Athens Review, Athens, Texas

June 17, 2013

Beetle infestation in county

Rich Flowers
The Athens Review

Athens — If you’ve noticed some big black bugs gathering outside your home or crawling along the carpet, you’re just seeing evidence of the large number of ground beetles now in East Texas.

“The ground beetles are not rare, but the population of them that we’re seeing now is uncommon,” Henderson County AgriLife Extension Agent Rick Hirsch said. “This is the heaviest population of ground beetles that I’ve seen in my 20-plus years in Henderson County.”

The Texas AgriLife Extension office in College Station reports that the proliferation of the insect will only last a few days, although there will be some beetles present throughout the summer.  Their current numbers are a result of a perfect alignment of climatic conditions.

“Just about every egg that was laid, hatched,” Hirsch said.

AgriLife describes them as fast-moving, predatory beetles that forage on the ground. In fact, they love to forage.

“They’re prodigious eaters,” Hirsch said. “They’ll eat themselves. They’re almost cannibalistic.”

Unlike some insects that may damage crops, the ground beetles can have a positive effect.

“They’re actually listed as beneficial. They eat a lot of insects.”

The bugs may slip under your door and enter your home in an effort to escape the hot sun. They also hide under rocks, leaves, logs and anything else available.

“They’re coming in just about every building that they can,” Hirsch said. “They’re nothing more than a nuisance.”

The ground beetle poses no danger to people or pets, but they may try to bite you if you pick them up. They typically grow to be about an inch long.

Agrilife reports that the beetles go on mating flights at night. You can keep them from collecting by turning off the outdoor lighting around your home for part or all of the night.