What is the Big Black Beetle in My House and Yard?

Written by Rebecca Bales
Updated: October 30, 2023
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Key Points

  • Black carpet beetles are one of the most common beetles. They are known to be found in people’s homes. While they aren’t poisonous, they can be destructive.
  • The average carpet beetle is smaller than the black carpet beetle and is not dangerous, although it is known to spoil food.
  • Furniture beetles are larger and are mostly found in pieces of wood.

Beetles are part of the Coleoptera family of insects. There are 400,000 species worldwide including the big black beetle found in the house or in the yard. These insects are common enough to cause an infestation easily and are a species of Least Concern. Different beetles exist in all land areas aside from the polar regions.

Beetles have been around for over 270 million years. These insects evolved into separate species, making identification based on traits and distribution possible. These versatile species have managed to withstand the conditions that led to the death of the dinosaurs. The ability to adapt has also brought these animals through the Ice Age.

One of the more interesting facts about beetles is the variation in the species’ diets. Beetles may eat plants, prey on other insects, or have an opportunistic omnivorous diet. Some beetle species are scavengers, and many depend on gut fungi to assist with meal digestion.

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All beetle species, including ground beetle types, have jaws designed for chewing. All kinds of beetles have wings, regardless of the species. And, yes, the big black beetles will surprise you and creep some people out! Even more so, the legs allow these insects to jump and sprint.

What Is the Big Black Beetle in My House and Yard?

Big black beetle - Carpet beetle
One of the most common big black beetles found in the yard is the black carpet beetle Attagenus.

©Tomasz Klejdysz/Shutterstock.com

Black carpet beetles are one of the most common beetles seen around peoples’ homes and yards. Although these insects are not poisonous, they are destructive to the point of being considered pests. At the first signs of these beetles, homeowners will want to consider finding out how to get rid of them.

These pests will last about four to eight weeks and lay eggs directly on or near larval food sources such as carpets, furs, and wool. Though these lifespans vary based on the type of carpet beetle and the weather, eggs usually hatch within an average of two weeks. The black carpet beetles are mostly seen in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

Carpet beetles are usually tiny, around 0.1 inches. These beetles’ bodies are short and oval-shaped, with inconspicuous antennae. The insects fly or crawl and move slowly when crawling. These beetles can damage fiber products and spoil food.

Furniture beetles (Anobium punctatum) live in and feed exclusively on wood. These beetles have long, pill-shaped bodies measuring about 0.25 inches long. The appearance helps them blend in with the woodwork when spotted in the house. Furniture beetles spend the greatest part of their lives in the larval stage, and this is the stage where the insect consumes the most wood.

Black Vine Weevils (Otiorhynchus sulcatus) are one of the smaller types of beetles spotted in the yard. Despite having small bodies with non-functional wings, the insects have large antennae. This species is non-flying because of the fused wings. These beetles have a herbivorous diet that includes plants, like flowers.

The Black and Red Blister Beetle (Megetra cancellata) is widespread throughout most of the southern United States. This non-flying species measures 0.4″ and 0.6″, with an armadillo-like appearance. One of the facts about this species that people need to know is that the beetle has an oil used defensively that can cause blisters.

The American Oil Beetle (Meloidae Meloe) has some unique features that make identification easier. This beetle has a length of up to 1.2 inches, with a large body in proportion to the head. Spindly legs and large antennae in an upside-down L shape help set the insect apart. This beetle emits an oily substance in response to threats capable of causing blisters.

What Damage Might Big Black Beetles Cause?

An infestation of these big black beetles can cause damage inside and outside a home. The type of treatment required depends on what kind of beetle is involved, as there are different reasons for the destruction these creatures cause. Some of the signs of destruction that beetles cause are difficult to miss.

Carpet beetles can present a problem when an infestation occurs indoors. When these insects get into clothing or other fibrous items, they can create significant damage. The beetles can also ruin cereal and similar food items.

