and are attracted to lights
    • The larvae feed on rotting logs and stumps
    • Eggs are laid in rotting wood and the larvae can take up to two years to develop and pupate
    • The males use their mandibles to fight at the breeding sites
  • Cadelle Beetle (Tenebroides mauritanicus)

    Cadelle Beetle
    (Tenebroides mauritanicus)

    Characteristics

    • Cadelle Beetles primarily feed on grains, flour and meal
    • They produce irregular holes in kernels
    • Commonly found in timber bins
    • Both adults and larvae bore into wood surfaces during their development cycle
    • Cadelle Beetles are the largest of the stored grain beetles.
    • Shiny dark to reddy/brown in colour
    • They grow to about 1.5cm in length
    • The cadelle larvae are creamy white in colour with a black head. There are two horny points on the rear of the larvae. fully grown larvae are about 1.5 cm
  • Carcass Beetle (Omorgus alternans)

    Carcass Beetle
    (Omorgus alternans)

    Characteristics

    • These beetles have very thick exoskeletons and a dark uniform colour
    • They grow up to 25mm in length
    • They are one of the last beetles to inhabit a carcass, feeding on dried remains of skin and ligaments
    • The larvae live in vertical burrows in the soil below the carcas
    • Carcass Beetles Flourish in more arid environments
  • Cigarette Beetle
    (Lasioderma serricorne)

    Cigarette Beetle
    (Lasioderma serricorne)

    Characteristics

    • The cigarette beetle is a stored product pest and gets its name from infesting stored tobacco
    • It is also know as 'Tobacco Beetle'
    • They grow up to 3mm long
    • They are reddish brown in colour
    • They play dead when disturbed
    • They actively fly in low light in the afternoons or on cloudy days
    • The female lays her eggs in food products
    • They infest a variety of stored products like pet food, flour, cereal, spices and pasta, in addition to books, dried flowers, spices, leather, silk rodent baits and museum specimens
    • The Cigarette Beetle grows from larvae to aduldhoot in 30-90 days, depending on temperature
  • Clerid beetle
    (Eleale lepida)


    Clerid beetle
    (Eleale lepida)

    Characteristics

    • They grow up to 14mm long. The clerid beetles have a long body with the thorax and the head narrower than the back of the body
    • They are generally hairy
    • They have biting mandibles and bulging eyes
    • Often their colours are contrasting and range in colour patterns
    • Adults are usually located on flowers of foliage and other forest timbers, where some females lay their eggs
    • Adult beetles prey on other beetles and feed on pollen and nectar of flowering plants.
    • Common on the east coast of Australia
  • Clerid Beetle
    (Eunatalis porcata)


    Clerid beetle
    (Eunatalis porcata)

    Characteristics

    • These Beetles are dark brown or black in colour with the wings covering the full length of its body
    • They have reddish brown colour hairs covering their feet.
    • Detailing on the wings covering the length of the body are small squarish pit like holes
    • These beetles feed on the larvae and pupae of other insects
    • They can be found in New south Wales, Victoria and the Northern Territory
  • Click Beetle
    (Elateridae family )


    Click Beetle
    (Elateridae family )

    Characteristics

    • These beetles are long thin and oval in shape with a lined pattern along the back
    • Most adults are 12-30mm long, a few get up to 45mm long
    • When these beetles are threatened they turn themselves over
    • They can flick themselves into the air with a loud clicking sound, if it does not land the right way up, it continues to repeat this until it does
    • They can jump 15-30cm up into the air
    • They can be found on the ground, on plants, in decaying wood, or hiding under bark and in moss
  • Common Furniture Beetle
    (Anobium punctatum) - Holes

    Common Furniture Beetle
    (Anobium punctatum)

    Characteristics

    • Adult beetles are brown with yellowish hairs on its back, and reddish brown legs
    • The thorax forms and hood which hides the head
    • The hardened front wings have rows of dimples along their length
    • Does not feed on fresh wood, but attacks seasoned sapwood timber and can cause serious structural damage if left unchecked
    • Usually attack seasoned timber in damp, cool conditions, such as bathroom flooring, or near leaking walls
    • The female lays her eggs inside cracks of wood, or inside old bore holes
  • Common Furniture Beetle
    (Anobium punctatum)

