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A Gardener’s Favorite Beetle

bronze carabid 161Ground beetles (family Carabidae) are fast moving beetles, many of which are predators with specialized diets.  One ground beetle (Cychrus caraboides) eats only snails (its head and thorax are very slender, allowing access to the inside of a snail’s shell).  Another, Harpalus rufipes, limits its diet to strawberry seeds.  Loricera pilicornis uses bristles on its antennae to trap springtails and mites.

The Bronze Carabid, Carabus nemoralis, (pictured) uses its large curved mandibles to crush and slice through prey – it will eat or try to eat just about any invertebrate, but specializes in capturing and eating slugs. Its hardened forewings, or elytra, have a coppery sheen to them, and parts of its thorax and the edges of its elytra are iridescent purple. This nocturnal, introduced, flightless, one-inch-long beetle resides throughout the Northeast and is already actively pursuing slugs.

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7 responses

  1. Alice Pratt

    Hard working Beetle friends….welcome to our gardens 😋

    April 26, 2016 at 7:14 am

  2. Diane

    Good to know something eats them.

    April 26, 2016 at 8:02 am

  3. I was in the garden digging worms for my 14 year old chicken – she gobbled 2 of these beetles….I saw several large clumps of very small, bright yellow, almost granular clusters and wonder if those are eggs…or…or….any ideas?

    April 26, 2016 at 8:46 am

    • Hi Libby,
      I can tell you that the larvae of these beetles are white and turn black within hours, but I do not know the color of the eggs. I’ve written to an entomologist who may know, and I will get back to you if I get a response from him!

      April 26, 2016 at 9:44 am

  4. Kathie Fiveash

    Welcome to my garden, Carabus nemoralis! May you feast on my slugs. I wish you would dig down and eat the larvae of the June bugs though!!

    April 26, 2016 at 11:03 am

  5. k

    What a good little beetle! I’ll definitely keep an eye out for him.

    April 26, 2016 at 4:20 pm

  6. I need more of these guys in my garden!

    April 26, 2016 at 5:45 pm

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