There are roughly 4,000 beetle species in the U.S., many of which can be found in South Carolina and the surrounding states.
You might notice that many of these beetles have wings, which means they can fly away when they feel threatened by you or your pets.
But many South Carolina beetles don’t, therefore unable to fly away from you when you encounter them.
So, what types of beetles in south Carolina can you expect to encounter in your backyard or other areas around Charleston?
Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common beetle types in South Carolina.
1. True Weevils Beetle
Weevils are found primarily in fruit orchards, where they can be devastating pests. Adults resemble scarab beetles but have wings folded over the back and are more comprehensive than beetles.
The larvae are legless white grubs. Two types of weevils live in South Carolina: true weevils and snout beetles.
True weevils live on various plants and crops such as peaches, plums, grapes, beans, nuts, and potatoes; their life span is about six weeks.
Snout beetles also live on plants such as roses or ornamental flowers. They are usually less harmful than other types of insects.
These types of beetles in south Carolina have short antennae, which distinguish them from other beetles.
Unlike true weevils, they do not eat vegetable matter and will mainly damage the leaves of plants. Their lifespan is around lightweight months, and an adult will lay between 10-30 eggs simultaneously.
They prefer living in moist areas near ponds or ditches because these habitats provide egg-laying moisture and food resources for their larvae (true weevils need dry environments).
2. Metallic Wood-Boring Beetle
A Metallic Wood-Boring Beetle is a beetle that lives in South Carolina but can be found worldwide. They are often called jewel beetles because they are so colorful and shiny.
Some people think they look like jewelry from afar! They get their name from feeding on dead and living trees and other plants.
Their life cycle can be anywhere from two to six years long, depending on how often they hibernate during the winter months, usually between one and three times.
The adult beetles lay eggs at or near woody plants near infested trees. The larvae will bore through these woods before pupating inside of them.
After emerging as adults, females deposit more eggs around the same area where they first laid their eggs.
3. Longhorned Beetle
No matter how you pronounce it, it’s a longhorned beetle. There is no shortage when you live in a state with more than 12,000 types of beetles alone. A long-horned beetle is just one type of beetle that resides here.
Let’s look at this particular type of beetle and what it does for our state. The long-horned beetle is the only insect known to produce its digestive enzymes to feed on plants, trees, and other insects.
They are also known as a type of weevil because they have solid jaws or mandibles, which they use to chew their food before swallowing.
One example is an oak weevil which eats acorns and other nuts like walnuts or hazelnuts when they fall from trees into lawns or underbrush near forests.
Another type of long-horned beetle is a hemlock borer which lives inside hemlock tree trunks, causing the tree to rot and eventually die.
These types of beetles in south Carolina contribute to shaping some of our natural scenery but not always positively.
4. Tiger Beetle
The Tiger Beetle is named for its distinctive stripes and can be found in various colors, including black, green, and red.
They are most active during summer days when they hunt other insects. The Tiger Beetle can grow up to two inches long, making it one of the giant beetles.
These types of beetles in South Carolina are not aggressive and will only bite if provoked. It is also known as a good friend of gardeners because it eats harmful pests that feed on plants.
Tiger Beetles live on land and breathe through little holes on their sides called spiracles. They must hold their abdomens high off the ground to avoid suffocating so air flows over them.
These beetles have five visible legs with enlarged forelegs, giving them added strength while running on challenging terrain or attacking prey. They can move quickly in all directions and can fly for short distances.
Tigers don’t produce any sound but communicate by drumming the abdomen against a hard surface. Females lay eggs singly or in clusters, usually on vegetation near water where plenty of food is available for larvae after hatching.
Adult beetles emerge from pupae between May and October and spend most of their time hiding under logs, stones, boards, or leaf litter until they find a mate.
5. American Oil Beetle
The most common type of beetle found in South Carolina is the American Oil Beetle. The name derives from their love for oils, fats, and greases. These beetles are often seen scavenging at restaurants and cafeterias.
They are reddish brown or black with yellow spots on their wing cases. Their antennae have a white or orange tip with three small knobs at the end.
These types of beetles in south Carolina is called larder beetle because they feed on animal products like bacon, ham, and cheese that have been left out too long to spoil or go rancid.
It can be found near these types of foods as well as flour mills and grain storage facilities. It’s scientific name is Dermestes lardarius. Another type is called the Varied Carpet Beetle.
It is reddish-brown or black with yellow spots and small white bumps. This beetle can be up to 1/4 long. These beetles are like dark places, so you will likely find them under seats and carpets.
