The beetle family (Coleoptera) contains around 300,000 species, which makes it the largest insect family on Earth and one of the largest in the world!
Of these species, over 30,000 live in Kentucky alone. And this blog will cover some of the types of beetles in Kentucky.
However, only a fraction are seen by humans because of their small size and difficulty being seen by the human eye.
Here are some of the types of beetles in Kentucky that you’re likely to see and meet.
1. Banded Longhorn Beetle
The Banded Longhorn Beetle, or Typocerus velutinus, is a large black beetle with a white band across its body. This type of beetle is common in the eastern United States and can be found from Maine to Florida.
Moreso, these particular types of beetles in Kentucky live under bark and logs and eat rotting wood. The larvae are predators that feed on other insects, such as termites and carpenter ants.
2. Earth-boring Scarab Beetle
Earth-boring scarab beetles, also known as bolbocerasoma, are a type of fungus beetle. They are types of beetles in Kentucky that are found throughout the area and feed on fungi.
While they may not be the most exciting beetle to have in your yard, they play an important role.
One way you can tell if you have this type of beetle is by their large heads and short antennae. These antennae are usually brownish with a yellow tint to them.
Earth-boring scarab beetles also have six segmented legs that are longer than their bodies.
3. Eastern Eyed Click Beetle
Kentucky has many types of beetles, but the Eastern Eyed Click Beetle has a few special features. It has an oval-shaped body with a brownish head and dark brown wing covers.
Some other distinguishing features are its long antennae and six yellow spots on its back.
What’s more? This type of beetle is common in the eastern United States, but you can find them all across North America.
They live under logs, stones, leaves, and bark piles. They feed on dead insects or decaying plant material such as fallen apples or rotting wood chips.
Eastern Eyed Click Beetles undergo a complete metamorphosis, which means they have four stages: egg, larva (grub), pupa, and adult beetle.
4. Eastern Hercules Beetle
The largest beetle found in the United States, the Eastern Hercules Beetle, can grow to be 8 inches long. They are also known as devil beetles for their imposing size and large horns.
These types of beetles in Kentucky are usually black with blue or green spots on their wing covers. But some may be red with black spots or brown with orange markings.
Furthermore, males use these horns to fight other males during mating season, which is from late summer until fall. Females lay eggs that can number up to 100 at a time on dead trees and logs, where they will hatch.
Then, they feed off the rotting wood before pupating. The pupa stage lasts up to two years before emerging as an adult beetle.
5. Eggplant Flea Beetle
Kentucky is home to various types of beetles, but the Eggplant Flea Beetle has been seen more often than others.
The beetle is about 1/8th inch long and varies from a dark brown to black color with small hairs on the body.
The larvae are covered with bristles that are typically white or light brown and grow to be about 1/2 inch long.
Also, the larvae feed on plants such as eggplants, tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers. People often confuse these types of beetles in Kentucky for fleas because they jump when disturbed or due to vibrations.
This can make them seem like they’re jumping off the plant where they are feeding.
6. Fiery Searcher Caterpillar Hunter
The Fiery Searcher Caterpillar Hunter (Calosoma scrutator) is a type of ground beetle native to the eastern United States.
They are about an inch long and can be identified by their metallic blue-black color and distinguishing yellow markings on the head.
Like many beetles, they live under logs or rocks near water sources.
In some states, they are considered a pest as they eat larvae from other insects such as tree-boring beetles and wood wasps.
However, their natural predators include birds, spiders, and frogs. These types of beetles in Kentucky also feed on other soft-bodied insects like caterpillars.
7. Banded Ash Borer
Over 400,000 types of beetles are found on Earth, and the biodiversity is staggering. In Kentucky alone, there are many different types to be found.
One such type is the Banded Ash Borer, a beetle burrowing into ash trees.
Kentucky’s particular types of beetles can cause serious damage to these trees when populations grow too large.
The female bores out a tunnel under the bark and lays eggs, hatching into larvae that feed off the inner bark. This feeding slows tree growth and can eventually kill an ash tree if left untreated.
8. Ashy Gray Lady Beetle
Ashy gray lady beetles are a type of beetle that is native to North America. They are typically 1/4 inch long and can be found anywhere from Canada all the way to Florida.
