Beetles belong to the Coleoptera order. Their forewings create a protective wing case that covers the hind wing.
They usually have biting mouth parts and are predators of other insects and invertebrates, though some are plant feeders.
Beetles are harmless to humans and it can be fun being able to identify them when you find them in your yard, at home, or when you are out in nature.
Continue reading to find out what beetles you are likely to encounter in Florida.
1. Asian Ladybug
The Asian Ladybug (Harmonia axyridis) was introduced from Asia as a biological control of arthropod pests. They have become established and spread quickly throughout the United States, including Florida.
These ladybugs come in a variety of color patterns. They vary from orange with black spots to red with black spots, and solid orange. They are often mistaken as the ladybird introduced from Europe, which has seven spots. They are often found feeding on plants and insect hosts.
2. Sri Lanka Weevil
This weevil (Myllocerus undecimpustulatus) is a plant pest that spread from India to the United States. It is a pest to more than twenty crops in the United States today. It was first found in Florida in 2000 where it can be encountered in twelve counties.
As adults, the Sri Lanka weevil can grow to 8.5 millimeters with the females being slightly larger than the males. They have yellow on their heads, helping identify them apart from other weevils in the area.
They host a range of more than one hundred and fifty plants including vegetables and fruits.
3. Dark Flower Scarab
The Dark Flower Scarab (Euphoria sepulcralis) is a day-flying beetle that is commonly encountered in Florida. It does cause damage to roses, corn, and the flowers of blooming fruit trees. You can encounter this beetle throughout Florida from Key West to Escambia County. They are found in fifty-two Florida counties.
This beetle is dark with cream or white markings. They grow to up to fourteen millimeters in length with metallic green or bronze reflections.
4. Diaprepes Root Weevil
The Diaprepes Root Weevil (Diaprepes abbreviatus) is native to the Caribbean and has been introduced to Florida, where it was first reported in 1964. It is believed it was introduced on an ornamental plant. It has since spread throughout central and southern Florida causing damage to ornamental and citrus plants, along with crops.
It infests over one hundred thousand acres of citrus in Florida, causing approximately $70 million in damage each year to the State. This weevil grows to 1.9 centimeters in length and is black with tiny white, red-orange, and yellow scales on the wing covers.
The adults emerge from pupae in the soil and have deciduous mandibles that break as they tunnel through the soil to get above the ground. They attack more than two hundred and seventy plant species, including vegetables, strawberries, sugarcane, papaya, sweet potato, and guava.
The first sign of this weevil invasion is notching on the margin of young leaves. They are easy to find during the day on the foliage of the plant.
5. Horned Passalus Beetle
This beetle (Odontotaenius disjunctus) belongs to the Scarabaeoldea family and is widely distributed in Florida. This beneficial beetle decomposes wood. They only decompose decaying logs and wood and do not cause problems to urban structures.
They can be encountered in a limited area in Florida. The horned Passalus beetle is relatively large. They are glossy black and grow to four centimeters in length. There are golden hairs on the middle pair of legs, antennae, and pronotum.
They have deep grooves on the elytra. The antennae comprise ten segments. There is a single horn that points forward from between the eyes. Adult beetles can live for up to one year and emit acoustic signals when they feel agitated or disturbed.
6. Eastern Eyed Click Beetle
The Eastern Eyed Click Beetle (Alaus oculatus) is striking in appearance and large. They are widespread in Florida. This beetle grows to 4.5 centimeters and has large false eyes on the pronotum.
They have a mottled pattern on their dorsal surface. The pattern varies from one individual to the next. They can be easily distinguished from other species by their small eye spots and color patterns.
7. Rainbow Scarab
The Rainbow Scarab (Phanaeus vindex) belongs to the Scarabaeidae family, better known as dung beetles. They are native to the eastern United States and commonly encountered in the Florida Keys and the Everglades, which are the only Florida regions where they have been recorded.
The grub-like larvae have C-shaped bodies with hardened heads and soft bodies. The adults are oval or elongated and bulky. They grow to just over two centimeters in length. The males have a metallic appearance with a large horn on the head. Females do not have horns.
They have a plate-like thorax in metallic bronze with red. The elytra are metallic green. Some individuals are blue or black without the bronze-red coloration.
8. Smooth Ox Beetle
The Smooth Ox Beetle (Strategus antaeus) is a rhinoceros beetle. The males have three large horns on their thorax. Females have short horns used for digging. They grow to 3.8 centimeters in length.
The larvae feed on roots in the ground and adults feed on flowers and fruits. The larvae can take up to six months to reach the pupal stage, which can be shortened in warmer temperatures.
