Beetles – Pest, Pets or Food Specialties

We have all been fascinated by the scarabs part of ancient Egypt culture. Did you know that this is one of the 400,000 beetle species? That is right! Beetles are one of the largest orders of insects in the world. Being so many and different kinds, some are mistaken for other insects or bugs.

Along with their wide variety of species, beetles also have a diverse role in human life. From being a choice of pet for some, to be one of the most dangerous pests out there, all the way to being served as a delicacy in some cultures. Beetles are taking a greater part in our lives than we ever thought possible. If you want to know some interesting facts about them, keep reading.

Having beetles as pets

When we mention a pet, most of us think of an animal with fur, like a dog or a cat. Of course, you can take care of a bird, fish, snakes, or tarantulas. However, not many think of having a beetle or more as their pet. Despite that, beetles are very easy to take care of, given that they spend most of their life as larvae. During that period of time, their demands for food and housing are low. That turns them into an attractive pet choice in countries like Japan.

If you are from a country where the beetle species you would like to look after are not native, you should keep them separated from the outside world, even after their death. It is essential to take a pair, a male and a female, so that they will keep each other company and mate. Buying your beetles from a legitimate supplier, not captive ones from the wild, is crucial. To ensure they have a high quality of life, you should fully replicate their natural habitat.

Beetles are dangerous pests

Beetles can be highly beneficial against other pests in your home or garden. However, in the case of them being pests, the story is different. Both adult beetles and their larvae can damage your garden and your home. They feed by chewing, which leed to holes, tunnels, chewed-off plant parts and notches.

Many beetles feed on different plants, like flowers and fruits, during all their life stages. During a beetle infestation, they eat the plant’s leaves, flowers, stalks and, in some cases, their roots. Such are Bean Weevils, Driedfruit and Sap Beetles, Fuller Rose Beetle, Grape Bud Beetle, Rose Curculio and more.

Another group of beetles, the indoor ones, prefer to feed on items that are part of our homes. Such are divided into Carpet beetles (Skin Beetles, Attagenus, Anthrenus scrophulariae etc.), Pantry beetles (Drugstore and Cigarette Beetle, Warehouse Beetles, Sawtoothed grain beetle and merchant grain beetle, Confused flour beetle and red flour beetle) and Wood-boring beetles (Deathwatch Beetle, False Powderpost Beetle and Powderpost Beetle). These beetles leave unsightly clues after they have damaged your carpet, clothes, furniture, foods, packaged foods, decoration and other items in your home they might enjoy.

Of course, the clues they leave and why they infested your property differ due to their wide variety. Each specie has its characteristic behaviour. One of the ways to deal with a beetle infestation is to vacuum them from where they are. Another way is to use water and dish soap. However, this trick is helpful when they have attacked plants in your garden. Just put a tank full of soapy water under the plant and shake it till all of them fall into the trap. However, the best way to deal with a beetle infestation is by consulting a professional pest control company. They will give you information about the specific type of beetle you are dealing with and will rectify any future infestations.

Serving beetles as a delicacy

We all know that insects and bugs contain high-quality protein. Actually, the majority of the world’s population is consuming them as part of their diet to receive the much-needed nutrient. Of these, about 2 billion consume insects every day. It is believed that they are nutritionally the same as chicken, beef and pork due to their amount of vitamins, minerals, iron, zinc and calcium.

More than 300 beetle species are used in cuisine, mostly during their larvae period. The ways to cook a beetle are by steaming, drying, frying and toasting. If you are interested in entomophagy (the practice of eating insects), you can visit countries like Mexico, Brazil, Thailand, China, Ghana, The United States and even The Netherlands. Although eating insects is not at all popular in Europe, some Dutch citizens try to popularise it.

Some more interesting facts about beetles

When it comes to one of the most varied species in the world, it looks like there is no end. Along with beetles being dangerous pests, good pets and a specialty, you might be surprised to know that there are beetle fights, and there is a specific art technique they take part in.

Beetle fights

Insect fighting is a popular gambling activity. It is practised in China, Japan, Thailand and Vietnam. Beetle-fighting is especially popular in Japan, where their numbers and variety are high. The process begins with buying a particular type of beetle. Spend time training it hard and using it in one or more of these beetle fights. There is a big community that follows such events and bets on the beetles. Of course, betting on an insect is illegal. However, this does not stop them from posting about it online or publishing it on platforms like YouTube.

Usually, a beetle fight looks like this: Two beetles enter a small tree stump representing the fighting ring. The first one that gets pushed out of the circle loses the fight.


Bettlewing art is practised in Japan, Thailand, China, India and Myanmar. It is an ancient craft technique that uses iridescent beetle wings. It was used in paintings, garments and jewellery. The wing from the specie Sternocera were the most valued ones due to their metallic emerald colour. In Thailand, for example, their wings were mainly used for dresses and shawls. The wings are incredibly durable, and most of the time, they keep their natural sparkle even after the textile of the garment has decayed.

Final thoughts

Beetles are fascinating creatures. During their short life, they can enrich ours by being part of our family and helping us fight irritating pests. They can also get rid of one of our favourite carpets, entertain us, feed us and even be part of our newest dress. There are many ways to choose how to encounter a beetle and only one when the beetle chooses to meet you. If the latter happens, don’t forget to seek help.

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