The most distinguishing feature of this beetle is its shiny, black head and ash-gray body.
Coupled with that, this particular species feeds on aphids, which are a type of pest that attacks crops, flowers, trees, and other plants.
Their larvae feed on other types of insects, such as white grubs, sowbugs, spider mites, and thrips.
Also, they can be kept as pets if they happen to fly into your home or office space. This is because they don’t bite or sting humans like other beetles in Kentucky.
9. Antelope Beetle
One type of beetle you can find in Kentucky is the antelope beetle, which is common in the eastern United States. The two most common types are Dorcus parallelus and Dorcus unicolor.
Meanwhile, these beetles are fairly large, ranging from 2-3 centimeters long. Antelope beetles have shiny black bodies with three white stripes across their back.
They also have red legs and antennae with a club-like end. Specifically, these types of beetles in Kentucky are quite easy to identify with all these features.
10. Ant-like Longhorn Beetle
The Ant-like Longhorn Beetle (Cyrtophorus verrucosus) is a type of long-horn beetle that lives in the Eastern and Central United States. It often has red patches on its wing cases, which are used for defense against predators.
The larvae of these types of beetles in Kentucky are scavengers that feed on decaying organic matter and other larvae.
Moreover, the adults can be seen flying at night during the summer months. Usually, they are attracted to light sources such as porch lights or streetlights.
11. Andrew’s Snail-eating Beetle
Andrew’s snail-eating beetle is a small, brown beetle with an elongated snout and flattened body. The insect feeds on snails and slugs, which it digests by secreting a liquid. This liquid dissolves the slug or snail’s tissues.
Going further, these beetles in Kentucky are rare because they prefer moist habitats like wetlands. This is where they spend most of their time underground.
To sum up, they are found only in the southeastern part of the United States.
12. Acorn Weevil
Next up to be discussed on this list of the different types of beetles in Kentucky is the Acorn Weevil. Specifically, this is a type of beetle that feeds on acorns.
Acorns are the fruit from an oak tree and can be eaten fresh or processed into flour.
Furthermore, the Acorn Weevil’s larvae eat their way inside the acorn and cause it to swell up before they emerge as adults. They lay their eggs inside other acorns to continue this cycle.
13. Bean Leaf Beetle
Bean leaf beetles, or Cerotoma trifurcate, are a type of scarab beetle of the various types of beetles in Kentucky.
They are often found on beans, peas, and other legumes in the summer and early fall months. This is because they are a crop pest that feeds by piercing the leaves with their mouthparts to suck out the juices.
Also, the larvae will feed on the roots. This is a major problem for farmers who grow these plants for livestock feed. This is because it will cause significant yield loss and make harvesting difficult.
14. Bee-like Flower Scarab Beetle
This beetle is a very small, bee-like beetle that feeds on pollen from flowers and has been known to pollinate certain flowers.
The males are attracted to the females by their pheromones. Once they mate, the male will stay with the female for about a week until she lays her eggs.
Females lay eggs deep in the soil where it is moist and incubate them for about three weeks before they hatch into larvae. Larvae pupate near the surface of the soil before emerging as adults approximately two months later.
15. Beetle Grub
Beetle grubs are the larval stage in the life cycle of beetles. They’re often called grubs and appear as segmented worms with brown or black coloration.
Proceeding these types of beetles in Kentucky feed on organic matter such as dead leaves and other plant life.
They can be found worldwide, but they’re especially common in areas with a high population of trees. Areas such as the Southern United States.
16. Bicolored Flower Longhorn Beetle
One type of beetle you can find in Kentucky is the Bicolored Flower Longhorn Beetle. These beetles are found throughout the United States and Mexico.
Additionally, their name comes from the fact that males have two colors on them, with one being white and another dark brown or black.
Females, on the other hand, have more of a tan coloration on them. They get their name because they feed on flowers such as daisies, black-eyed Susans, evening primroses, and red clover, which are also typically bicolored.
Adults of these types of beetles in Kentucky can be between 1 to 2 centimeters long, but they usually only live for 3-4 weeks.