Adults are most active from May to November. Adults are attracted to lights and this is when you are likely to encounter them in the summer months. The larvae are considered pests as they cause damage to gardens and lawns by feeding on roots.
9. Sculptured Pine Borer
The Sculptured Pine Borer (Chalcophora virginiensis) belongs to the Bupeslidae family and is endemic to forested areas. They have broad, small heads with a rugged thorax in dark copper. The elytra are the same color as the thorax.
The belly is shiny and copper. They host red pine and white pine.
10. Margined Leatherwing Beetle
The Margined Leatherwing Beetle (Chauliognathus marginatus) has black on the shoulders, blending into the head. The black patches on the elytra vary from one individual to the next. They are usually dark white, some have oval markings. The elytra resemble leather in texture and sheen. This beetle looks similar to a firefly but does not have bioluminescence.
These are soldier beetles and adults are commonly encountered during the spring on a variety of flowers. They climb in and out of flowers, covering themselves in pollen. They are excellent pollinators for fields, meadows, and gardens. They also prey on numerous pest insects, benefiting gardeners.
11. Delta Flower Scarab
The Delta Flower Scarab (Trigonopeltastes delta) is flower and fruit chafers feeding on decomposing fruits or pollen. They are brightly colored with distinct patterns. They are commonly seen in Florida and can be identified by the yellow triangular markings on the pronotum.
As adults, they grow to 11 millimeters in length with long abdomens. They have black heads and weakly developed mouthparts. The antennae are shaped like a club and comprise ten segments.
12. Spotless Ladybug
This Spotless Ladybug (Cycloneda sanguinea) is widespread in Florida. It is a large ladybug with no spots on the wing covers and varies from deep red to orange.
They have distinct black and white markings on the pronotum and head. The female has white and black on her head and pronotum with black in the center than runs down the face. Males have a white face and a white cleft above the head.
You are likely to find this ladybug feeding on milkweeds and other plants. The pupae can bite predators to defend themselves.
13. Air Potato Leaf Beetle
The Air Potato Leaf Beetle (Lilioceris cheni) is native to Asia and was deliberately introduced to Florida in 2012 to control air potatoes. These beetles grow to 9mm in length and 4 millimeters in width. The elytra range from orange or red, to brown. The abdomen, head, legs, and thorax are black.
These are elongated beetles with a rectangular-shaped abdomen and a narrow head with large bulging eyes. These beetles are being reared to help with air potato invasion. The air potato is a vine that was introduced to southern Florida in the early 1900s. This weed infests all sixty-seven Florida counties.
The plant is considered one of the most aggressive weeds introduced to Florida, forming blankets and smothering native trees and plant species. The air potato leaf beetle is the most common way to control these weeds.
14. Margined Shining Leaf Chafer
The Margined Shining Leaf Chafer (Callistethus marginatus) is a beautiful beetle native to the Eastern United States. These beetles start their lives as underground grubs, feeding on the roots of plants and young trees. They can cause extensive damage to ornamental plants and leaves.
This beetle has a metallic body and wings with a green tint to them. They are red-brown with a metallic green sheen. They have pale-yellow or cream margins on the pronotum with light legs.
This is a nocturnal beetle that is often seen resting on flowers during the day. They are commonly seen around artificial lights at night. They are preyed on by bats.
15. Alligatorweed Flea Beetle
The Alligatorweed Flea Beetle (Agasicles hygrophila) has been studied extensively for the biological control of aquatic weeds. Alligator weed is an invasive aquatic weed that is native to South America and has been threatening the waterways in Florida since the early 1900s.
Alligator weed forms dense floating mats that block drains and water intake valves. The alligator weed flea beetle was successfully introduced in Florida in 1960 and has successfully established itself on the invasive weed.
The first successful release of this beetle in Florida was made on the weed that was infesting the Ortega River near Jacksonville. The beetle is native to Brazil and northern Argentina.
The adult beetles can grow to 7 millimeters in length and two millimeters in width with shiny black heads and thoraxes. They have hardened forewings that are black with yellow stripes.
16. Punctured Tiger Beetle
The Punctured Tiger Beetle (Cicindela punctulata) is common in sandy soil in Florida. They are mostly black and are commonly found from June to October. They grow to fourteen millimeters in length and are dull black.
You will find these beetles in just about every habitat, including city sidewalks. They have long slender legs, bulging eyes, and curved mandibles. The larvae live in cylindrical burrows up to one meter below the surface.
