How to Effectively Control and Eliminate Click Beetles

Click beetles can be quite a nuisance when they infest your home or garden. These small creatures, known for their unique ability to jump and make a clicking noise, can pose a threat to your plants and create discomfort in your living spaces. Fortunately, there are ways to effectively deal with these pesky insects.

One option you might consider is using natural predators as your first line of defense. Ladybugs and lacewings are examples of beneficial insects that prey on click beetle larvae, helping to keep their populations in check. Additionally, maintain a healthy garden with a diverse range of plants to deter these beetles from taking up residence.

If click beetles have already become a problem, chemical control methods are available as well. Pesticides containing pyrethrin or carbaryl can be utilized, but always read and follow the label directions carefully to ensure the safe and effective use of these products. Remember that your safety and that of the environment are essential while handling such chemicals.

Understanding Click Beetles

Click beetles belong to the family Elateridae and are known for their unique clicking mechanism. They come in various sizes and species, each with distinct features. Let’s dive into their identification and description to help you better understand these insects.

Click beetles are typically long, narrow, and either rounded or tapered at each end. They range in size, with smaller species at about 1/4 inches long, while larger species like the Eastern Eyed Click Beetle can be almost 2 inches in length. Most species are brown to black in color, but some have reddish and yellowish colors and patterns.

Identification of click beetles can be done through their:

  • Elongated, parallel-sided body
  • Serrated, threadlike, or comb-like antennae
  • Pronotum (shield between the head and wing covers) that extends to the rear
  • Clicking sound, used for defense or to right themselves when flipped over

Now that you have a better understanding of click beetles, let’s compare their features:

Feature Example Description
Size Eastern Eyed Click Beetle Almost 2 inches long
Color Brown to Black Some species have reddish or yellowish patterns

Remember, the click sound they produce is a defense mechanism that can startle potential predators or help them get back on their feet when they land on their back. This sound is a unique characteristic of the Elateridae family, making click beetles quite fascinating creatures.

Click Beetles Habitat

Indoor Habitats

Click beetles can sometimes be found inside your house. They might enter through cracks, windows, or doors. These beetles are usually attracted to spaces with higher humidity levels, like crawl spaces and basements. They may also be found in walls where they have access to moisture or rotting wood.

If you spot a click beetle in your home, a few ways to prevent them from entering include:

  • Sealing cracks and gaps around windows and doors
  • Maintaining low humidity levels by using a dehumidifier or proper ventilation
  • Regularly inspecting wood for rot or dampness

Outdoor Habitats

Outdoors, click beetles can be found in various environments. They lay their eggs in soil, on rotting logs, or near plant roots where their larvae will thrive1. Click beetles are also attracted to gardens and other moist environments with organic matter for them to feed on.

Here are some common outdoor habitats of click beetles:

  • Underneath rocks or logs
  • Within garden or compost piles
  • Among roots of trees and shrubs
  • In areas with wet or decaying wood

By understanding click beetles’ indoor and outdoor habitats, you can take the necessary precautions to prevent their entry to your home and minimize the chances of infestation.

Click Beetles Behavior and Cycle

Nocturnal Behavior: Click beetles are primarily nocturnal creatures, which means they are active mainly during the night. They can be attracted to artificial light sources, like porch lights or street lamps.

Life Cycle: The life cycle of click beetles consists of four stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. The larvae are commonly known as wireworms, which are cylindrical, hard-bodied, and brownish. They spend the majority of their life in the soil, feeding on plant roots and decaying organic matter.

  • **Elaters:**Adult click beetles are also called elaters or snapping beetles. They possess a unique ability to “click” and jump when disturbed or flipped upside down. This clicking mechanism helps them escape predators or regain their footing if they’re on their backside.
  • Defense Mechanisms: Some click beetle species, like the eastern eyed click beetle, have large eye-like markings near their heads to deter predators. These markings often resemble large eyes and can startle or scare away potential threats.

Now that you have a better understanding of click beetles and their behavior, both during the day and night, as well as their unique life cycle from wireworms to elaters, you can better appreciate these fascinating creatures.

Diet of Click Beetles

Adult Click Beetle Diet

Adult click beetles mainly feed on plant-based materials such as nectar and pollen from flowers. They may also consume small parts of leaves and occasionally seeds, fruits, or vegetables. However, their diet is relatively less harmful to plants compared to the larvae.

