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Scavenger Beetles

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Superfamily: Scarabaeoidea
Family: Trogidae, Scarabaeoidea, Dermestidae

Hide Beetle    Scarab Beetle    Skin Beetle

Hide Beetles        Also see Black Carpet Beetle Control, Information and Grain Beetle Information 

Hide Beetles are scavenger beetles that feed on the hair and flesh of animal carcasses and are often mistaken for scarab beetles and skin beetles.  Adults are identified by their black oval shaped body and flat white abdomen, while larvae have dark brown bodies with distinctive bristles and three pairs of legs.
Both adults and larvae have chewing mouthparts. Hide Beetles

The hide beetle feeds not only on carcasses but feathers, fur, skin, rotting meat, pet food, bacon, cheese and dried fish.  When food supplies are limited they will enter homes and structures while feeding on leather, rugs, mattresses, clothing and wall mounted animals.  Hide beetles also enter museums, taxidermists, butcher shops, cattle farms, zoos and animal shelters.  Often difficult to notice because of their small size and coloring, hide beetles, if left alone on sickly dogs and diseased wildlife, can cause a lot of damage and in some extreme cases death. 

Adults often fly in the darkness with males chasing females in order to mate.  Female hide beetles lay eggs on food supplies so that the larvae ( once hatched) can eat continuously until they are ready to pupate and become adults.
As larvae, they can chew through most anything, sometimes causing structural damage to homes and buildings.
Once inside homes and other buildings they will nest in stored products such as pet food and cheese.
The hide beetle will cover itself with dirt and remain motionless when predators are nearby.
Though considered to be primarily a hide and fabric pest, hide beetles can also fall into the category of Stored Product Pests or Pantry Pests when they occasionally infest household grains.


Scarab Beetles

Scarab beetles are stout insects consisting of many bright colors.  They have a clubbed antenna made of plates called lamellae that can be compressed into a ball or fan out in order to sense odors.  Their front legs are used for digging. Scarab beetle larvae are known as grubs because of their pale yellow or white bodies.  As grubs, they live underground or under debris.  Adults are scavengers like the hide beetle and, depending on the species, feed on dead carcasses, dung, and decaying plant material.  There are several different types of the scarab beetle found in North America.
Scarab Beetles covered in this article include:

Dung Beetle    Flower Chafers    Rhinoceros Beetle    Bee Beetle

Japanese Beetles    June Beetles

The Dung Beetle is also known as the tumble beetle or "rollers" because they roll dung into a ball in order to eat it or store it.  Dung beetles are scarab beetles that are black, brown or purple in color and have a flattened body.  Some species have horns on their heads and all have soft mouthparts.  They are found in deserts, farmlands, forests andDung Beetle grasslands.  Besides dung, they also feed on mushrooms, decaying leaves and fruit.
Dung beetles will roll their dung quickly along a strait line to prevent it from being stolen by another dung beetle.  After rolling it into a ball, they often bury it and then go underground to mate.  After mating, the female will lay her eggs inside the ball.  Dung beetles are beneficial to the environment because they work to remove waste and improve soil by burying the dung they collect.

Flower Chafers are scarab beetles that are found around flowers collecting pollen and nectar.  They are found mainly in the southern United States.  Adults rarely cause damage, however "grubs" live in the soil and feed on the plant roots of grasses and cereals.  Grubs are often pests in pastures, nurseries, gardens and golf courses causing damage to grass causing it to grow poorly and quickly turn brown.  Grubs sometimes eat vegetables, lettuce, raspberries, strawberries and young ornamental trees.

The Rhinoceros Beetle is the largest of the scarab beetles, so named because of the horns on top of the males head often used in mating battles against other males.  Larvae feed on rotten wood while adults feed on nectar, plant sap and fruit.  They can lift up to 850 times their weight and are popular pet choices of children in Asia.

The Bee beetle is a scarab beetle that feeds on the sugar from stems, leaves, fruit and flowers of many differentBee Beetle plants.  Their bodies are hairy and they resemble the bumble bee, hence its name.  Their wings are creamy yellow to deep orange.

Japanese Beetle Information Page    

The Japanese beetle has copper colors and shiny green markings on top of its head and thorax.
They are a seriousJapanese Beetle pest of rose bushes, grapes, crape myrtles and other plants in North America.  It is a weak flier and will lift its hind legs in the air when approached in order to ward off predators.  They damage plants by eating surface material giving the leaves a transparent look.  Native to Japan, they were found in the United States in 1960.  Currently Japanese Beetles are found in the New England states south through parts of Georgia and Alabama and north through Tennessee, Kentucky and Michigan.

June Beetle Information Page

The June beetle is also known as the Figeater Beetle and the June bug.  This scarab beetle is found in the southernJune Beetle half of North America.  Adults are a dull greenish color with bright green on their undersides and legs. They make loud buzzing sounds similar to bees.  Larvae are white with a dark head.  They feed on ripe or over ripe fruits like figs and peaches.  Larvae cause more damage than adults and thrive in compost piles and tend to feed on turf and the roots of grasses.

Skin Beetle    Carpet Beetle Control

The Skin Beetle is a scavenger beetle that feeds on dry animals or plant materials, skin, pollen, animal hair, feathers, dead insects and natural fibers.  Some species of this insect will infest violin cases and feed on the bow hair.
They areSkin Beetle round shaped and have a dark body covered with scales in various patters of white, red, yellow and brown. They also have a clubbed antenna.  Colonies are often kept in natural history museums in order to clean animal skeletons.  This beetle can be destructive pests of stored products like fur and leather. The skin beetle is also known as the carpet beetle, the larder beetle, the bacon beetle, the pantry beetle and the museum beetle.

Credits:
Our thanks to Lani Powell for research and writing which made this Scavenger Beetle information page possible!

General Household Pest Control    Pest Control Supplies    Animals and Pests

Hide Beetle    Scarab Beetle    Skin Beetle    Fabric Pests    Grain Pests, Pantry Pests