Black Beetles Identification (With Pictures): Beetles That Can Be Found in the House or Outside

Black Beetles Identification (With Pictures): Beetles That Can Be Found in the House or Outside

Black beetles are a common type of insect that are found in our homes and backyards. Some species of black beetle are completely harmless and can even help keep bugs out of your home. Although not all black beetles are regarded as pests, their larvae can be destructive. For example, black beetle larvae such as the carpet beetle can do a lot of damage to upholstery in your home.

All species of black beetle that inhabit homes are anthropoids in the insect order Coleoptera. There are thought to be over 400,000 species of beetles with weevils making up the largest of the beetle families. Groups of beetles are divided into families, genera, and then species.

Many people refer to any type of creepy-crawlies in the home as “bugs.” However, in the true sense of the word, beetles aren’t bugs. Unlike common household bugs, beetles chew their food with their jaws and their diet is a mixture of plant and animal sources. Although beetles can bite, they rarely bite humans and only become aggressive when threatened.

In this article, you will learn how to identify many common types of beetles that tend to live in houses. This information will help you to know what kind of black beetles you have at home.

Black Beetles Identification

Apart from their black color, you can identify black beetles by their hard shell, antennae, and pincers. Black beetles that invade homes tend to be smaller in size than the ones you may find crawling around your yard.

One of the identifying features of beetles is their unique hard wing cases or covers called elytra. Many types of beetle also use their wings to fly. This is one reason how carpet beetles get into homes. The beetles are attracted to light and fly in through open windows.

Black Beetles in House (With Their Picture, Common Name, and Identifying Details)

Let’s look in more detail as some of the most common black beetles you can find in your house. We’ll start with what many consider the most destructive type of beetle – the black carpet beetle.

Black Carpet Beetles

carpet beetle

The small black carpet beetle is an indoor invasive pest

Attagenus unicolor is the scientific name for the black carpet beetle. These tiny black beetle bugs belong to the family Dermestidae and their larvae can be a true household pest.

These tiny carpet beetles start out their adult life as white beetles. As they mature, these “bugs” gradually become dark and black. Even though it is the larvae that cause destruction, you should get rid of the adults. Female black carpet beetles can lay up to 100 eggs, and their larvae can stay in the larval stage for up to 3 years.

Like most beetles, black carpet beetles have wings and they can fly. Although not always a pure black color, they are generally dark brown to black and may have lighter patterns on their elytra. Looking up close at pictures of black carpet beetles you may notice that they are covered in tiny hairs.

Black carpet beetles don’t bite humans. So, if you notice small bite marks on your skin, you may have a problem with other small house bugs (like bed bugs), not black beetles.

Beetle identification

  • Carpet beetles are tiny black beetles that can be found in the house. They measure up to 0.1” (3 mm) in length.
  • These small black bugs have short oval body and short inconspicuous antennae on their head.
  • Slow-moving tiny black beetles that crawl or fly around homes.
  • They can cause damage to natural cloth fibers or cereals. However, they don’t bite humans.

Common Furniture Beetle

Common Furniture Beetle is a small black bug that can be found in the house

As seen in the picture, the common furniture beetles are small dark beetles. They cause damage to timber and to household furniture

As its name suggests, the common furniture beetle (Anobium punctatum) can damage wooden structures and furniture. These dark-brown or black beetles are also called wood-boring beetles or house borers. They are also the cause of woodworm in many wooden items.

The common furniture beetle has a somewhat round black head and elongated body. These beetle pests have two antennae at the front of their heads. Looking up close at their picture, you may see fine lines running the length of its dark brown shiny back.

As with carpet beetles, the adult beetles don’t do any damage to homes. It is the larvae that bore into types of wood and can cause damage to timber. The effect of these burrowing grubs is woodworm that can weaken structures and destroy the look of furniture. Apart from tiny holes in wood, other signs you may have problems with furniture beetles are fine sawdust around furniture, crumbling wood, and adult beetles emerging from the holes.

Beetle identification

  • Little dark-colored beetles that measure between 0.1” and 0.18” (2.7 – 4.5 mm) in length.
  • The tiny beetle has long brown or black hardened wing cases.

African Black Beetle

African Black Beetle

The tiny African black beetles have a shiny body with no antennae. This black beetle bug can be found in areas surrounding your house

You are more likely to see African black beetles (Heteronychus arator) around your home rather than inside your house. These pure black beetles are in the same subfamily as rhinoceros beetles (Dynastinae), only not as large.

These shiny black beetles have a short oval body without any significant markings. The underside of these small black “bugs” reveals rusty brown markings that help distinguish it from other beetles.

Native to Africa, these little black beetles are common agricultural pests in Australia and New Zealand. Some studies show that these tiny black beetle bugs are invasive pests in many tropical and subtropical climates. The adults feed on legumes and potatoes, and the soil-burrowing larvae can destroy grass from feeding on the roots. (1)

Because the beetles and their larvae can destroy grass, they also have the name ‘black lawn beetle.’

