Beetles are one of those creatures that most of us don’t think about very often. You may see a bunch in the spring or hear one smash against your window at night and be reminded that they exist. But, for the most part, they are not in the forefront of our minds.
What Are They Good For?
Beetles serve as a major balance to the Earth’s ecosystem. Their largest role is to help the renewal of forests, which provide much of the oxygen for mammals. They break down leaves and other organic material which in turn becomes food for the trees and helps the cycle to continue.
Beetles also eat many other insects that can be annoying to humans. They are widely known to be a consumer of aphids as well as caterpillars.
Where Do You Find Beetles?
Beetles are literally everywhere. They can be found in the most dry desert to the most moist wetlands. There are species that live in water and some that need almost no water to survive. Species estimates run from 350,000 -12 million. It is the family of insect that will have taxonomists busy for the next millennia.
Most commonly in the United States the beetle can be found anywhere there is decomposing material. Woodlands, fields and marshes make cozy homes for many varieties of beetle. In the United States alone there are 30,000 species of beetle. See More about beetles found in the USA
What Problems Do They Create?
Most species of beetle are innocuous. But the most troubling beetles belong to a sub group called the Weevil. These beetles have destroyed millions of acres of crop land and million of pounds of human food stockpiles over time. Fighting this type of beetle as a pest has been a major undertaking in the last several hundred years.
The role of the beetle cannot be overstated. Here is a quote that may help you understand how important some folks think the beetle is:
“If an alien civilisation arrived on Earth and, with limited time and limited resources, wanted to understand how life here operates, all it need do is to study beetles and dismiss everything else as sampling error. Beetles are, without any doubt, the most important organisms on the planet.” – Richard Jones, entomologist