17. Big Dipper Firefly
These beetles can be found across the eastern half of North America but are most common in the Ohio Valley and on the East Coast.
As one of the several types of beetles in Kentucky, they are typically active from late evening to early morning. They can produce a flashing light which is used as a signal for mating.
This is a result of the fact that the beetle’s abdomen is filled with two chemicals, luciferin, and luciferase.
When mixed, these two chemicals create the chemical reaction that creates the light known as bioluminescence.
This is a parthenogenic species with females laying eggs without needing male fertilization.
18. Black Carpet Beetle
Black carpet beetles are tiny, black beetles that can be found on the floor and carpets. They are mainly scavengers, which means they feed on dead animals, decaying plants, and other insects.
Also, they like to eat wool, silk, hair, and fur. These types of beetles in Kentucky can often be found walking on their hind legs because they don’t have wings.
19. Black Caterpillar Hunter
Despite their name, Black Caterpillar Hunters are also known to feed on other types of insects and spiders. They have long, slender bodies, blackheads and abdomens, and brown legs.
Moreso, the larvae are black with a white stripe down the center, while the pupae are brown. These beetles can be found throughout the United States, but they’re more common in the southeastern region.
All in all, they are likewise types of beetles in Kentucky.
20. Black Firefly
Of all the different types of beetles in Kentucky, the black firefly is just the thing if you’re looking for a beetle to startle your enemies.
The black firefly is a click beetle found all over North America, though it prefers living in moist environments like riverbanks and mud flats. It gets its name from the smoky-black color that covers its elytra (or wing coverings).
Equally important to note, these beetles are nocturnal, meaning they spend their time during the night. However, they can also be seen during daylight hours if they are disturbed.
They feed on other insects but eat tree sap if nothing else is available.
21. Black Vine Weevil
The black vine weevil (Otiorrhynchus sulcatus) is a beetle introduced to North America from Europe. The black vine weevil feeds on the roots and vines of grape vines and can cause significant damage to the roots.
Vineyards with infested vines will show signs such as wilting, yellowing, stunted growth, and reduced production.
In addition to that, this pest has been found in 14 states throughout the U.S., including Kentucky. This beetle is native to Europe and feeds on grapevine roots, much smaller than the root systems found in American grapevines.
This insect isn’t left out of the list of the several types of beetles in Kentucky!
22. Broad-necked Root Borer
This type of beetle is found in the southern United States and can be found under logs, stumps, and rocks. It is a tan-colored beetle that has a dark head. They measure about 2 inches long on average.
Furthermore, the Broad-necked Root Borer feeds on plant roots and does not eat wood or bark. The larvae of these types of beetles in Kentucky live underground and feed on the roots as well.
They are most active during summer when they mate and lay eggs.
23. Bumblebee Scarab Beetle
This insect, on our list of the various types of beetles in Kentucky, is a type of beetle. It belongs to the Scarabaeidae family, which includes species such as the bumblebee scarab beetle, common rose chafer, and dung beetle.
Additionally, the bumblebee scarab beetles are only found in North America and are also commonly referred to as June bugs.
These beetles have dark brown wing covers with lighter spots on them. The female is typically larger than the male.
24. Burying Beetle
Burying beetles is one of the most common types of beetles in Kentucky that you can find. The scientific name for this type of beetle is Nicrophorus spp., which includes fifteen different species.
They’re also called burying beetles because they bury small dead animals to eat them later. Oftentimes, they are seen running around with a small animal or insect in their mouth.
Besides, these beetles create a unique life cycle where the female will lay her eggs on the carcass that’s been buried. And once they hatch, they will feed on it until it’s gone.
Once they’ve eaten enough to get big enough, they will dig out of the ground. Then, they’ll climb into a tree to pupate into adults that can fly away from danger.
25. Calligrapha Beetle
Calligrapha beetles are small, about 1/8 inch long. Calligrapha spp is one of the most common types of beetles in Kentucky.
This beetle is black with two red dots on the pronotum (the shield-like plate covering the head) and has six yellowish stripes on its elytra.
Meanwhile, it lays eggs inside cracks, crevices, or holes in wood and, at times, will create a burrow by chewing wood fibers.
