Flying Beetles

Facts about Flying Beetles

If you think that flying beetles are bugs, you are wrong. Beetles and bugs are two different types of insects. In all, there are over a million of different species of insects that have been identified, and it’s speculated that there may be up to ten million species overall. Nature is so huge that we are still identifying new insects, animals, and fish every year.



Beetles are a large group of insects, the biggest one of thirty-two different orders. Beetles make up the order Coleoptera, which consists of 125 families of beetles and approximately 500,000 species. Because the order is so large, scientists report that one out of every four species of animals in the world is a beetle.

Bugs have beaks that can suck but beetles have mouths that are forceful and can sting. They also have very strong jaws which can grasp and kill prey. The two types of insects also very different wings. Some beetles are flying beetles and some do not fly at all. Beetles who don’t fly have the ability instead to run very, very fast. This can get them out of danger in most situations. Other beetles can swim. Beetles come in various sizes, from a 1/16th inch to 6 inches. The insect that weighs more than any other insect in the world is a beetle. That’s the goliath beetle, who lives in Africa and these beetles weigh around two pounds.

Let’s take a look at a few of the more popular flying beetles:

The Lightning Bug, or firefly, is not a bug or a fly (it’s confusing, isn’t it?), he is a flying beetle. They are the only flying beetles which can make their very own light. Their bodies are made of reflecting cells and light-producing cells. Fireflies light up to attract the opposite sex for reproduction. The cells which produce the lights do so because of a chemical reaction between ATP (adenosine troposphere) and luciferase. The reaction makes energy and the energy produces light. While there are around sixty species of fireflies in North America, there are over 2,000 species of fireflies overall, most of which live in the heat of the tropics.

One of the most prized flying beetles to gardeners is the ladybug (another misnamed beetle). In fact, some gardeners bring in ladybugs and introduce them into their gardens because they are so good at killing garden pests. Ladybugs are one of the most recognized all of insects, probably because they are so colorful--yellow, red or orange with spots which can be black, yellow or white. In the colder climates of North America you will often find lots of ladybugs trying to get inside houses for the winter. Many of the ladybugs in colder places hibernate. Ladybugs will eat such garden pests as scale insects, mealybugs and aphids.

The June Bug is another flying beetle, which is large (one inch) and brown. These flying beetles are attracted to bright lights and will often fly into screens and windows in their efforts to reach inside lights. The June Bug is active in May and June. The young June Bugs can do much damage to trees and shrubbery, as can other flying beetles in the Scarabeidae family.

The Scarabeidae or scarab beetles consist of over 30,000 species. Some of the most well-known flying beetles in this family are June Bugs, Japanese beetles, the six-inch goliath beetle, rhinoceros beetles, rose chafers, and Hercules beetles. The Japanese Beetle is a major agricultural pest and traps are often set for them. They eat holes in the leaves of plants until almost nothing is left, making large gaps in-between veins. They will eat two hundred different species of plants, including roses, canna, hops, grapes, tomatoes, cherries, pears, corn, blackberries, peas, peaches, peppers, and many others.