Beetle identification

  • Shiny black beetles that measure between 0.4” and 0.6” (12 and 15 mm) long.
  • An oval head and oval body with no antennae and short jaggy-looking feet.

Black Vine Weevils

Black Vine Weevil

The black vine weevil has long antennae and cannot fly

Weevils make up the largest family in the insect order of Coleoptera and there are many black species of these beetles. Weevils are in the superfamily Curculionoidea and are generally small-sized beetles.

One of the weevil species that is the most annoying garden bug is the black vine weevil (Otiorhynchus sulcatus). This black beetle pest can’t fly because its wing cases are fused together. The vine weevil beetle has a dull black body with slightly raised bumps on it. Compared to its oval body, its head is small and long. These black beetles also have two long antennae that they use to smell out plants to feed on.

Weevils are not a type of black beetle that bite humans and their presence in the house is more of a nuisance. However, they can do a lot of damage to your backyard. These pesky black bugs feed on plants such as asters, lilies, rhododendrons, and lilac.

Beetle identification

  • Small black beetles measuring about 0.5” (12 mm) long.
  • Found throughout North America where they are a major garden pest.
  • Their shape is an oblong oval gray to black body with a smaller thorax and even smaller head.

American Oil Beetle

Picture of black beetle: American Oil Beetle

The American Oil Beetle are also called ‘blister beetles’

American oil beetles belong to the beetle family Meloidae and belong to the genus Meloe. These are a large beetle species that have an iridescent shiny black body that is massive in relation to its head and thorax.

These big black beetles get their common name from an oily substance they emit when disturbed. This poisonous chemical can cause skin blistering which is why they are also called ‘blister beetles.’ They have 2 antennae that point up like an upside-down L shape. They are also identified by their long spindly legs attached to their thorax that carry their oversized body.

Although oil beetles have wings, they are generally flightless insects and prefer to slowly move around looking for plant material to feed on.

Beetle identification

  • A large slow-moving beetle that measures up to 1.2” (30 mm) long.
  • Bumpy black body with hints of metallic greens from the iridescent coloring.
  • Found in undergrowth and can’t fly.

Black and Red Blister Beetle

Megetra cancellata

Megetra cancellata has black body with red bands

The beetle Megetra cancellata is commonly known as the black and red blister beetle. Being a member of the beetle family Meloidae, the menacing-looking beetle can cause skin blistering if you touch it.

The black and red blister beetle is found in southern states in the US and in Central America. The beetle has a humpbacked body that is in the shape of a tear. Some say that this large red and black beetle looks like a tiny armadillo.

As with other blister beetles, this species has a small head in relation to its hard-shelled body. The shiny black body has red bands or stripes wrapping around it. This beetle species doesn’t fly and it has two wing-like black and red parts attached to its thorax.

Beetle identification

  • Shiny black and red striped beetle that measures between 0.4” and 0.6” (10 to 15 mm) long.
  • Moves slowly through undergrowth.

Cedar Beetle

Cedar Beetle

The small Cedar Beetle feeds on bugs. In the picture: male (left) and female (right)

One type of black flying beetle is the cedar beetle (Sandalus niger) which belongs to the family of insects Rhipiceridae. Cedar beetles are also called ‘cicada parasite beetles’ because they feed on bugs in the family Cicadoidea.

When looking at pictures of their elytra, these beetles look pure shiny black with their oblong bodies. The abdomen of these fascinating flying insects is orange which you can see when they open their wings to fly. Cedar beetles, especially the males, actively fly during warm days and may be mistaken for fireflies – also a type of beetle.

Beetle identification

  • Tiny flying black beetles that measure between 0.08” and 0.2” (2 to 5 mm) long.
  • Often seen around elm trees where the females like to live.

Rhinoceros beetle

rhinoceros beetle

The large brown-black Rhinoceros beetle has a single horn on its head

Also called the unicorn beetle, the rhinoceros beetle (Xyloryctes jamaicensis) is a large black or dark brown harmless beetle. The beetle belongs to the family Scarabaeidae and is also referred to as a scarab beetle.

One of the identifying features of these large beetles is the single horn on their heads. The prominent rhinoceros horn gives the beetles a menacing look. The beetles are slowly moving through woodlands and forests where they feed on dead roots. The beetles look shiny black from above and they have an orange underside. They are also a species of flying beetle; however, they rarely take to the air.

Beetle identification

  • Large shiny black beetles that measure between 0.82” to 1.3” (21 to 33 mm) long.
  • Beneficial black beetle with a fat body, protruding single horn, and hard exterior.