This beetle can be an agricultural pest due to its habit of feeding on grain seeds as they develop within the seed pod after pollination.
26. Carolina Pine Sawyer
One of Kentucky’s most common types of beetles is the Carolina Pine Sawyer. The Carolina Pine Sawyer is a large beetle that can grow up to 2 inches long and is usually a brown or dark red color. They have long antennae and are covered with saw-like projections all over their body.
This type of beetle prefers to live on pine trees, hence its name, but it may also be found on other hardwoods if there’s no pine available.
These beetles are very secretive and rarely seen by humans because they hide deep inside the bark during the day and only emerge at night.
If you find one during the day, it has likely been disturbed by something like construction or firewood cutting nearby.
27. Carolina Tiger Beetle
The Carolina Tiger Beetle is one of the largest species found in North America. Its distinctive black and orange stripes can identify it.
The tiger beetle gets its name from the pattern on its back that is said to resemble a tiger’s fur.
Also, this species lives throughout much of North America, but it is most common east of the Rocky Mountains.
These types of beetles in Kentucky are known to eat other insects, such as flies, ants, bees, beetles, and butterflies.
28. Case-bearing Leaf Beetle
Case-bearing leaf beetles are a type of beetle that lays its eggs inside the leaves and stems, which causes the leaves to wilt and die.
These types of beetles can be found on various plants, such as tobacco and tomato. The larvae (younger stage) will eat away at the plant while they are inside it.
Once they pupate (mature stage), they will emerge from their case, leaving a hole in the leaf. Adult Case-bearing Leaf Beetles can typically be found feeding on flowers or leaves.
However, if you see larvae or cases on your plants, do not hesitate to remove them with your fingers or a trowel.
29. Cedar Beetle
Cedar beetles are a type of beetle that has adapted to live on cedar trees. They range from about 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch long and are brown with a black head. They feed on the needles and leaves, leaving behind just the bark.
Also, the larvae will attack the roots, weakening the tree and making it more susceptible to other types of insects or diseases.
Cedar beetles, like beetles in Kentucky, don’t typically kill cedars on their own. But they can weaken them, so they die when attacked by another insect or disease.
30. Checkered Beetle
Checkered beetles can be found worldwide, but they are especially common in eastern North America. They are also called seven-spotted ladybugs or ladybird beetles because their spotted shell resembles the more well-known ladybug.
In fact, checkered beetles are among the most commonly used species for the biological control of other pests like aphids and cotton bollworms.
Some people find them a nuisance when congregating around lights at night. But if you want to get rid of them, swat them with your hand, and they will fly away quickly.
We aren’t done with our list of Kentucky’s various types of beetles. Read on to find out about others!
31. Clay-colored Billbug
A large beetle found throughout the U.S., most often on sandy areas, including beaches and roadsides. The clay-colored billbug feeds on various plants, including crop plants such as corn, soybeans, and cotton.
They are considered pests because they can cause considerable damage to vegetation when populations are high.
Meanwhile, adults are 3/4 to 1 inch long with a red-brown head and pronotum (the shield-like area behind the head) that is covered with pale hairs.
Their elytra (wing covers) are yellowish or tan with dark spots near the base and along the sides. Similarly, they are also one of the several types of beetles in Kentucky.
32. Click Beetle
Click beetles, also known as Melanotus spp., are a type of ground beetle typically found outdoors and near decaying plants.
Kentucky’s particular types of beetles are typically black or brown and grow to be about half an inch long. The larvae feed on rotting vegetables and fruits, while the adults eat pollen and nectar from flowers.
Both stages of the click beetle’s life cycle can be seen during summer. But adults will start to hibernate when the temperature drops below 50° F.
Click beetles are harmless creatures, so don’t worry about them biting you!
33. Cottonwood Borer Beetle
The Cottonwood Borer Beetle, also known as the Plectrodera scalator, is a type of beetle that can be found throughout the state of Kentucky.
This species has been documented to inhabit cottonwood trees from Eastern Oregon and Eastern Washington.
These beetles are considered pests due to their destructive nature towards cottonwood trees, which provides food and shelter for many other types of wildlife.