Think of adult click beetles as mild plant lovers. They tend to feast on various parts of plants without causing severe damage. To get a better understanding, here’s a list of items included in their diet:

  • Nectar
  • Pollen
  • Flowers
  • Seeds
  • Fruits
  • Leaves

Click Beetle Larvae Diet

Click beetle larvae, also known as wireworms, can cause much more significant problems for plants. They usually consume the tender roots and underground parts of various vegetation, including seeds, tubers, and legumes. Wireworms are known to attack vegetables, fruits, and ornamental plants.

Here’s an idea of what click beetle larvae, or wireworms, eat:

  • Roots
  • Tubers
  • Seeds
  • Legumes
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits

Beware of wireworm infestations in your garden, as they can lead to reduced yields and damage to plants. To help you better understand the differences between adult click beetles and their larvae, here’s a comparison table:

Adult Click Beetles Click Beetle Larvae (Wireworms)
Diet Focus Nectar & Pollen Roots & Tubers
Damage to Plants Minimal Significant
Plant Types Variety Fruits, Vegetables, Ornamentals
Feeding Behaviour Surface Dwellers Subsurface Dwellers

Remember to be cautious of wireworm damage in your garden and keep an eye out for signs of their presence. By being aware of their diets and habits, you can take the necessary steps to protect your plants.

The Impact of Click Beetles

Click beetles are insects that can become quite a nuisance in both agricultural and residential settings. They turn into wireworms during their larval stage, which can be harmful to crops and ornamental plants if left unchecked.

One primary concern about click beetles is their potential to become agricultural pests, causing damage to crops. Wireworms feed on the seeds, roots, and underground stems of various plants, which can lead to stunted growth and even plant death. Some examples of affected crops include corn, wheat, and potatoes.

In residential areas, click beetles are generally more of an annoyance than a threat. They often venture indoors by mistake, and their signature “clicking” noise can be unsettling for some people. However, they rarely cause any significant damage to ornamental plants.

To manage a click beetle infestation, various methods can be employed. Here are some pros and cons of common treatment tactics:

  • Chemical insecticides:
    • Pros: Effective in reducing click beetle populations.
    • Cons: May have negative environmental impacts.
  • Biological control: Using natural predators like birds and beneficial insects.
    • Pros: Environmentally friendly, promotes a balanced ecosystem.
    • Cons: May take longer to see results.

In conclusion, being aware of the potential impact of click beetles is essential in maintaining a healthy garden, crop field, or simply having a peaceful living space. By identifying the signs of an infestation and acting quickly, you can minimize any potential damage and keep your plants thriving.

Preventing Click Beetle Infestation

To prevent click beetles from infesting your home, start by sealing all possible entry points. For instance, you can use caulk to fill cracks and gaps in your foundation, walls, and around your doors and windows. Applying weather stripping to your doors and windows also helps in keeping these beetles out.

A well-maintained house can deter click beetles. Ensure your window screens are intact, and replace any damaged ones. Regularly cleaning your home, especially in areas where these pests may thrive, like basements and garages, is essential.

Here are a few methods to prevent click beetle infestations:

  • Sealing cracks and gaps with caulk
  • Installing window screens
  • Applying weather stripping on doors and windows
  • Regularly cleaning basements and garages

When dealing with click beetles, pyrethrin can be an effective pesticide. However, remember to use it with caution and always follow the instructions on the label. Also, consider non-chemical methods before resorting to using pesticides. By following these simple steps, you can keep your home free from click beetle infestations.

Identify Click Beetle Presence

To identify click beetles, you should look for specific features that distinguish them from other insects. These beetles are elongated and somewhat flattened, with most species being brown to black in color1. They usually have backward projections on the side corners of the shield behind their head2.

One fascinating type of click beetle is the eyed click beetle, which displays large, eye-like markings on its thorax to deter predators3. Another interesting feature in some click beetles is bioluminescence, which they use primarily as a defense mechanism4.

For accurate identification, you may consider consulting an entomologist to confirm the presence of click beetles. An expert can help by examining the insect’s finer details, such as antennae and markings, as these are essential in determining the exact species.

Here are some common features to look for:

  • Elongated and somewhat flattened body
  • Brown to black color for most species
  • Backward projections on the side corners of the shield behind the head
  • Eye-like markings on the thorax (in eyed click beetles)
  • Bioluminescence (in some click beetle species)

By being familiar with these characteristics, you can more effectively identify click beetles and take the necessary steps to manage their presence in your environment.

