Click Beetle

Contact: Eric Day, Manager, Insect Identification Laboratory

August 1996

Coleoptera: Elateridae

SIZE: 1/4 to 3/4 inch (6.4-19.1mm)

COLOR: Brown

DESCRIPTION: These flattened, elongate, brown beetles are about 1/4 to 3/4 inch long. On their underside, they have a click mechanism that aids them in defense and righting themselves when they are turned upside down. They release this mechanism with an audible "click" which causes the head to snap back with such force that they can be propelled into the air as much as several inches.

HABITAT: In the mid-to-late summer, people often encounter large numbers of click beetles coming to lights and getting into houses.

TYPE OF DAMAGE: The larval form of the click beetle is the wireworm which can be a pest in gardens and turf if there are large numbers of them. The wireworms feed on the roots of plants. Click beetles feed on nectar from flowers and are not pests.

CONTROL: The best way to reduce the number of click beetles in the house is with a reduction in the number of outside lights on at night and tightening and patching of screens. If desired, individual beetles can be controlled with an aerosol spray.

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