    Common Furniture Beetle
    (Anobium punctatum)

    Characteristics

    • Adult beetles are brown with yellowish hairs on its back, and reddish brown legs
    • The thorax forms and hood which hides the head
    • The hardened front wings have rows of dimples along their length
    • Does not feed on fresh wood, but attacks seasoned sapwood timber and can cause serious structural damage if left unchecked
    • Usually attack seasoned timber in damp, cool conditions, such as bathroom flooring, or near leaking walls
  • Drugstore Beetle (Stegobium paniceum)

    Drugstore Beetle
    (Stegobium paniceum)

    Characteristics

    • These beetle are cylindrical in shape and growth up to 3.5mm
    • They are a brown to a reddish brown in colour
    • Have a similar appearance to the cigarette beetle
    • Female beetles lay white eggs singly in the food product
    • It is a reddish brown beetle with rows of pits in fine lines along the wings of the beetle
    • Flat Grain Beetle (Cryptolestes pusillus)

      Flat Grain Beetle
      (Cryptolestes pusillus)

      Characteristics

      • This Beetle is small, flat and fast moving with long antennae reaching two thirds of its body
      • It is rusty/reddish brown in colour
      • Females lay 300 eggs in a silk like cocoon
      • These beetles feast on all types of grains and other stored products such as rice, dried fruits and seeds
      • They are found worldwide mostly in temperate regions
    • Green Carab Beetle (Calosoma schayeri)

      Green Carab Beetle
      (Calosoma schayeri)

      Characteristics

      • These beetles are a Green metallic colour, they reach up to 2cms long with their wings spreading wider than the head area
      • They are native to Australia and found in both forest and urban areas
      • They are active predators at night, eating slow moving prey such as caterpillars
      • When handled they let off an unpleasant scent
      • Night flying beetle attracted to light, usually swarms in large numbers around lights
    • Ground Beetle
      (Drypta sp)

      Ground Beetle
      (Drypta sp)

      Characteristics

      • These Beetles are diverse in shape, most adults are glossy and black whereas some are iridescent, some are green, some are yellow or orange and are somewhat hairy
      • Their bodies are usually flat with row of punctures along the wing covers
      • These beetles have long legs for a beetle and run fast
      • They are found in almost any habitat that has other small animals it can prey on such as slugs and caterpillars
      • Mature within a year and live up to 2-3 years, they are only active at night
      • They are solitary animals, only coming together to mate
    • Hairy Fungus Beetle (Typhaea stercorea)

      Fungus Beetle
      (Typhaea stercorea)

      Characteristics

      • These beetles are small, hairy and oval in shape
      • They are black or brown, they usually have orange or red markings and can grow up to 5.5mm
      • They are found in moist environments in food processing plants, warehouses, railway cars and homes
      • They feed on fungi that grow on damp food products and can be pests of stored goods
      • The female Beetle deposits her eggs amongst mouldy grain or other food product
    • Hibiscus Flower Beetle (Nitidulidae family)

      ibiscus Flower Beetle
      (Nitidulidae family)

      Characteristics

      • These beetles are black, oval and 3mm in length. They are particularly shy and hide in the folds of the flowers
      • Chew holes in both the flowers as well as the foliage of hibiscus and other related plants
      • Predominately a pollen and nectar feeder. They will consume pollen of unopened flower buds as the females lay their eggs near the nectary and the damaged bud drops from the bush prior to opening, the bud decays quickly and the larvae hatch out consuming the bud remaining
    • Humped-backed Beetle (Rhipiphoridae family sp2)

      Humped-backed Beetle
      (Rhipiphoridae family sp2)

      Characteristics

      • These beetles are dark purplish in colour with lighter brown markings that get denser toward head and rear
      • These beetles are found amongst flowers, but are commonly seen flying around lights at night
      • The hump backed beetle is a parasitoid who feed on the larvae of wasps
    • Jewel Beetle (Temognatha alternata)

      Jewel Beetle
      (Temognatha alternata)

      Characteristics

      • These beetles have bright yellow and red bands on the greenish blue wing covers
      • Can grow up to 26mm
      • There are over 8 species in Australia in new guinea, this particular species is native in north queensland
      • Little is known about this beetle, Entomologists are still learning more
    • Larder Beetle (Dermestes lardarius)