Getting Rid of Click Beetles

Professional Services

When dealing with a click beetle infestation, the safest and most effective way to handle the situation is to contact a licensed and insured professional pest control service, like Orkin. These professionals have:

  • Experience: They know the best methods to control all kinds of pests, including click beetles.
  • Safety: They use pesticides properly, ensuring minimal risk to humans and pets.

However, keep in mind that:

  • Cost: Professional services can be pricey.
  • Availability: It may take time to schedule an appointment.

Homemade Remedies

If you prefer a more DIY approach, consider trying some home remedies to get rid of click beetles. Here are a few options:

  • Traps: Set up sticky traps around your home, particularly in dark, damp areas. Click beetles are attracted to these environments.
  • Pepper: Sprinkle a mixture of crushed red pepper and water near infested areas. The smell can deter click beetles.

Pros of using homemade remedies:

  • Affordable: Most ingredients can be found in your home or purchased at a low cost.
  • Convenience: Remedies can be easily applied at your own pace.

Cons of using homemade remedies:

  • Effectiveness: Not always as effective as professional treatments.
  • Time-consuming: Frequent reapplication might be necessary.

In summary, to effectively eliminate click beetles from your home, consider hiring a professional pest control service for guaranteed results or trying some home remedies if you prefer a more budget-friendly approach.

Click Beetles and Other Pests

Click beetles are long, narrow insects that are rounded or tapered at each end. They can be found in various colors, such as brown, black, or gray, with some having interesting patterns on their bodies 1. One notable type of click beetle is the Eastern Eyed Click Beetle, which is harmless to people and pets 2.

Now, let’s have a look at some other beetles and pests that you might encounter:

  • Cigarette Beetle: These small, reddish-brown beetles are known for infesting stored tobacco products, as well as food items in your pantry.
  • Japanese Beetle: These beetles are considered invasive pests. They are known for devouring leaves, fruits, and flowers of numerous types of plants.
  • Spring Beetles: Also called “skipjacks,” these beetles are similar in appearance to click beetles, but they possess a spring-like mechanism that allows them to catapult themselves into the air.

It’s important for you to know how to manage these pests. Click beetles, for instance, can be controlled by removing potential habitat sites, such as rotting wood or decaying plant materials. As for the other pests mentioned:

Beetle Type Management Tips
Cigarette Beetle Inspect and discard infested products; store food and tobacco in airtight containers
Japanese Beetle Use pheromone traps; apply insecticides responsibly; hand-pick beetles from your plants
Spring Beetles Limit outdoor lighting; remove decaying plant matter

Remember, proper identification and understanding of these pests is key to successful management. Be cautious with your approach, and always consider the impact on your environment and other beneficial insects.

References

Click beetles are known for their ability to “click” and jump when they feel threatened or need to flip themselves over from their back. Various methods can help control and reduce their numbers. In this section, we will discuss some of those methods and provide references.

One way to tackle click beetles is using chemical insecticides. However, please be cautious when using these products as they can have adverse effects on the environment and non-target organisms. You may want to opt for eco-friendly alternatives like neem oil as it has been found effective against click beetles.

Biological control is another way to combat them. Introducing natural predators, such as birds and toads, to your garden can help keep the click beetle population in check 1. These predators consume these insects, thereby reducing their numbers.

Consider using click beetle traps. These traps can help regulate and monitor the population of these insects in your area. You can make your own traps, or purchase commercially available traps if needed.

Here are some additional general tips for preventing click beetle infestations:

  • Keep your garden clean and free from plant debris.
  • Rotate crops to disrupt the life cycle of wireworms (the larvae of click beetles) 2.
  • Encourage natural enemies like ground beetles, rove beetles, and spiders by providing diverse habitats and using minimal pesticides in your garden.

In summary, there are several chemical, biological, and mechanical methods that you can use to manage click beetle populations. Consult with your local extension office or a pest management professional to determine the best plan of action for your specific situation.