Many homeowners want to find out how to get rid of furniture beetles because they eat wood. These beetles often infest furniture and other wooden items. However, the larvae burrow into and eat wood rather than the adults. Some of the damage that the larvae cause is cosmetic, but the damage can also weaken structures.

Like many ground beetle species, Black Vine Weevils are unable to fly. Most will not encounter these insects in the house, and they don’t cause damage in this setting. However, the weevils are destructive in the yard because they eat asters, lilacs, lilies, and rhododendrons.

Some beetle species are problematic because of defensive traits that cause discomfort or injury. Some of the most common facts about most beetle species include the insects having strong jaws, although they seldom cause severe damage. Defensive substances used to deter predators are the most likely to cause problems.

Black and Red Blister Beetles and American Oil Beetles spray substances that may cause blisters if threatened. These blisters are often painful. Children and pets are more likely to get blisters from encounters with these insects.

Blister Beetle blister on skin
Blister beetles are one of the big black beetles commonly found in the yard. The blister on this person’s arm is caused by a caustic substance secreted from the joints of the body of the beetle when threatened.

©Kittibowornphatnon/Shutterstock.com

What Does it Mean When a Black Beetle Lands on You?

Beetles have symbolized good luck and protection from evil or dark forces in various cultures throughout history. When a beetle lands on you, it is seen as a gesture of safeguarding against negative energy and an invitation for fortune to enter your life.

This occurrence may signify inner peace and a sense of compassion, as beetles rely on their tough shells to shield the softness within.

Cultures have believed throughout time and across many different cultures, that ladybugs are symbols of luck and good fortune. It’s a common belief that if a ladybug lands on you, you should count its spots to determine the number of years of good luck that will come your way.

Some even hold the notion that the spots represent the months remaining until your most cherished wish is granted.

What, If Any, Treatments Do You Use to Get Rid of Big Black Beetles?

Regardless of how easily you might make an identification, one thing that most people who encounter beetles in homes or yards know is that they want them gone. Having big black beetles get into food, clothing, or ornamental plants is never pleasant. The methods used depend on what beetles are presenting a problem.

Preventative measures can help keep beetles from causing a lot of damage. Open doors or windows provide pathways for these pests, as well as holes in walls or screens. Sometimes, beetles may enter homes or yards through pet food or birdseed.

Vacuuming carpeting and upholstered furniture is an effective treatment for removing beetles. Most of the species that get into peoples’ homes prefer dark hiding places. Baseboard and corner areas should also get attention.

Dry foods in your kitchen or pantry require proper sealing. Otherwise, you will need to contend with some types of beetles trying to eat your dry goods and ruining them for use. Putting foods such as pasta, cornmeal, flour, barley, rice, and oats in airtight containers before the first signs of beetle infestations will help.

Insecticides are usually the answer when finding out how to get rid of beetles. However, caution is necessary because some of these products are unsafe around children and pets. However, food-grade diatomaceous earth is non-toxic while effectively killing insects including ground beetle species.

Cedar spray is also safe and effective, especially for the types of beetles common in baseboards and closets. Boric acid-based powders are also effective for killing beetles without the poison risk. Steam cleaning carpeting and upholstery regularly also kills beetles and larvae that have gotten into your home.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/Tomasz Klejdysz


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About the Author

Rebecca is an experienced Professional Freelancer with nearly a decade of expertise in writing SEO Content, Digital Illustrations, and Graphic Design. When not engrossed in her creative endeavors, Rebecca dedicates her time to cycling and filming her nature adventures. When not focused on her passion for creating and crafting optimized materials, she harbors a deep fascination and love for cats, jumping spiders, and pet rats.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Is a big black beetle good or bad?

Whether a black beetle is good or bad depends on the species. Carpet beetles are primarily harmless to textile items and grains. Furniture Beetle larvae are destructive to furniture, while Vine Weevils are destructive to several plant species. Although not damaging to property, Black and Red Blister Beetles and American Oil Beetles spray substances that are painful for people and pets. One thing that many find reassuring is that getting rid of these beetles is somewhat easy.

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