Picnic Beetle

This beetle-like insect was found in a rotting osage orange in a riparian corridor of Brown County, OH on 11-04-07. As you can see in comparison to the fruit it is very small. My first thought was Carrion or Dung Beetle but they are much larger & almost endangered in this area. I’ve looked in all the most recent books & googled images & the only other similar looking sort of is the Pleasing Fungus Beetle. Attached are 3 images. What’s that bug?
Mary Jo White

Hi Mary Jo,
Your photo is lacking in detail, but it appears the abdomen of your specimen is protruding beyond the elytra or wing covers. This exposed abdomen signals it might be a Sap Feeding Beetle in the family Nitidulidae. There is a very close match on BugGuide, Glischrochilus fasciatus, commonly called the Picnic Beetle. According to BugGuide: “Adults found under bark of injured or dying trees, also come to sap, decaying fruit.” That is good enough for us to put our money on the ID.

1 thought on “Picnic Beetle”

  1. I came across this post from Googling “picnic beetles.” We now live in Michigan where they are not a problem, but years ago we lived in central Ohio, and had no end of trouble with these beetles that my wife – an avoid gardener – called picnic beetles.

    They were about the size and shape of cucumber beetles (proportionately narrower than the picture) but were black, and had a white spot on each wing. They are the devil’s own spawn, eating off the plants what we eat. If there’s fruit, they eat the fruit; if you eat the leaves, they eat the leaves.

    This was over 30 years ago, and pre-internet, so I was left to my reference books to try to find a natural control, but couldn’t even find mention of them buy that name. I found a natural control by accident. I was sitting out by our garden with a glass of wine and felt something on my hand. It was a picnic beetle, apparently attracted by the smell of the wine.

    I went out a bought a couple bottles of cheap wine and poured it into a cookie sheet placed in the garden. The next day the cookie sheet was choked with drowned picnic beetles.

    Hope this helps.


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