Beetles in Your Backyard: A Guide to Common Beetle Species

Beetles in Your Backyard: A Guide to Common Beetle Species

May 17, 2024

Beetles are one of the most diverse insect species on the planet, with around 350,000 unique species of the colorful bugs. In the United States, there are 30,000 beetles alone, making identifying the beetles in your backyard challenging. While some beetles can be helpful to your gardens and eat pests, other beetles can cause damage and infest your property - but how do you know which is which? MosquitoNix® is here to help! Here are some of the most common beetles you'll find in your backyard - and whether or not they're friend or foe.

June Bugs

There are several types of June bugs, but they're found across the United States. These scarab beetles can be brown, green or multi-colored, and each type of June bug has a different temperament and different habits. For example, brown June bugs, known as Common June Bugs, can be quite large, ranging from 12-35 millimeters and are a dark reddish brown. Meanwhile, Green June Beetles average 15-22 millimeters and have a shiny green color. Unfortunately, June Bugs can be detrimental to your yard, as they eat plants, fruits, grass and berries. They can also be a nuisance, as they are attracted to light and will frequently be found in early summer flying at your windows.


Ladybugs are a species of beetle many are familiar with. They come in various colors, including white, black, yellow, orange and red, and feature small spots on their shell, making them instantly recognizable. These tiny beetles are a gardener's best friend, known for eating aphids and other harmful insects and larvae. If you find ladybugs in your yard, you can be thankful that they're there.


Fireflies are another easily recognized backyard beetle due to their glowing green abdomen that you'll see frequently during early summer. When not glowing, fireflies can be identified by their reddish-orange thorax and black wing casings. Like ladybugs, fireflies are beneficial for gardens and backyards as they eat snails and slugs and soft-bodied insects that can destroy plants. They won't bite and don't carry diseases, so their soft glow in your yard is a good sign.


Weevils are one of the most diverse subspecies of beetles and are identified by elongated snouts that look like anteater noses. They're quite small, generally less than 6mm in length, and won't bite. However, these tiny beetles can be annoying pests as many species will devour crops like grain and maize. A weevil infestation can be extremely problematic for grain stores or food pantries, so if you find them in your food, you'll need to take proper measures to eliminate them.

Stink Bugs

Stink bugs earned their name for a reason - these shield-shaped beetles produce an unpleasant odor when aggravated, making removing them a sometimes stinky experience. Most stink bugs are brown, though different species feature different color combinations. They will be most easily recognized by the shield shape of their bodies. Stink bugs do not bite and are mostly harmless, but they can cause damage to gardens and crops as their primary source of food is fruits and vegetables.

Ground Beetles

The term ground beetle refers to many types of beetles, but most commonly it is used to refer to small black beetles that you'll find under logs and in the dirt of your backyard. These beetles have a round thorax and wing casings that feature vertical ridges. They are dark brown or black and have powerful mandibles that won't harm you but can cause a light pinch if they feel threatened. Ground beetles can be both beneficial and problematic - in your yard, they eat pests that can devour crops or flowers. However, if they infiltrate your house they can be hard to remove.

Potato Beetles

Potato beetles look similar to ladybugs, but instead of spots, these small beetles have stripes on their shells. They are orange in color and get their name because they are a major pest of potato plants, causing major problems on farms. Beyond potatoes, these bugs eat many other vegetables and plants, and they are frequently found burrowed into soil near their food sources. Potato beetles do offer some benefits, however, as they eat dead plant matter and other small insects. If you farm potatoes, though, these beetles can be a nightmare.

Tiger Beetles

Tiger beetles are unique beetles that get their name from their speed, rather than their physical appearance. These quick-footed beetles come in many colors but are most often an iridescent green and can be recognized by their long legs and dazzling speed. These predators are beneficial to find in your backyard as they eat harmful crop-eating bugs and common pests. Not only are they beneficial, but if you find them in your backyard, consider yourself lucky - these beetles are an endangered species that can be quite rare.

Stag Beetles

Stag beetles are some of the largest species of beetles and are mostly found in the western half of the United States. They're easily recognized by their large mandibles and are sometimes called "pinching bugs" as a result. Stag beetles can bite, and can cause quite a pinch, but while leave you alone if you leave them alone. Fortunately, these beetles are beneficial insects that help decompose dead wood.

A Thriving Ecosystem

Beyond the beetles listed here, many more types can be found in your backyard. It's important to remember that many beetles are beneficial, while many others are pests - so if you're unsure what a type of beetle is, be sure to look it up before eliminating it. If you find that a pest has populated your yard, call the experts - MosquitoNix® can help eradicate harmful beetle populations and keep your yard healthy and happy.

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