Many people tend to think of bugs as little and beetles as being larger but this is not always the case. Both insects and beetles range in size from micro to macro. Bugs have needle-like mouth parts while beetles have mandibles for biting and chewing. Beetles have hard wing coverings that protect membranous hindwings when not in flight. In most cases, if a bug looks like a beetle, it probably is a beetle.
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Flea beetles jump when disturbed and are about the same size as fleas, but do not harm animals or humans. Flea beetles damage plants by chewing holes in plant leaves. A heavy infestation of flea beetles is capable of destroying a crop of young plants. Although flea beetles destroy nearly any plant, each type of flea beetle has a preferred taste. Due to their small size, most flea beetles appear to be solid black but may have earth-tone markings.
Black Carpet Beetles
Black carpet beetles are common pests throughout the United States. Known as fabric pests, several species of carpet beetles lay eggs on stored, fibrous items in homes. Adult carpet beetles do not feed on fibres but the larval stage of this beetle will devour carpet, clothing, towels, linen and other items. Adults appear in May and June and each adult female will lay from 30 to 100 eggs. Eggs hatch in 2 weeks to become larvae. Larvae feed on your belongings for 9 months to 3 years.
Minute Pirate Bugs
Minute pirate bugs are so tiny they seem to be solid black in colour but are actually black with whitish markings. This tiny beetle-looking bug is prevalent throughout summer months and commonly found in and around fields, woodlands, gardens and landscaping. Normally feeding on insect eggs by impaling them with a short blunt beak, they take to biting humans in late summer. Human skin reactions range from none to red welts.
Pear-shaped beetles with conspicuous snouts are called weevils. During hot, dry weather, weevils find their way indoors. They do not harm pets, people, plants or property. Often confused for ticks, weevils have six legs while ticks have eight. Weevils appear in sink, bathtubs and other moist places during the months of June through August.
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- Australian Museum: What are the Differences Between Bugs and Beetles?
- Colorado State University Extension; Flea Beetles; W.S. Cranshaw; November 2006
- West Virginia University Extension Service; Carpet Beetles; Peggy K. Powell, PhD
- University of Nebraska, Lincoln: Minute Pirate Bugs; Barb Ogg, PhD
- University of Minnesota, Yard and Garden Brief; Home-Invading Weevils; Jeffrey Hahn