Beetles are a diverse group with more than 300,000 different species. Most have two pairs of wings, the first pair serving as a hard, shell-like back. While beetles primarily live and breed outside, under certain conditions they may enter homes in large groups. Depending on the season, they can become a major pest issue.
The appearance of beetles can vary depending on the family they belong to and the type of species. While many beetles are black or brown, some are brightly colored or even metallic. Ground beetles are one of the largest beetle families. This group ranges in size from one-sixteenth of an inch to 1 inch, and is primarily black in color. The ladybug, commonly recognized by its bright red shell and black polka dots, is also a beetle.
Most beetles are poor fliers. They use their wings mostly for protection and to retain moisture. Many feed on plants and small insects. Some are considered pests in gardens, although they sometimes benefit plants by eating other, more harmful insects. Some beetles can cause damage by eating fabrics or wood. Others may infest grain products.
Beetles sometimes attempt to invade homes at the end of summer, in search of shelter. During this time, their population around entrance ways can grow quite large. Most beetles only live about one year, although some of the species can live longer. Their life cycle also depends on access to food. Wood-destroying, fabric-eating and grain-infesting beetles pose the largest issues and often require the help of a pest management professional.