      Larder Beetle
      (Dermestes lardarius)

      Characteristics

      • The adult beetles are dark brown and oval in shape, they have a cream and yellow coloured band across their wing covers with 6 dark coloured spots inside it
      • They are about 1/4 - 1/3 inch in length
      • Common to enter homes during spring time through spaces and gaps they find around the outside buildings
      • The female lays her eggs in food sources she finds
      • Both larvae and adults eat high protein materials such as animal hides and furs, feathers, meat, cheese, dry pet food and dead insects
      • Can be potentially destructive to preserved animal specimens
    • Lesser Grain Borer (Rhyzopertha dominica)

      Lesser Grain Borer
      (Rhyzopertha dominica)

      Characteristics

      • These beetles have a cylindrical shaped body and are either black or brown in colour, adults are only 0.1 inch in length
      • They bore irregular holes in whole, undamaged kernels and the larvae undeveloped may develop inside the grain
      • larvae and adults feeding in and on kernels may leave only dust and thin brown shells
      • Mainly attack wheat, corn, rice and millet. Both the larvae and adults are primary pests
      • Female deposits her eggs in clusters of 2 to about 30 on kernels, most newly hatched larvae chew into kernels and complete their entire development there
    • Lycid Beetle (Lycidae family )

      Lycid Beetle
      (Lycidae family )

      Characteristics

      • These beetles have a soft flattened body, they are usually brick red and black in colour
      • Their bright colour warns predators they are toxic and unpleasant to eat
      • They are 5mm to 20mm in length
      • They are found on foliage and flowers, feeding on the nectar and pollen
      • Commonly seen flying at dusk
      • The biology is not well known although larvae occur beneath bark or on leaf litter or soil where they are thought to feed on the soft decaying plant material
    • Merchant Grain Beetle (Oryzaephilus mercator)

      Merchant Grain Beetle
      (Oryzaephilus mercator)

      Characteristics

      • These beetles are about 1/8 inch long with 6 legs and is small enough to permit it to penetrate packaged food stuffs in tiny cracks and crevices
      • They are found in kitchens, food processing areas and or warehouses
      • They are attracted to higher fat products
      • Can infest and contaminate breakfast foods, cereal, marconi, candy, chocolate, sugar, cake mixes, brownie mixes, nuts, dried pet food, bread, rolled oats, biscuits, cornmeal etc.
      • Over 3 month period time, the female lays about 200-285 eggs. The larvae develop quickly under higher humidity
    • Museum Beetle (Anthrenus museorum)

      Museum Beetle
      (Anthrenus museorum)

      Characteristics

      • These beetles are shaped like lady bugs and are 2-3mm in size
      • They are normally speckled in appearance , fly readily and feed on pollen and nectar
      • These beetles cause no damage
      • The larvae is sometimes caused wooly bears, they feed on animal fibres such as wool, feathers and fur
      • Larvae develop through 5 moults, they cast their skins which may be the first symptoms of infestations
      • They hibernate in winter and pupate in spring
    • Painted Jewel Beetle (Buprestis novemmaculata)

      Painted Jewel Beetle
      (Buprestis novemmaculata)

      Characteristics

      • These beetles are exotic introduced pests
      • Their bodies are 13mm - 20mm in length 3x as long as it is wide
      • It is brown and shiny with yellow spots on each of the hardened front wings
      • Minor pests of timber, mainly feeds on dead woody tissue. It may attack severely stressed trees
      • Larvae live in the trunks of pine trees or in cut pine logs
    • Powderpost Beetle (Lyctus brunneus)

      Powderpost Beetle
      (Lyctus brunneus)

      Characteristics

      • These beetles are 3/4inch in length
      • They are short lived and are only active at night
      • They are wood boring beetles which reduce the wood to a fine, flour like powder
      • Damage is done by larvae as they create narrow, meandering tunnels in wood as they feed
      • They only attack wood products manufactured from hardwoods e.g. oak, ash, walnut etc.
      • Infestations are often found in wood panelling, molding, window and door frames, plywood, hardwood floors and furniture
    • Red-legged Ham Beetle (Necrobia rufipes)

      Red-legged Ham Beetle
      (Necrobia rufipes)

