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What Do Beetles Eat

What Do Beetles Eat

What Do Beetles Eat?

What do beetles eat? Well, that is a very interesting and complex question.  There really is not one single answer to that question.  In order to better understand what the beetle eats, you are going to need to take the time to fully understand what type of beetle you are talking about.  This is because there are numerous different types of beetles and each type is going to eat something different.

It is interesting to understand how the mouth of the beetle works before you start to look at what they eat.  If you have ever looked at a beetle up close you may have noticed that it looks like it has two little pinches in the front of its head.  They are not really pinchers at all.  They are actually teeth. 

They are used by the beetle to help them break their food apart and they help them chew their food. You should also know that they have four little fingers that are used to help the beetle shove its food into its mouth.  It is amazing how the beetle seems to eat just like we do.

Closeup of beetle eating leaf
Image by Katja Schulz used under CC BY 2.0

Now, let us look at the original question.  Beetles are going to eat different things based on the species of beetle you are talking about.  This is very similar to the way that different humans eat different things based on their cultures and their nationalities. 

You may have been working in your garden and noticed that you have had beetles on the leaves or on the ground around your garden.  It is very likely that they were getting ready to eat, were eating or just finished their meal. This is because some beetles actually make a meal out of plants.  This is what they enjoy the most.  They may even be found in trees or the leaves of house plants.

What do beetles eat?  Well, some of them are going to eat things that are dead.  This sounds really disgusting but it is true. You may find them making a meal out of dead leaves in the fall.  However, you may also notice them on road kill or other animals that have expired. 

Not all beetles are going to enjoy the healthy, plush, green leaves of the plants in your yard. They are going to make a meal out of the rotting leaves and animals that are not longer able to defend themselves.

Exploring the different types of beetles may also help you understand that some of the beetles you learn about will eat both of the things that have previously been discussed.  These beetles are not very picky when they are selecting their meals. Anything will do. 

Closeup of beetle eating leaf
Image by Katja Schulz from Washington, D. C., USACC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

On the other hand, some of them are very picky and they are only able to eat a certain type of plant or a certain type of animal.  This is going to make mealtimes a little more complicated but that is what they need to do in order to survive.

You may want to do some research to determine if beetles are going to be attracted to any of the plants that you have in your garden.  You are not going to want to fill your garden with numerous plants that attract beetles because other pests are going to be attracted to the garden so that they can feed on the beetles.  If you understand the normal food chain and circle of life you know what I am talking about.

So there you have it.  What do beetles eat can be a difficult question to answer unless you know what type of beetle you are talking about.  With some research you may get more definite answers. It really helps if you can narrow it down to a certain type of beetle.

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