11 Types of Beetles in California

Types of Beetles in California
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If you live in California or are just visiting the state, you may encounter some pretty exciting beetles while out in the wild or maybe in your backyard.

While there are over 50,000 types of beetles worldwide, only around 2,500 types of beetles exist in California.

The beetles in California include the ground beetle, carrion beetle, ladybug, stag beetle, and many more.

If you live in California, are interested in natural history, or want to know what type of beetles you might find on a hike through the foothills near Bakersfield, this article will be perfect for you.

1. Ground Beetle

The most well-known ground beetle is Dytiscus, more commonly known as the predaceous diving beetle. These beetles have long antennae that help them detect prey by smell. They are fast runners and strong fliers. 

There are many other types of ground beetles in California. Ground beetles may be round or oval-shaped, depending on the Type. Some species even camouflage themselves to look like leaves or sticks to ambush their prey! 

Many ground beetles live in forests and spend most of their time under logs or leaf litter. Other types prefer drier areas, such as deserts, where they dig small holes to lay eggs in the dirt below.

It has a brief life span and does not eat during its adult phase, instead relying on fat reserves from its larval stage for energy. 

This is advantageous in these environments because water sources tend to be scarce. If you find any types of beetles you would like identified; please get in touch with your local extension office for help!

While some types of beetles in California are beneficial to humans, there are some which cause harm. 

For example, fireflies emit light at night through chemicals released from their abdomen when it is irritated. Light emission occurs only 15 minutes after the insect has been provoked.

Fireflies do not produce enough light to cause damage (such as illuminating something) so if you see any on your property, walk away quickly without touching them and let nature take its course!

2. Carolina Tiger Beetle

The Carolina Tiger Beetle is a beetle that lives primarily in the Carolinas but has also been spotted as far north as Illinois and New Jersey.

They are commonly found on forest floors under rocks, logs, or leaf litter on forest floors. They are orange with black stripes and can be recognized by their large mandibles. 

Adult beetles live for one year and then die off during winter. The larvae feed on decaying plant material but eat other insects to supplement their diet.

While they are not aggressive, they will bite if they feel threatened or mishandled. 

The Carolina Tiger Beetle is an orange-colored beetle that prefers habitats such as forests and meadows. The adults have strong jaws called mandibles which give them the name tiger since these jaws resemble those of a tiger’s claws.

Adult Carolina Tigers have short wings, making it difficult to fly, but they use their wings when flying near prey so they can jump on it and catch it quickly before it runs away. 

When hunting, these types of beetles in California prefer bugs like ants or crickets because they are easy to capture without being too hard to digest due to their size.

Adults hide under logs, rocks, or leaves to avoid predators while waiting for food to come close enough to grab.

3. Seven-Spot Ladybird Beetle

Many types of beetles in California. The seven-spot ladybird beetle is a beetle that lives in coastal areas and is often found on various plants. They are most commonly found on sunflowers and soybeans as they attract flowers. 

They also live near beaches where they feed off the seaweed and other tiny organisms washed ashore. One way you can identify these types of beetles in California is by looking for their seven red spots surrounding the black thorax.

Their coloring makes them look like ladies’ bugs, giving them their names. There are many types of beetles in California, but this one stands out for its black body with red dots, resembling a ladybug. 

Seven-spotted Ladybird Beetles are usually found living close to the ocean in coastal regions or inland close to farms where they will eat from plants such as sunflowers or soybeans.

You can quickly identify this Type of beetle because they have seven red dots around the black area on their back. 

These bugs are known as seven-spotted ladybirds because they resemble ladybugs (ladybirds). However, unlike actual ladybugs, these bugs do not produce a chemical odor when disturbed.

4. Longhorn Beetle

The Longhorn Beetle is giant ground beetle found in North America. Longhorn beetles are often spotted on flowers, leaves, and grasses.

The larvae feed on decomposing organic matter, and adults prey on moths, beetles, and other insects. 

They can be found in gardens or grassy meadows during the summer months. These types of beetles in california are easy to identify due to their long antennae and black-brown coloration with two white stripes that run from the head to the tip of their abdomen. Adults range from 1-3 inches in length. 

Females grow larger than males, who can only reach a maximum size of 1 inch. Their antennas are about three times as long as the insect’s body and have around ten segments.

When threatened, Longhorns curl into a  shape like most beetles do to protect themselves, making it difficult for predators to swallow them whole. 

The habitat for this species is diverse, ranging from forests to deserts, because they don’t need moist soil or high humidity levels like many other beetle species do.

These types of beetles in California prefer to live in small groups among leaf litter, under rocks, logs, and debris piles.

Males typically avoid females during the mating season until she emits pheromones which tell him she is ready to mate. 

She also chooses the male with which she mates. After mating, females lay eggs under logs and bark or among mosses near their preferred living spot. Males rarely participate in caring for their offspring once mating has taken place.

5. Marsh Beetle

The marsh beetle is a small, shiny beetle that lives in wet or moist areas. Females are usually larger than males and have wider bodies.

In most cases, they measure 1/8th-inch long, while males are generally 1/16th-inch long. 

This species can be found near streams and marshy places where they prey on the larvae of mosquitoes, flies, and other aquatic insects.

They will also feed on slugs, snails, and other terrestrial invertebrates when living near water is not an option.

Sometimes, these beetles can be mistaken for a species of click beetle because their bodies are long and slender, although they lack many of a click beetle’s features. 

While there are some similarities between these two types of beetles in California, it’s essential to know how to tell them apart since they belong to different families.

You can tell if it’s a marsh beetle by looking at its thorax; if it has rows of punctures running down the center, then you’ve found a marsh beetle!

6. Black Blister Beetle

The black blister beetle, also known as the oil beetle, is a common pest of house plants. They can often be found on the underside of leaves, feeding by sucking the sap out of the plant. They are most commonly found on geraniums and African violets. 