This beetle does not bite humans but may leave behind an unpleasant odor due to its food source of dead insects, dust, hair, feathers, pollen, and more. Its scientific name is Anthrenus verbasci.
6. Dung Beetles
The dung beetle spends its life in search of animal droppings. It does not discriminate and will eat any droppings it can find.
When it finds a good source, it rolls the animal feces into a ball, which is called a dung ball. The beetle then carries this ball back to its nest, feeding its young.
These types of beetles in south Carolina are often seen rolling balls of manure down hillsides in a game of chance to avoid being eaten by predators. They also use the excrement as food for their larvae.
There are more than 500 species that exist worldwide and more than 300 species in North America. Dung beetles can be either active or passive, depending on their lifestyle choice.
Active dung beetles actively seek out droppings, while passive ones wait for prey to come near them.
Once an insect comes close enough to the beetle, it will grab onto them with its claws and eat them like a yummy treat!
Some types of these bugs even have adaptations that help them carry away some prey from their nests to feed themselves and their babies. It’s incredible how many ways to explore one type of insect exist!
7. American Carrion Beetle
The American Carrion Beetle is a giant, black beetle with a red-orange underside that lives near rotting material. It’s often seen eating grubs and other insects from animal carcasses.
The male’s antennae are longer than the female’s and curve backward, while females have shorter antennae that bend forward.
They can grow up to two inches long and smell like coriander or dill. These types of beetles in South Carolina do not usually bite humans, but they may scratch people who pick them up. If you encounter one, don’t try to handle it—move away from it slowly.
The American carrion beetle has many names, including the meat fly and Maggot Eater. Types of beetles in south Carolina mostly eat dead animals such as birds, fish, rodents, and deer.
Some beetles burrow into the earth, while others stay on trees, where they live until they die.
8. Cottonwood Borer Beetle
The cottonwood borer beetle is a longhorn with an oval-shaped body and a brown or black abdomen.
The males have antennae that are longer than their bodies, and the females have antennae that are shorter than their bodies. They prefer to feed on cottonwood trees but eat ash, walnut, box elder, and other types.
The larvae also go by another name which is white grubs. These types of beetles in South Carolina can be found across North America but are most often seen in the south-central states.
The cottonwood borer beetle prefers to live on the ground surface during its pupa stage and prefers humid weather conditions for its larval stage.
Once it becomes an adult, it lives in holes at the base of trees and lays eggs. Once the eggs hatch, there is only one generation each year because these types of beetles are cold-blooded insects.
Males will attract females with pheromones from glands near their abdomen’s tip. The pheromones produce scents that help find mates over long distances.
Males use hooks on their front legs to hold onto a female while mating (reproductive process).
9. False Potato Beetle
The False Potato Beetle is a common beetle found throughout the United States. It has been observed on more than two hundred host plants but prefers potatoes and tomatoes.
The False Potato Beetle lays eggs on the leaves or stems of its host plant, depending on what time of year it is and what type it is.
They will lay eggs on leaves or under the soil near their host plant in early summer. As winter approaches, they move deeper into their host plant’s roots and underground storage organs, where they will feed until spring when they start laying eggs again.
These different types of beetles in south Carolina usually do not create any damage by providing but do so by introducing harmful bacteria that cause rotting of the plant’s internal tissue.
10. Convergent Lady Beetle
The Convergent Lady Beetle is one of the most common types of beetles in South Carolina. They are also called Convergent Lady Bird Beetles, Coccinellidae, Coleoptera, and Heteroptera.
These beetles are found throughout the world and can be found on every continent except Antarctica.
Their colors vary from orange-red to dark brown with white markings on their wing cases, and they have blackheads.
The Convergent Lady Beetle eats aphids which can lead to an agricultural pest problem when they are present. Some species of convergent lady beetles eat other pests like scale insects, mealybugs, and mites.
There are about 45 species that live in North America alone, but it is hard to know for sure because there needs to be more research done on them.
The convergent lady beetle larvae have an extraordinary appearance that can resemble cicadas or mantises.
11. Darkling Beetle
The Darkling Beetle is one of the most abundant types of beetles in South Carolina and can be found anywhere from sandy beaches to leaf litter on forest floors.
These beetles are dark brown or black, with no metallic sheen, and average about 1/4 inch long (6mm). You can find them on anything made of organic matter, feeding on it for their whole life.
They are also found worldwide, although they are not as common as other types of beetles. Unlike many kinds of beetles, Darkling Beetles don’t eat living plants.
Instead, they get their nutrients by eating decomposing leaves, fungi, rotting wood, and fruit that have fallen to the ground.
If you see a pile of dead leaves moving around on its own, it may be a beetle larva hunting for food!
