Texas boasts an incredibly diverse insect population, estimated to include between thirty thousand and forty thousand species. Of these insects, beetles are particularly abundant and play vital roles within their respective ecosystems. Due to the arid climate of Texas, some of the larger beetle species in the state are more active than their counterparts in more humid regions.
However, not all beetles found in Texas are welcome, as some can cause considerable damage to crops and other vegetation. In the following list, we will explore the range of beetles found in Texas, from harmless species to those that can be destructive to the environment.
13 Beetles in Texas
The following list of beetles in Texas includes 13 diverse species, ranging from weevils to the common ladybug, showcasing the remarkable variety of insects found throughout the Lone Star State. Let’s learn more about each of these fascinating creatures and take a closer look at pictures of them.
Scientific name: Curculionoidea
Weevils are small insects, reaching only a fourth of an inch in size, that are known for having long snouts. They are common all across Texas, as well as several other areas in the U.S. Many types of weevils are considered pests because of the damage they can do to crops.
Weevils are known to destroy grain, wheat, and cotton. Some weevils will grow wings and develop the ability to fly while others won’t.
2. Ground Beetle
Scientific name: Carabidae
Ground beetles can be found in many regions worldwide, and they have become a common insect in the state of Texas. Most ground beetles will have shiny black coloring with ridged wing covers. They are able to produce secretions that are noxious or caustic or order to deter predators.
They prefer living under logs or tree bark, among rocks, and alongside ponds and rivers. Ground beetles will often hunt and eat other smaller insects.
3. Longhorn beetle
Scientific name: Cerambycidae
Longhorn beetles, also called long-horned or longicorns, are known for having long antennae that can sometimes get longer than their body. These beetles can be beneficial to their habitats because they decompose dead and injured trees.
However, these species can easily become a pest if an infested piece of wood is brought inside. They are known to bore into wood, causing damage.
4. Green June beetle
Scientific name: Cotinis nitida
Green June beetles are commonly called June beetles or June bugs. They have a distinct green-brown coloring and are most common in Southern regions like Texas. They are sometimes confused with the similar figeater beetle, which is also seen in Texas.
Adults rarely reach an inch in size. They can be destructive to several types of fruit, including grapes, peaches, apples and pears. These beetles will also eat fruit that is already rotten.
5. Leaf beetles
Scientific name: Chrysomelidae
Lead beetles are some of the most commonly seen types of beetles. They can look similar to longhorn beetles, with the main difference being where their antennae are located. Adults and larva will feed on various types of plants.
While some can be destructive due to how much they eat, they can also carry diseases between plants. However, some leaf beetles can help with controlling weeds.
6. Emerald ash borer
Scientific name: Agrilus planipennis
Emerald ash borers are often just called EAB. These insects can be quite destructive to ash trees, which are found across North America. In addition to feeding on them, females of the species will lay their eggs under the bark. It can take up to two years for the adults to leave the tree.
Governments across the country are working on ways to control this beetle, as there is not much that is known about them.
7. Stag beetle
Scientific name: Lucanidae
While many stag beetles will only reach around two inches long, they are known to grow as big as four and a half inches. These insects have distinctive mandibles, which is where they got their name. These appendages closely resemble the antlers found on stags.
Mandibles found on males of the species are oversized, allowing them to fight with each other over females. Stag beetles are able to fly as well and usually choose this option over walking.
8. Checkered beetles
Scientific name: Cleridae
Checkered beetles can be found all around the world and have various types of habitats. Many of these beetles will act as predators, feeding on other beetle species and larvae, while others act as pollinators.
While checkered beetles have been known to be pests for certain food sources, they can also be used as control. They have specifically been used in controlling bark beetles due to their predacious nature and large appetite.
9. Cottonwood borer
Scientific name: Plectrodera scalator
Cottonwood borers are a specific type of longhorn beetle that is commonly found across Texas. These large beetles can reach over an inch long and their antennae are known to grow longer than their bodies. They are known for their black rectangular pattern over a pale yellow.
The larvae of these insects are known to attack the roots of fruit trees like apples, peaches, and pears. They are most active at night and got their name for how regularly they infest cottonwood.
10. Varied carpet beetle
Scientific name: Anthrenus verbasci
This small beetle is a common household pest and is even known to wreak havoc on natural history museums. Their larvae can damage furniture, carpets, and clothing. Varied carpet beetles have also been known to damage insect collections stored in museums.
These beetles have rounded bodies that are covered in brown, yellow, or white scales. Typically they will have more than one coloring, creating a type of pattern. Varied carpet beetles have a life cycle of right around two weeks.
11. Rainbow scarab
Scientific name: Phanaeus vindex
Rainbow scarabs are a type of dung beetle that is commonly found in Texas and the Rocky Mountains. Their heads are a metallic yellow color, and males have a long horn that curves backwards. Males and females have a retractable antenna.
Rainbow scarabs are not a pest species, but instead, play a vital role in their habitats. Males and females both work to break down fecal matter, which also keeps flies from spreading diseases.
12. Soft-winged flower beetles
Scientific name: Melyridae
These small beetles are typically oval-shaped and don’t reach more than half an inch in length. Most have bright patterns consisting of red, yellow, or brown. They can be found across North America and several other regions worldwide.
Soft-winged flower beetles are commonly found in flowers, under tree bark, or in leaf litter. They are known to eat other insects, especially those that visit flowers they are inhabiting, and pollen.
13. Asian lady beetle
Scientific name: Harmonia axyridis
Commonly known as a ladybug, very few are aware that these insects are, in fact, beetles. However, the Asian multicolored lady beetle is not the native lady beetle that we’re most used to seeing.
This beetle will destroy some of your favorite garden flowers, like roses and hibiscus. They’re also known to get inside and gather in homes before winter hits to stay warm.
This invasive species has slowly been pushing native lady beetles out of North America since the 1970s when they first came onto the continent. Their coloration can range from red to a browner tone and even into the orange spectrum.
You can set them apart from native lady beetles by looking for the white coloration on their head. Their black spots can vary between individuals and therefore is not the best measure for telling the two species apart.
If you’re having trouble with these beetles eating through your garden, one thing you can do is praying mantis eggs. The mantis is a natural predator of the lady beetle and will keep the population controlled.
Ladybugs are very common in Texas and can cause many problems for it’s residents, though they are also helpful to farmers.