These types of beetles in California are easy to identify as they are a shiny black color with a yellow head.

The first two joints of their antennae have an enlarged club-like appearance and emit a pungent odor when crushed or threatened. Black blister beetles will grow from 1/4 inch up to 1 inch long. 

Females lay eggs inside the buds and branches of host plants. Larvae hatch after about four days and begin feeding on plant tissues at the top of the plant, which gives them a blackish appearance.

They eventually drop to lower parts of the plant, where they mature into adults that emerge from beneath dead bark or wood, near windowsills, vents, or other openings in July through September (they are most active during early morning hours). 

Black Blister Beetles cannot bite humans but readily attack one another if given the opportunity. If someone is bitten, it will irritate for a few seconds.

People who are allergic may experience itching and hives, skin swelling, difficulty breathing, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea. 

If you notice any of these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately. As with many insects, if left untreated – black blister beetles can cause extensive damage to your plants and home furnishings, so treat your infestation quickly before you start seeing more problems around your home.

7. Metallic Wood-boring Beetles

A metallic wood-boring beetle may be any of the many species found across North America. The figeater beetle (Cotinis mutabilis) is the most common species in California.

Figeater beetles can be identified by their dark brown elytra and black pronotum, which have a pattern resembling a fig leaf. 

They are roughly 1 inch long and 1⁄4 inch wide at their widest point. Males tend to be smaller than females and have longer antennae. Adults feed on pollen and nectar from flowers, making them beneficial pollinators for plants. 

Females lay eggs on trees or logs, where larvae bore into the wood to feed on it for 2-4 years until they emerge as adults to mate. Some species of metallic wood-boring beetles can produce loud squeaks when disturbed. 

Figeater beetles are beneficial insects because they pollinate plants and assist with decomposition. These types of beetles in California larvae eat rotten wood, which helps reduce rotting timber, limiting future pest problems in buildings made with timber frames.

8. Golden Tortoise Beetle

The Golden Tortoise Beetle is a lovely shiny beetle found across the southwestern United States. The larvae are often mistaken for other beetles since they look similar to young ladybugs.

Adult Golden Tortoise Beetles can be differentiated by their coppery-gold color and less rounded shape with a more squared head. 

With an average length of 1/2 inch, these types of beetles in California well to find food for themselves and their young.

Their diet consists mainly of flowering plants like milkweed, squash blossoms, and prickly pear cacti. They use their feet as shovels to dig into flowers from which they suck up nectar or sap. 

Drought conditions can make it difficult for most insects to survive and thrive.

The Golden Tortoise Beetle is known to withstand this harsh environment because it feeds on dry plant matter, has protective hairs that help keep it cool, lives in underground burrows during summer, and thrives best at high elevations. Adults have wings but do not fly. 

Larvae do not have wings and stay close to home. Females lay eggs singly on leaves of plants near water, where larvae develop safely after hatching.

9. Jewel Beetles

The jewel Beetle is a member of the family Buprestidae, which includes over 10,000 species. It is also one of the most brilliantly colored beetles in North America.

This hardworking insect has a vital role to play as a predator and scavenger. 

Jewel Beetles are found worldwide but are most commonly seen here in California. They have been spotted on tree bark, under stones and logs, and on flowers and fruit trees. They feed on dead or dying insects and carrion (dead animal carcasses). 

Their diet consists primarily of ants and other small insects that live in woody plants such as acorns, pine cones, beechnuts, and cones.

When times are tough for food sources, they will eat plant juices from grapes, citrus fruits like oranges and lemons, and apples, among other fruits that may be available to them.

Some Jewel Beetles carry their larvae around until they pupate or form cocoons, eventually emerging as adults.

10. Black Carpet Beetle

The Black Carpet Beetle is a black, oval-shaped beetle that grows about three-fourths of an inch long. They are usually found on flooring and furniture and can be pretty hard to spot because they blend in with their surroundings.

They feed on materials like wool, silk, and other animal-based fibers. 

These types of beetles in California are not a pest because it does not damage fabrics or carpets. Still, if an infestation occurs, it should be dealt with quickly, as carpet beetles reproduce quickly and can spread to other parts of the home or office building.

For removal from clothing, turn clothes inside out and launder them; vacuum carpets thoroughly to remove any eggs or larvae. 

If a large infestation has been found, use pesticides such as cypermethrin aerosol spray. Spraying will kill all stages of the life cycle of this type of beetle and control population numbers for up to 2 months.

11. Hister Beetles

The Hister beetles are a large family with about 17,000 species. They are usually dark-colored, and most live underground. They mainly eat other insects that have fallen to the ground. 

There are many different types of Hister beetles found all over the world, but there are not many that live in California. One kind of Hister beetle is called Coprophilus clypeatus.

These are commonly known as Dung beetles and bury dung with their front legs, so it does not attract other animals. 

Another type is called Coprophanaeus vancouverensis. These types of beetles in California will bury dung because they use it for food and nutrients for themselves. 

If these beetles do not have any dung to bury, they will roll up some leaves or sticks and pretend like it is a piece of excrement.

It might seem weird for a bug to try and find food this way, but these bugs don’t want anything wrong to happen, either.


There are many types of beetles in California. The most prevalent ones are the ground beetles and the rove beetles.

They’re usually one to two inches long. Ground beetles range from shiny to dull and color variations can also be found. 

Some beetle species, like the weevils, are often confused with other types of insects, such as cicadas. Knowing which ones live where you live and what parts of your house they may inhabit is essential for people who want to identify beetles.

Knowing this will help them avoid accidentally harming a type of beetle by trying to kill it. One way to protect beetles is to become more educated about them so that you know how to take care of them properly.

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