      Characteristics

      • These beetles are shiny metallic blue-green in colour
      • The antennae is reddish brown with dark brown or black club at the tip, The legs are dark brown or orange
      • The adults fly readily and disperse to form new colonies
      • larvae are cream-grey grubs with mottled darker violet grey markings on the back length 4mm - 7mm
      • Infests dried meats, smoked meats, and dried fish
      • Most often found in products that are stored unwrapped for long periods
      • Adults feed on the surface of the product and the larvae bore into the product causing further damage
    • Rhipiphoridae family sp1


      Rhipiphoridae family sp1

      Characteristics

      • These beetles are dark brown in colour with orange hair at rear
      • The legs are hairy brown-orange colour
      • They are up to 12mm in length
      • They have an unusual branched antennae that look a bit like moose antlers
      • This species is a parasitoid, and their larvae feed on the larvae of other species, mainly bees or wasps
      • Entomologists are still discovering this certain species
    • Rove Beetle (Staphylinidae family)

      Rove Beetle
      (Staphylinidae family)

      Characteristics

      • Most of these beetles are 2mm-8mm in length, few are giants
      • Most have functional set of hind wings that is not shorten
      • The staphylinidae family is the largest family of beetles
      • They occupy almost all moist environments throughout the world, they live in leaf litter of woodland and forest floors and grasslands
      • Predators on mosquitos larvae and are parasitoid in fly pup-aria
      • Ancient group with fossils dating back to the triassic
    • Sawtoothed Grain Beetle (Oryzaephilus surinamensis)

      Sawtoothed Grain Beetle
      (Oryzaephilus surinamensis)

      Characteristics

      • Major pests of stored food products in homes and commercial facilities
      • About 2.5mm to 3mm in length. The body is flat and it is not attracted to light and does not fly
      • It does not infest whole grain, its flat body allows it to enter tiny cracks and infest on broken kernels
      • The female deposits eggs in cracks in food or on ground floor, like flour
      • When larvae is ready to grow to an adult beetle it makes a cocoon made from food particles
      • In warm and humid conditions, the entire life cycle from egg to mature adult takes about 2 months
    • Small Hive Beetle (Aethina tumida)

      Small Hive Beetle
      (Aethina tumida)

      Characteristics

      • This beetle is originally from South Africa and was first discovered in Australia in 2002
      • They are approx. 6mm in length and 3mm wide
      • They vary from dark brown to almost black in colour
      • Their larvae are white and grow bout 10mm in length
      • They find the hive by smell - both of the honey/pollen and the pheromones
      • Once they are in the hive the female lays up to 500 eggs. When hatched they burrow through the wax eating honey and pollen
    • Soldier Beetle (Cantharidae family)

      Soldier Beetle
      (Cantharidae family)

      Characteristics

      • These beetles are a half an inch in length and may be black or yellow or orange with black markings in colour
      • They are slow to take flight
      • They are often seen among flowers or in thick vegetation
      • Larvae feed on the eggs and larvae of beetles, grasshoppers, moths and other insects
      • Adults feed on aphids and other soft bodied insects but mainly on flower nectar and pollen
    • Varied Carpet Beetle (Anthrenus verbasci)

      Varied Carpet Beetle
      (Anthrenus verbasci)

      Characteristics

      • These beetles are 3mm in length and can be a serious household pest
      • The adults are pollen grazers, the larvae feed on natural fibres and can damage carpets, furniture, clothing and insect collections
      • Larvae of this beetle is what does the most damage
      • The eggs are laid singularly within carpet, clothing, fur and museum material, they are 0.5mm long and cream in colour
      • Larvae will feed on substances that contain keratin, most commonly they are found within natural wool/wool mix carpets along the edges and in the corners
    • Yellow-horned Clerid (Trogodendron fasciculatum)

      Yellow-horned Clerid
      (Trogodendron fasciculatum)

      Characteristics

      • ThIs beetle is small, black with yellow antennae and white hairs on its body
      • The adult beetle reaches to 20mm
      • The larvae is about 25mm in length
      • These beetles feed off the larvae of the jewel beetle and the long horn beetle
      • It can be found in all states of mainland Australia
      • One of the largest beetles in Australia
      • Can be seen flying in sunshine and frequently settling on tree trunks or branches where it will run very swiftly
      • It can bite viciously if held carelessly in the fingers
      • The larvae are predatory