Ground Beetle


Actual Size: 1.5 to 25 mm

Characteristics: Dark black or brown bodies that are flat and elongated.

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Wings: 2 pairs, but unable to fly

Habitat: Need soil to survive and reproduce. Typically lives under rocks, leaf litter, logs, and other natural debris.


  • Often confused with cockroaches because of their shiny appearance.
  • Though they rarely fly, they will move quickly if exposed from their shelter.
  • Typically do not survive long indoors, and rarely reproduce inside of homes.

Ground Beetles in Memphis TN Metro Area

Ground beetles form a significant portion of beetles found in North America, with over 2600 species. The majority of ground beetles have a shiny appearance, being either black or brown with iridescent qualities, which can sometimes lead to confusion with cockroaches. Both insects share a dark coloration and swift movements. However, it’s important to note that ground beetles are harmless, while cockroaches can present more significant problems. Ground beetles are commonly encountered outdoor insects that may occasionally end up in houses or buildings by mistake, although they are not considered pests in such situations.

Ground Beetle Habitat

Ground beetles are frequently discovered in outdoor environments, often beneath items like wood, logs, rocks, and other ground debris. In many regions of the country, during the summer season, ground beetles can be observed in large quantities. These insects primarily feed during the nighttime and are drawn to porch lights and other outdoor lighting fixtures. While ground beetles may become a nuisance by crawling into homes and buildings through small cracks, openings, or open doorways and windows, they typically do so accidentally. Once inside, they tend to seek out concealed, moist areas such as basements or spaces beneath boxes and other objects on the floor.

Ground Beetle Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

Ground beetles pose no threat to household structures or furniture, and they are harmless to both people and pets. When they are exposed, ground beetles swiftly seek shelter, although they rarely fly. Outdoors, they are actually considered beneficial as they prey on insect larvae. However, during the summer, if a home or commercial building experiences a ground beetle infestation, it can be overwhelming for the property owner. It’s worth noting that while some species may release odorous secretions as a defense mechanism when threatened, none of them will bite or attack humans.

If you are dealing with a ground beetle infestation, always contact your local beetle exterminators.