How to Manage Pests

Pests in Gardens and Landscapes

Pest identification and confirmation—Darkling beetles

Darkling beetles can be confused with predaceous ground beetles, but the latter are usually shiny, and the tip segments of their antennae are rarely as enlarged as those of darkling beetles. Plant-feeding darkling beetles can be distinguished from predaceous ground beetles by examining where their hind legs meet their abdomen. The enlarged lobe on the first segment of the back legs (trochanter) of predaceous ground beetles is very characteristic. Also the hind leg coxae completely divide or cover at least the first abdominal segment; coxae of darkling beetles are not enlarged. Some predaceous ground beetles have prominent patterns of lighter colors; they feed mostly on caterpillars and other insects.

Darkling beetle drawing

Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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