Black Stink Beetles

Stink Beetle

Black stink beetles don’t fly and defend themselves by producing a stinking chemical

Stink beetles are also called pinacate beetles and are a group of black beetles in the genus Eleodes. The name ‘pinacate’ is an Aztec word which literally means “black beetle.”

As their name suggests, these beetles are famous for producing a stinking chemical as a defensive mechanism. When threatened, they have an unusual behavior of standing on their head and squirting a malodorous substance. This behavior has earned them other names such as ‘stink bug,’ ‘clown beetle,’ and ‘skunk beetle.’

Stink beetles don’t fly and move around slowly on their legs. Some species of desert stink beetles have satin-black oblong bodies that taper to a point. Other pinacate beetles have an oval body with a smaller oval thorax and tiny head.

Beetle identification

  • Large beetles that inhabit warm and temperate regions. They grow to between 1” and 1.3” (25 to 35 mm) long.
  • A pair of legs attach to the thorax and 2 pairs of legs attach to their abdomen. They also have long searching antennae.

Hermit Flower Beetle

Hermit Flower Beetle

The large Hermit Flower Beetle has black shiny body that emits strong odor

Hermit flower beetles (Osmoderma eremicola) are a type of scarab beetle that has a shiny jet-black fat oval body. These hermit beetles are solitary insects that are among the larger species of beetle.

Their scientific name means ‘smelly skin’ and describes the strong pungent odor these black “bugs” give off. Apart from their shiny hard shell, the beetles are identified by the dimple on their thorax and between their eyes. Hermit flower beetles are beneficial insects that only feed on dead or decaying wood.

Beetle identification

  • Big black shiny beetles that grow up to 1.17” (30 mm) long.
  • Flies at night time and is attracted to lights. During the day it slowly moves through undergrowth in wooded areas.

Pigweed Flea Beetle

pigweed flea beetle

The small Pigweed Flea Beetle has white stripes on its black body

One of the more unusually-colored black beetles is the pigweed flea beetle (Disonycha glabrata). This striped beetle from the family Chrysomelidae has a black body with white stripes running down its length.

Pigweed flea beetles are found in the Eastern and Central regions of North America. The black and white beetle is quite small in size and can be found feeding on pigweed plants. Another interesting feature is its black and red head. The tiny black beetle also has two black antennae and 6 red and black legs.

Beetle identification

  • This small oblong beetle is around 0.2” (5 mm) long.
  • Its black and white stripes make this tiny beetle stand out against green vegetation.

Cucumber Beetles

cucumber beetles

Cucumber Beetles have black markings on a yellow small body

Some beetles in the family Chrysomelidae have striking yellow and black markings and are crop pests.

The spotted cucumber beetle (Diabrotica undecimpunctata) and striped cucumber beetle (Acalymma vittatum) are both tiny garden bugs. Contrasting black and yellow markings identify their spotted or striped species. These crawling insects feed on the leaves of legumes, cucumber, corn, and squash.

Beetle identification

  • Small, but destructive beetles that measure around 0.2” (5 mm) long.
  • Black and greenish-yellow markings identify many beetles in the genus Acalymma and Diabrotica

Red-Lined Carrion Beetle

Red Lined Carrion Beetle

The red-lined carrion beetle has black body with red-orange marks

The red-lined carrion beetle (Necrodes surinamensis) has long ridged black wing cases with reddish-orange marks on them. This beetle has a shape that is not oval like many types of beetles. The wing cases have straight edges with slightly rounded ends.

When the carrion beetle gets ready to fly, the elytra open up to reveal orange translucent wings over a black abdomen. These beetles feed on a diet of maggots that live on rotten flesh. Identification of beetles of the Silphidae family is also by the foul odor that the carrion beetles emit.

Beetle identification

  • Medium-sized beetles that grow to between 0.5” and 1” (12 and 25 mm) long.
  • Hard black elytra with ridges and orange markings identify this beetle.

White-Spotted Sawyer Beetle

white spotted Sawyer Beetle

The White-Spotted Sawyer Beetle has long antennae and may have white spots on the body

The white-spotted sawyer beetle (Monochamus scutellatus) belongs to the subfamily Lamiinae and is known for its long antennae. The long-bodied beetle may have white and black markings on its wing covers.

These sawyer beetles are a type of longhorn beetle. The term ‘longhorn’ comes from their exceptionally large antennae on their heads. In some species, the antennae can be 3 times the length of the bodies. These are black beetles that may have white speckling on their wing cases. They also have a white heart-shaped dot on their thorax.

These black beetles with white markings are common in pine and spruce forests in North America. The females produce larvae that bore into cut or dead pine wood. The sawyer beetles are a destructive pest causing damage to timber before it can be treated.

Beetle identification

  • Large beetles measuring up to 1” (25 mm) in length.
  • Two large antennae on their head can be as long as 3” (75 mm).

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