17. Blue-Green Citrus Root Weevil
The Blue-Green Citrus Root Weevil (Pachnaeus litus) is a destructive pest to citrus trees. It is also a significant pest to high-bush blueberry plants in central Florida. They also feed on the roots of the blueberry plants, causing major damage to plants more than two years old.
The female beetle deposits her eggs between two leaves, that are held together with an excreted adhesive. The oblong-oval eggs are smooth. An adult female can live for up to four months and can lay up to five thousand eggs during that time.
The eggs hatch within eight days and larvae then burrow into the soil, feeding on the roots of citrus plants. After pupation, the adults emerge from the soil. Adults vary from black with red-orange, yellow, or white scales on their wing covers.
The adults feed on the margins of leaves, creating a notched pattern. The larvae are serious pests to blueberry plants where they feed on the roots. Damage includes channeling on the bark and roots, holes in the roots, and girdling near the crown. These injuries can cause a serious decline in blueberry plants or they can kill the plant.
Adult beetles are active from May to November in central Florida. Growers look for young weevils by inspecting young foliage for the notched pattern on the leaf margin.
18. Hardwood Stump Borer
The Hardwood Stump Borer (Mallodon dasystomus) males have large pincers with fine hairs. These beetles are robust in size with large, thick mouthparts. The females are rounded, while the males are slender. They are dark brown, almost black.
The boxy thorax has fine teeth on the outer edges. Adults feed on ants and insects. They will inflict a painful bite if disturbed. The larvae can be found inside tree stumps and other wooden structures.
The larvae eat away at wood as they develop, leaving holes in trees, decks, and other wooden structures. It can take up to four months for a grub to fully mature. Most hardwood trees can be a host, this includes maple, willow, elm, pecan, and maple trees. In large numbers, they can harm flooring, furniture, and wood-based industries.
19. Common Green June Beetle
The Common Green June Beetle (Cotinis nitida), also known as the June bug, belongs to the Scarabaeidae family. They are active during the day and can grow to 2 centimeters in length. They have dulled metallic green wings with gold sides.
The legs, underside, and head are bright green. Adult beetles emerge in June and can vary from dull brown with green stripes to a solid metallic green. They feed on fruits including peaches, grapes, berries, pears, apples, figs, and nectarines.
20. Palmetto Tortoise Beetle
The Palmetto Tortoise Beetle (Hemisphaerota cyanea), also known as the Florida tortoise beetle causes damage to palms. It is the only tortoise beetle to feed on palms in Florida.
These are dark blue or purple beetles with longitudinal rows on the hard forewings. They have yellow antennae with a black basal segment. They have adhesive bristles on the tarsi with only two bristles touching a leaf when they walk.
When attacked, the beetle puts all the bristles into contact with the surface, secreting oil into the pads, which creates a strong adhesive bond. This makes it sixty times heavier than its weight for up to two minutes, making it hard for predators to remove them from the surface.
21. Grapevine Beetle
The Grapevine Beetle (Pelidnota punctata) is a spotted June beetle. They are common in Florida and do not cause too much damage to their host plants. They are fast flyers with curved flight patterns.
As adults, they grow to 2.5 centimeters in length. They are red or yellow with four black spots that run down either side. There are black lines that divide the edge of the elytra. They are active flyers and are attracted to artificial lights at night.
They are often encountered in thickets, woods, and forests, along with gardens and vineyards. Adult beetles feed on the leaves and fruits of grapevines.
22. Cottonwood Leaf Beetle
The Cottonwood Leaf Beetle (Chrysomela scripta) is one of the most economically important pests of managed cottonwood in Florida. It is not a serious pest in forests but is considered a serious pest of urban ornamental trees.
They feed on the leaves causing extensive leaf loss to trees, along with reduced stem volume of up to seventy percent. Their main host is cottonwood and moves from under the bark as soon as spring leaf growth occurs. They feed on immature bugs.
Adult beetles grow to six millimeters and have black heads, thoraces, and antennae. They have red or yellow margins on the thorax. The hardened forewings are yellow with broken black stripes.
23. Palmetto Weevil
This is the largest weevil in Florida and is native to Florida. It is a pest to stressed nursery and transplanted palms, along with healthy Canary Island dates. They have strong mandibles on a long snout-like projection from the head, which is as long as the body.
The modified mouthparts are used to feed and prepare holes in host plants for their eggs. They feed on plant material and are a pest. This beetle has been found from the coastal areas of South Carolina to the Florida Keys. They can be found throughout the state.
The Palmetto weevil (Rhynchophorus cruentatus) can vary in color from red with a black pattern to solid black. They are around three centimeters from the tip of the nostrum to the last abdominal segment. In undisturbed areas, the palms are not often found with palmetto weevil infestation, though trees that have been struck by lightning have an increased risk of infestation.