Footnotes

  1. Missouri Department of Conservation 2 3 4
  2. https://extension.umaine.edu/home-and-garden-ipm/fact-sheets/common-name-listing/click-beetles/ 2 3
  3. https://mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/field-guide/click-beetles
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3282410/

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Click Beetle

Bug Identification Help
I was hoping you could help me identify this bug. I found it hiding in a dark, narrow space under a notepad on my computer desk. I was surprised to find that it began jumping around. I managed to get it to sit still on a sheet of paper for the attached photos. I got a shot from above and one from the side, although I couldn’t get a shot of the bottom as it would immediately hop to flip itself over every time. It seems to jump when either upside-down or touched, and the jump makes a rather loud snapping noise. I thought it might be a kind of springtail based on some photos on your website, but I couldn’t tell if the body shape completely matched any of them. Thank you,
Kevin Shipley

Hi Kevin,
This is some species of Click Beetle in the family Elateridae. Click Beetles have the capability of righting themselves if on their back by snapping the body at the joint between the thorax and abdomen. This produces a loud click. Here is the more technical explanation posted on BugGuide: “The clicking is made possible by the flexible union of the prothorax and mesothorax and the prosternal spine that fits into a groove on the mesosternum. If they are placed on their backs they use this mechanism to snap and jump usually falling right side up.”

Letter 2 – Click Beetle from the West Indies

Tropical click beetles
November 9, 2009
This click beetle arrived on my verandah the other day. Even after more than 50 years in the tropics I had not seen it before. It was almost 2″ long. 200feet elevation and 600 feet from the sea.Semi residential area with a lot of trees.
JohnK
St.Lucia West Indies

Click Beetle
Click Beetle

Hi JohnK,
Since we have a train to catch to get to work, we haven’t the time to research a species for your lovely Click Beetle.  Perhaps one of our readers can supply a species name.

Update from Karl
Hi Daniel:
I am fairly certain that this click beetle belongs to the genus Chalcolepidius (Elateridae: Agrypninae); probably C. validus. The species is endemic to the Lesser Antilles south of Guadeloupe and parts of northeastern South America. I couldn’t find an easy link to a reference photo, but if you go to the ‘Scielo Brazil’ website you will find an excellent document that provides a good synopsis for the genus and this species; as well as a photo (look for Figure 83). Regards.
Karl

Letter 3 – Vine Sphinx and Click Beetle

Subject: Vine sphinx (I think) shares window sill with click beetle.
Location: New Braunfels, Texas
July 19, 2013 3:11 pm
Hi bugman, I thought you might enjoy these photos of what I believe is a vine sphinx sharing the windowsill with a click beetle. I hoe you enjoy the photos! Thanks for such a wonderful website!
Signature: Michael

Vine Sphinx and Click Beetle
Vine Sphinx and Click Beetle

Hi Michael,
Thank you for submitting your image of a Vine Sphinx and a Click Beetle on the windowsill.  It seems you submitted a nearly identical photo, sans the Click Beetle, a few months ago.   We are speculating that perhaps they were attracted by a porch light.

Letter 4 – Click Beetle from Saudi Arabia

Subject: Clicking Beetle
Location: Madinah/Saudi Arabia
May 18, 2014 7:36 am
I’ve found this one inside the house, tried to demonstrate to kids it’s famous behavior then let it go into a nearby field.
Found in 18/5/2014 in Madinah / Saudi Arabia.
Signature: M.A

Click Beetle
Click Beetle

Dear M.A,
Thanks for submitting your images of a Click Beetle in the family Elateridae.  Watching a Click Beetle attempt to right itself is truly entertaining.

Click Beetle
Click Beetle

Letter 5 – Possibly Click Beetle destroying crops in Texas

Subject: Destroyer of Plums, Peaches and Cucumber
Location: 75904 East Texas
June 12, 2014 6:56 am
Dear bugman, The bug in my attached photo so far has destroyed my peaches, plums and is now working on my cucumbers. I have looked at all the common pests for each of these fruits and cannot identify it. on the peaches and plums, it bored its head into the fruit, sometimes two or three to a shared hole and sometimes each bug had its own hole. on the cucumbers they appear to be boring in through the flowers. I am in East Texas 75904. This has been an unusual spring and summer for us this year. I have Pecan Phylloxera for the first time ever and now this destroyer. Please help.
Signature: Sincerely yours, Cade Banks

Click Beetle
Click Beetle

Dear Cade,
This appears to be a Click Beetle in the family Elateridae, but we are not able to identify a species at this time.

Authors

    by
  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com 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.

    View all posts
  • 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.

    View all posts

1 thought on “How to Effectively Control and Eliminate Click Beetles”

  1. Thanks so much for posting my photo. By the way, the photo I sent a couple months ago was at work. This one was taken at my house. I agree that they were attracted to a porch light.

    Reply

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