12. South Pine Beetle
The south pine beetle is an insect that attacks pine trees. It can also attack spruce and Douglas fir trees but prefers pines.
Adult beetles feed on pine needles until they die, which can take a few weeks or more than a year. The larvae bore into the tree’s trunk and branches, killing it.
In some cases, infested trees may be saved by removing the bark from around the hole where they are feeding and injecting insecticide into them. There are two types of south pine beetle: black and red.
These types of beetles in south Carolina lay their eggs on live pines, while red beetles lay their eggs on dead ones.
Red beetles have rounder abdomens, and the males have horns near their heads, while females have flat cores with tiny holes for laying eggs.
One group of scientists found a fungus present in white pines when they’re alive but not when they’re dead.
They suspect that it might help protect white pines from southern pine beetles, so much so that if white pine forests became widespread enough, southern pine beetles would die out because they wouldn’t be suitable hosts.
13. Scarab Beetle
Insects are often overlooked as a food source, but they are a plentiful and affordable option. Scarab beetles are a type of beetle that can be used for human consumption.
As their name suggests, these beetles have a hard outer shell, making it difficult for predators to eat them.
In addition, scarab beetles have an edible sac called elytra that cover their wings and abdomen. The elytra are filled with meaty juices that make these insects taste greatly fried or grilled.
They’re easy to catch because they usually lie around on plants. You could quickly fill your skillet with these bugs without noticing flavor differences.
You might think these beetles are gross and would never try them, but take some time to get familiar with all the types of beetles in South Carolina. Next time you see one, try picking it up and popping it into your mouth!
14. Cuttoo Beetles
There are many types of beetles, each with its unique characteristics. The most common beetle found worldwide is called a cuttoo beetle.
These beetles are typically dark brown and have one raised spot on their back, which is known as an elytron.
Cuttoo Beetles thrive in moist environments but can be found elsewhere as well. They live for about two years and feed primarily on decaying plant matter.
If you happen to come across these different types of beetles in South Carolina, don’t be surprised if it is still alive even though it looks dead; these beetles produce an oily secretion that helps them dry out during periods of drought.
They also use this oil to repel predators. When trying to identify a type of beetle, people often look at the elytra because they resemble wings and give insight into what kind of insect they are looking at.
Cuttoo Beetles have eight legs, while other types only have six legs or none at all. You will often find this beetle near rotting logs or fallen trees since they enjoy moist environments like these.
15. Andrew’S Snail-Eating Beetle
The Andrew’s Snail-eating Beetle is found in wetland habitats, and it can be distinguished by its striking red-orange elytra (wing covers) and black head.
They are often seen feeding on snails or slugs, so they have earned their name. Adults are giant beetles, measuring up to one inch long.
However, larvae are tiny (less than 1/8 inch), elongated, and brownish-black. Larvae will overwinter under logs, stones, or leaf litter.
In general, most beetles are predators and scavengers that feed on various types of organic material such as decaying leaves, animal dung, carrion (dead animals), etc. and living plant matter like sap flow from living trees.
Some types of beetles in south Carolina feed on fungi; for example, some Coccinellidae prey on aphids that damage plants.
Some beetles pollinate flowers; for example, bees gather nectar from flowers such as sunflowers to produce honey.
16. Blister Beetles
Known by their other name, blister beetles, they are beetles of the family Meloidae. Their defense mechanism, cantharidin, has been recorded in human blister skin.
The Blister Beetle is a large genus of beetles in the Family Meloidae, known by their other name, Blister Beetles.
The term refers to a defense mechanism wherein an exudate produced during a beetle’s larval stage causes inflammation on contact with skin. They range in size from 1-10mm and have different colors, including black, brown, and yellow.
The larvae secrete an irritating fluid containing solanine glycoalkaloids that cause irritation or blistering of skin which helps deter predators.
Some species have toxic fluids that can be lethal if ingested. In contrast to most beetles, blister beetles possess chemical defenses against vertebrate predators, including birds, mammals, and humans.
There are many types of beetles in South Carolina that can be found with little research. One type is the Ground Beetle, which is brown and black, and they are called this because they often live in dirt or sand.
Another beetle is called the Stag Beetle, in which males have large mandibles. The final type of beetle found locally is called a Jewel Beetle, which has bright colors and can be found at night.
These beetles are helpful when fighting against pests like mosquitos, spiders, and caterpillars. They fly around flowers to collect pollen for their larvae, using it as food.
Some types of beetles in south Carolina are known for biting humans if touched, so be careful when handling these types of beetles in South Carolina.