Furthermore, the beetles will lay eggs on the bark near small cracks or wounds, hatching larvae that tunnel into the tree’s vascular system.
After several years, the larvae will eventually cause total tree death by sucking out all its life-giving sap. The Cottonwood Borer Beetle is considered one of the most invasive species in North America.
34. Cottonwood Leaf Beetle
Cottonwood leaf beetles are the most prevalent type of beetle in Kentucky. These beetles can be found throughout the state but are more common near rivers, streams, and other water sources.
Cottonwood leaf beetles can be identified by their bronze-colored bodies with black spots on their backs and red patches on their bellies.
Also, these beetles have a white spot between their eyes. The cottonwood leaf beetle feeds on willow trees and cottonwood leaves, so they are often found near these types of plants.
Cottonwood leaf beetle pupae overwinter within tree bark, close to willows or cottonwoods that have been infested with live larvae during the summer season.
Adult females lay eggs that hatch into larvae in springtime when new shoots emerge from these trees.
35. Dark Brown Click Beetle
Similarly, Dark Brown Click Beetles are one of the most common types of beetles in Kentucky. They can be found in many different habitats but typically under logs, bark, and stones.
These beetles can fly but don’t travel very far and usually stay within a 100-foot radius.
Female Dark Brown Click Beetles lay eggs on a tree’s surface, which hatch into larvae that fall to the ground. They eat dead wood or other types of decaying material.
These beetles use a characteristic clicking sound to communicate with each other over long distances.
36. Darkling Beetle
Native to the United States and Canada, Darkling beetles can be found throughout North America. They are dark brown beetle and are often confused with ground beetles due to their similar size.
However, they can be differentiated by their shiny exoskeleton.
Uniquely, these beetles in Kentucky are omnivores, feeding on plants and animal matter. Adults eat small insects like aphids, while larvae prey on snails.
Occasionally, they will feed on larger animals like earthworms or slugs.
If you find one crawling around your garden, it is not a pest because they eat harmful insects that could damage your plants.
37. Dogbane Leaf Beetle
As we draw close to the end of this list of the numerous types of beetles in Kentucky, the Dogbane Leaf Beetle isn’t left out.
This type of beetle you can find on dogbane and other plants. They have an elongated body shape with shades of green, brown, and yellow.
Dogbane Leaf Beetles eat the leaves off the plant they are on, leaving only the veins that protect them from predators.
A female will lay eggs at the base of a leaf or stem, hatching and feeding off plant material until they pupate into an adult.
38. Drugstore Beetle
At one time, the drugstore beetle was a major pest that infested cereal and grain products in warehouses. The drugstore beetle is now rarely seen or found as a pest because better storage methods have been developed.
Drugstore beetles, one of the types of beetles in Kentucky, are very small, measuring less than two-tenths of an inch long.
Coupled with that, they are dark brown with whitish spots on their backs. These beetles like to congregate near lights and windows during the night so that they may be more noticeable then.
Drugstore beetles feed on cereals, flour, dried fruit, rice, beans, and nuts. They do this while they are still in the package or stored inside boxes or containers where they can’t escape to find food elsewhere.
39. Dung Beetle
Dung beetles are very important to the ecosystem. They are some of the few animals that eat poop, which prevents disease and promotes plant growth.
Dung beetles can be found in many different types of habitats. But they prefer open areas with sparse vegetation like fields, pastures, and meadows.
Dichotomius (Dichotomius spp.) is a dung beetle common to Kentucky and can be found throughout North America.
This beetle has a black head with brown-yellow spots on its wing cases. There is also a small brown spot on its back near the top of its thorax.
The antennae are dark brown or black, and they end our list of the types of beetles in Kentucky!
The Commonwealth of Kentucky is home to an impressive array of different species, with more than 400 types of beetles in Kentucky found throughout the state.
These beetles are vital to the ecosystem, serving as food sources for birds and fish and keeping pesky insects in check.
Meanwhile, there are several different ways that you can find and identify the types of beetles in Kentucky. These include using their location and their physical characteristics.
The above listed are the most common types of beetles in Kentucky that you’re likely to find! We are sure we helped!