The symptoms of a palmetto infestation are irreversible and cause a serious decline in young leaves.
24. Metallic Blue Ladybug
The Metallic Blue Ladybug (Curinus coeruleus) is blue with two orange markings on the hard shell. They are native to the Caribbean and were imported to Florida in the 1950s.
You are likely to encounter this ladybug in Florida throughout the year. They feed on aphids and scale insects.
25. Southern Masked Chafer
The Southern Masked Chafer (Cyclocephala lurida) is a beetle that is native to the southeastern United States. This brown beetle has a black head and can grow to 14 millimeters in length. They do not cause harm as adults but the larvae feed on grass roots, that is known to kill turf in dry conditions.
The larvae are known as white grubs and can grow to 2.5 centimeters. The adults are completely harmless but the grubs can cause serious damage to dry lawns.
26. Carolina Burying Beetle
The Carolina Burying Beetle (Nicrophorus carolina) competes with fire ants in Florida. This is a large beetle that grows to 3.8 centimeters. They have black bodies with two protective wing covers. These wing covers are smooth and meet in the center of the back with two dark orange-red marks on each cover.
These are scavenger beetles that feed on dead carcasses. This beetle only breeds once during its lifetime, usually in June or July. The female lays up to thirty eggs near a carcass, which is then preserved using special secretions to provide the young with the ability to feed themselves.
Dead carcasses are what help these beetles survive, therefore they have no specific habitat.
27. Cactus Ladybug
The Cactus Ladybug (Chilocorus cacti) belongs to the Coccinellidae family and is native to the Caribbean and North America. The adult beetles feed on scale insects and are often used as biological pest control.
The female lays eggs, which are around one millimeter, oval, and gray. The larvae are cylindrical and black with large black spines on their backs. The pupae are diamond-shaped and are mottled black or brown with spines. Adults are six millimeters in length and gloss black with two large red-brown spots on the forewings.
28. Banded Net-winged Beetle
The Banded Net-winged Beetle (Calopteron discrepans) is black and orange, commonly seen resting on vegetation in Florida. The adults can grow to 1.5 centimeters with males being smaller than females. The forewings have ridges and cross ridges.
The forewings are orange with a black band. They belong to the Lycidae family and are active during the day. The female lays her eggs in dead or decaying trees.
29. Fringed Diving Beetle
The Fringed Diving Beetle (Cybister fimbriolatus) is often found near lakes and ponds. They are dark green with flat back legs, helping them paddle through the water. The front legs look like arms with feathery hairs.
This beetle feeds on aquatic insects and creatures, this includes tadpoles. The males use their paddle feet to secure females for mating. They are good flyers and are attracted to artificial lights at night. They are most active at night and can be seen moving from puddles and pools to flooded roads, moving from one water source to the next.
The larvae hatch underwater. They are ferocious and aggressive predators.
30. Flat-headed Baldcypress Sapwood Beetle
The Flat-headed Baldcypress Sapwood Beetle (Acmaeodera pulchella) has bee-like colors. The adults have a red birthmark patch on their heads and shoulders. These beetles grow to 1 centimeter in length. They are black with yellow banding and a burned red mark.
They are flying beetles that enjoy a varied diet of hawthorn, oak, honey locust, and cypress.
31. Moustached Tiger Beetle
The Moustached Tiger Beetle (Ellipsoptera hirtilabris) is common in Florida during the summer months. These beetles have a dense covering of prostrate hairs and a white pubescence that covers the legs, underside, head, and thorax.
This beetle is restricted to the peninsular pine woodlands and sand hills in Florida. It is endemic to Florida.
32. S-banded Tiger Beetle
The S-banded Tiger Beetle (Cicindela trifasciata) can grow to 12 millimeters in length. These beetles are gray-brown to light brown with a green tint. The middle band is an S-shape.
They are often encountered in marshes and river banks, along with mudflats along the coast of Florida. They are common from April to October.
33. Festive Tiger Beetle
The Festive Tiger Beetle (Cicindela scutellaris) grows to thirteen millimeters in length and is red-bronze to red-purple. They are found in dry and sandy habitats with little vegetation.
The beetle has a metallic gleam, large round eyes, and an emerald green head and thorax. There are white hairs on the legs and belly. The legs are black with green tones.
They are active hunters in areas with very little vegetation. They are often seen on dunes, sidewalks, and streets. They have a two-year lifespan, most of which is spent developing.
