Mysterious insect of all time ground beetle
Can you imagine a world without insects, of which there are approximately 180 thousand species? Many of them are quite attractive, others are ugly, and some, such as the ground beetle, deserve special attention. These cute bugs are found on almost all continents, as there are about 50,000 species of them. Unfortunately, they do not always benefit the plants that are grown in gardens or summer cottages. Sometimes you have to fight them, using chemicals to save the crop. What does the ground beetle that lives in Europe look like and what does it eat? The answers to these questions are sometimes genuinely surprising..
External features of an attractive bug
Under the layer of last year’s fallen leaves, there are mobile beetles of dark bronze color with the shine of polished silver. They come in a variety of sizes. The length of some barely reaches 3 mm, while other individuals – true “giants” grow up to 30 mm. The ground beetle boasts strong legs that allow it to move quickly in search of food. And powerful jaws remind that she is a dangerous predator.
In the daytime, they serve as a reliable shelter for an insect:
- small stones;
- fallen leaves;
- bark of old trees;
- piles of dry rotten grass.
But, as soon as darkness falls on the ground, ground beetles crawl out of their shelter in search of food. They feed not only on vegetation.
Their diet includes:
- all kinds of larvae;
When the beetle discovers a “tasty meal”, it grabs the victim with powerful jaws. He douches her with a specific liquid to begin the process of digestion. After that, he starts his meal. This is how the ground beetle destroys garden pests that cause irreparable harm to plants. Often, after saturation, the bug burrows into the soil for several days. After such a rest, he leaves his hideout to go hunting again..
An adult insect kills about 350 harmful caterpillars per season.
Ground beetle: popular species
On the territory of Europe, there are about 3,000 species of insects from the genus of ground beetles. Each of them has its own unique features:
- “Omophrons” – a rounded convex body;
- “Demetrius” – stem-shaped elongated body;
- “Skarits” – the front part of the body is separated from the back, as the beetle leads a burrowing way of life;
- “Horses” – have long thin legs, designed for fast movement.
Ground beetles, which are more active during the daytime, have large eyes. In night beetles, they are underdeveloped or completely absent. However, many individuals can boast of a gorgeous mustache of an unusual shape..
Most often, in suburban areas, there is an ordinary ground beetle, which is also called garden. The insect has an unusual antennae. The length of its body is about 3 cm. The color is brown or dark graphite. The flaps have small oblong grooves. They are decorated with a golden splash. The garden ground beetle has powerful jaws, since it is considered a predatory insect. Fortunately, her favorite food is garden pests..
Therefore, summer residents try to carefully protect the bug from its natural enemies:
- birds of prey;
To promote the growth of ground beetle colonies, it is advisable not to intentionally destroy insects. And instead of pesticides, use substances made from herbs.
Some “explorers” like to pick up various insects. Sensing danger, the ground beetle hits the “enemy” with a specific liquid.
Female insects are capable of laying about 80 eggs at a time. A favorite place for masonry is the fertile soil layer, abundant in moisture. Over time, larvae are formed from them, which ultimately become full-fledged beetles. The insect miraculously tolerates winter cold. It hides under sheds, storage rooms or near the foundations of houses. They live in small colonies consisting of various types of insects..
Attention – bread beetle
Many gardeners, seeing swift-footed beetles on their plots, consider them to be dangerous pests. Therefore, they are trying in every possible way to fight them, not suspecting that they are destroying their “employees”, and not their enemies. In fact, there is only one type of beetle that is harmful to cultural plantings – the grain ground beetle. Unlike its noble relatives, it is painted in a black resinous color. It grows up to 17 mm. It has short legs, antennae, but a relatively large head. The elytra are convex, decorated with longitudinal lines, which is its distinctive feature..
Adult beetles cause irreparable harm to crops:
But what does the ground beetle eat when it “settles” on crops? A favorite delicacy is grain during the ripening period. Damaged crops are unsightly and the ears look like a washcloth. If there are a lot of beetles, bald spots appear on the crops. As a result, a lot of the crop is lost. Interestingly, even ground beetle larvae, which grow up to 3 mm, bring harm to crops. Despite its diminutive size, the specimen has an elongated shape. The head is colored tar-brown or brown.
Depending on the diet, the larvae change their color. It happens:
- grayish green;
During the period of active development, they eat barely sprouted grain and plant roots. Pests appear in the fields if cereals are sown there.
To prevent the “settlement” of beetles, you should adhere to the rules:
- do not sow cereals in the same area for 2 years in a row;
- before sowing, treat grain with special substances;
- when ears appear, spray the crops with chemicals;
- harvest in a timely manner;
- plow deep.
Interestingly, the larvae are dormant for a long time at a depth of 15 cm from the topsoil. Therefore, agronomists do soil analysis. It is important for ordinary summer residents to know how to deal with a ground beetle during its invasion of culture..
Protecting cereals from a pesky enemy
Since ground beetle larvae live next to forage crops, they feed on them freely. In the dark, they crawl out of their burrows to feast on young leaves of wheat. In addition, they harvest greens for their daily food. Gradually, the larvae can destroy huge areas of cereal crops.
An effective protective agent against ground beetles are insecticides that contain active substances:
These components are indicated on the packaging of the drug, which is used in the fight against bread beetle. Processing is carried out during the appearance of the first seedlings of the cereal culture. The substance actively affects the root system, seeds and young shoots of the plant.
Insecticide treatment of grain before planting provides complete protection of the plant from ground beetle.
A noticeable effect can be obtained by spraying cereals that have begun to spike. However, the chemical will work in the event of a small number of pests on the plantation..
Having got to know the ground beetle better, it became clear that the insect does not always harm the plants. Some species kill garden pests such as caterpillars and slugs. And only the ground beetle causes irreparable harm to cereal crops. Wisely using weapons against her, it is easy to achieve a bountiful harvest.