The Truth About Stag Beetles: Danger Levels and Removal Tips

One of the most picturesque insects in the world is the stag beetle. But when trying to get close to them, you might wonder: are stag beetles dangerous? Let’s find out.

Stag beetles are one of the most popular insect pets in the world.

But when you look at them, you might think: they have strong mandibles and can bite, so aren’t they dangerous?

No, they are not dangerous at all. In fact, they are quite harmless if you don’t mishandle them. Their bites are painful but not really dangerous.

In this article, we will discuss if stag beetle bites are dangerous and if it is right to be scared of them.

Are Stag Beetles Dangerous
Female Stag Beetle

What Are Stag Beetles?

Stag beetles are one of the largest beetle species in the world. These insects are known for their enormous mandibles that are almost as big as their bodies.

They are called stage beetles, as these mandibles look similar to stag antlers. As larvae, they are like white grubs with orange heads.

The males are larger than the females and have bigger and stronger mandibles. They use them as weapons to fight other males to win mating opportunities.

Stag beetle males are usually 1.37-2.95 inches in length and females are 1.18-1.96 inches. The beetle larvae highly rely on rotten wood as a significant food source.

Are They Dangerous?

Despite their intimidating appearance, stag beetles are not dangerous to humans. Adult beetles have big mandibles and strong chewing muscles, but they rarely attack humans.

But this doesn’t give you a green signal to deal with these insects recklessly. If they feel threatened, they will bite.

The female stag beetles have smaller mandibles and won’t deliver bites as painful as the male adult stag beetle.

The stag beetle larvae also have powerful jaws to tunnel through decaying wood and log piles, but there are fewer chances of you encountering them as they spend their entire life cycle near dead wood.

Are They Poisonous?

One of the main reasons why these insects are not considered a threat is that they are not poisonous.

Their bites are painful but not really too much of a bother; in an hour or so, the pain subsides, and so does the swelling. Importantly, they are not vectors for any known disease.

Reddish Brown Stag Beetle

What To Do For Bites?

If you get bit by them, you will feel a lot of pain. You will also encounter other problems like irritation, redness, and swelling.

The pain and its effect will disappear within an hour. Wash the wound properly to avoid an allergic reaction. Also, washing the wound will help reduce the flow of blood.

Are They Harmful to Dogs and Other Pets?

Stag beetles are not a threat to pets as well. They are non-aggressive insects who avoid attacking/biting until it’s necessary.

The bites will be painful for the pets, but they won’t cause any long-term adverse effects.

Are They Pests To Vegetation/Plants?

Stag beetles are entirely harmless to plants in your garden. These insects only feed on decaying wood, tree sap, and decaying fruits.

They will cause no harm to healthy trees and plants in your garden. However, you can find them in the wooden fencing posts of your garden.

Placid Stag Beetle image captured January 8, 2015

Are They Beneficial in the Garden?

Stag beetles can be useful in gardens because they help recycle dead and decaying matter.

They break down the dead wood to restore the nutrients back in the soil and to make it fertile. Moreover, they do not eat your plants or flowers, and hence they are a gardener’s best friend.

Can You Keep Them As Pets?

Stag beetles are one of the most popular insect pets in the world. People from all across the globe pay huge sums of money to acquire these insects as pets.

They are fascinating to watch and don’t require a lot of attention from your end to be healthy. Adding to that, these insects don’t occupy much space in your home.

All you need is a tank that is big enough for them to move freely. Also, the tank must be well-ventilated and covered from the top, as stag beetles can fly.

You must avoid keeping two or more males together in a tank as they might start fighting for female attention and mating opportunities.

How To Prevent Stag Beetles From Entering Your Home?

Stag beetles can be a treat to watch, but it is not good to have a few of them freely roaming around your house. 

Unfortunately, due the loss of habitats for these insects, many of them are now exposed to humans and often try to find refuge in homes and places like children’s playgrounds that have woodchips in them.

Reddish Brown Stag Beetle Carnage

To avoid them from being near your house, make sure that there are spots with damp and decaying wood in your home.

Also, check your garden and remove the tree stumps and wood chips lying nearby. These things attract stag beetles.

At night these insects are attracted to light; therefore, try to close all the entrances once you turn on the lights at dark.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it safe to pick up stag beetle?

It is not safe to pick up stag beetle. Although these beetles are non-aggressive, they have enormous mandibles and strong chewing muscles.
If they feel threatened, they will bite. These painful bites may lead to skin irritation, redness, and swelling.

What attracts stag beetle?

Stag beetles are attracted to damp and decaying wooden surfaces. In the larval stage, they feast on rotting wood. 
Therefore you must keep the surroundings of your house clean and avoid having any decaying wooden surfaces near. They are also attracted to light sources in the dark.

Why am I finding stag beetles in my house?

Stag beetles larvae almost entirely depend on decaying wood for survival and food.
If you are finding these beetles in your house, there must a damp wooden source from where they are coming.
Find that spot and replace the wood immediately to prevent these beetles from coming back.

What does a stag beetle bite look like?

Stag beetles have huge mandibles assisted by strong chewing parts. This helps to get a good biting force that can cut your skin.
If a stag beetles you, there will be bleeding, and you might experience excruciating levels of pain.

Reddish Brown Stag Beetle

Wrap Up

Stag beetles might look menacing, but they rarely bite humans, and it is pretty safe to keep them in your garden or even inside your home.

These bugs are great for your yard because they decompose wood and make the soil more fertile. Hence, there is no need to be afraid of them.

Thank you for reading!


  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

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