34. Little Leaf Notcher
The Little Leaf Notcher (Artipus floridanus) is a pest of citrus in Florida. It belongs to the same family as snout beetles and weevils, the Curculionidae family. They are citrus root weevils with a wide range of hosts, feeding on various plant species. They are known to feed on citrus, crops, Florida native plants, and exotic ornamental plants.
They are commonly seen in central and southern Florida. This beetle grows to 14 millimeters in length and ranges in color from blue-white to white, or pale purple. The adult beetle climbs the trust of the host tree to feed on the foliage.
Females will start to lay eggs within twenty days of emerging from pupae and will deposit up to 1,220 eggs throughout their lifetime. More than eighty percent of the eggs laid by mated females hatch.
Growers in Florida have found that the highest adult densities occur in three intervals throughout the year, this includes April to May, June to July, and October to November.
35. Zebra Longhorn Beetle
The Zebra Longhorn Beetle (Typocerus zebra) grows to sixteen millimeters in length with a distinctive pattern of small triangular yellow markings at the base of the forewings. These beetles feed on flowers, while the larvae feed on decaying pine stumps and logs.
These are not aggressive beetles but they will bite to protect themselves. If they do bite you, you will experience acute pain and swelling for up to forty-eight hours. Their bites are not fatal, only painful.
36. Eastern Hercules Beetle
The Eastern Hercules Beetle (Dynastes tityus) is a rhinoceros beetle, native to the Eastern United States. The adults’ elytra range from green, tan, or gray with black markings. The males have horns and can grow to six centimeters in length.
The long horn projects from the thorax of the male with a second horn from the head. They are the longest and heaviest beetles in the United States. The horns are used for fighting when males compete. They are completely harmless to humans.
These beetles have spots, which are unique to each individual. They are found in rotting wood and soil. They were featured on a stamp that was issued by the United States Postal Service in 1999.
37. Fiery Searcher Beetle
The Fiery Searcher Beetle (Calosoma scrutator) is an attractive beetle with bright, metallic colors and large size. It is a predatory ground beetle and often hunts caterpillars. They are commonly found in gardens and fields, along with deciduous forests where they hide under rocks and logs.
They prefer to hunt at night, though they may be found during the day climbing shrubs and trees. They should be approached with caution, as they give a nasty bite. They also release a foul-smelling odor if they feel threatened.
This carnivorous beetle is considered beneficial in controlling destructive pests, including gypsy moths, tent caterpillars, and more.
38. Moderately Smooth Warrior Beetle
This (Pasimachus sublaevis) is a large black beetle that grows to three centimeters in length. They will bite to protect themselves, though they do prefer to run and hide.
These huge black beetles (about 3cm long) are surprising to find. They look formidable and will bite if pressed, but prefer to run away and hide under things. I found this one under my garbage can.
It is a wingless beetle and the elytra are fused into a single hard protective shell. They prefer to live in leaf litter where they can feed on caterpillars and crickets. They are ground-based predators and popular pets.
39. Variable Ladybird Beetle
The Variable Ladybird Beetle (Coelophora inaequalis) is endemic to Australia and Southern Asia. It has black markings on the elytra that varies from one individual to the next. They were introduced into Florida as a biological control for the yellow sugarcane aphid.
40. Iridescent Tortoise Beetle
The Iridescent Tortoise Beetle (Eurypepla calochroma) is found in Florida and is the only beetle that feeds on the Geiger tree. They grow to one centimeter in length and can change color from green to purple, yellow, or blue based on the light.
They are common in Southern Florida from Palm Beach and Miami-Dade to Monroe Counties. They live where there are Geiger trees, this includes gardens, grasslands, wetlands, and open woodlands.
The adults feed on the fruit, flowers, and leaves of the tree. They are often seen flying from one Geiger tree to the next.
41. Groundselbush Beetle
The Groundselbush Beetle (Trirhabda bacharidis) is a leaf beetle in the Chrysomelidae family. The larvae help to control the aggressive nature of the groundselbush. The adults are not attractive but the larvae are eye-catching.
This beetle is a host of numerous wasps that gather them as a host for their eggs.
42. Eastern Beach Tiger Beetle
The Eastern Beach Tiger Beetle (Habroscelimorpha dorsalis) belongs to the Cicindelidae family and grows to 15 millimeters in length. The thorax and head are bronze-green and the elytra are white to light tan with bronze markings.
They have long antennae, large compound eyes, and powerful jaws. Their coloration provides camouflage against the sand. The larvae can leap into the air, looping their body and rolling along the sand at high speeds. They use the wind to propel them. This enables them to cover up to sixty meters, helping them escape predators.