I’ve got hundreds of black ground beetles gathering on my deck every night. My guess is they’re attracted to the light my wife says I’ve got to keep on. There is no food out there and unless I spray these guys directly they don’t seem to die. I’ve seen several articles on your site about Beetles but none of them seem to be for it, this black ground beetle. I need to get control this problem before they move in the house so what do you recommend? please provide product suggestions. Thks.
Black ground beetles are commonly found on the property of most any home. Generally considered to be a perimeter pest, ground beetles can become invasive when left to populate and nest at their own free will. These beetles will range in size from less than 1/4 inch to almost 2 inches long. Generally dark brown to black, their bodies are tough like armor and they are quite resilient. You’ll notice a large sounding “crunch” when stepping on one. This ample body “shield” does a good job of protecting ground beetles from traditional insecticides. There are many species of ground beetles that can live around the home and in most situations they are easy to tolerate. Problems arise, however, when homes are left untreated and unprotected at key entry points. Ground beetles are predatory and commonly forage for food in the dark of night. For this reason they’re many times able to go unnoticed until their numbers reach the thousands. Under the protection of darkness, they’ll emerge from rocks, mulch, wood chips and pine straw to go about their nightly business of foraging for food.
As predatory insects go, ground beetles are quite strong and can cover large distances in relatively little time given their short body size and lack of wings. Fortunately for them, nature has seemingly wired their senses to innately know where good food supplies will be readily available. As most people know, insects are attracted to light. Apparently, the word has gotten out and ground beetles are now “in the know” as well. Bright lights, especially the blue and white neon lights commonly found at gas stations or roadside cafés seem to be particularly attractive to ground beetles. Homes which burn porch or deck lights will also many times attract insects which in turn attract ground beetles. Your guess is right; they are most likely foraging to the light source your wife is having you keep on. And though turning it off may seem to make the beetles go away, all that’s really happening is a redirection of the population that’s undoubtedly living somewhere on your land. In other words, if you don’t treat their nests or the turf over which they must travel to forage, it’s highly likely they’ll start foraging inside your home at some point in the near future.
As previously stated, ground beetles love pine straw, wood chips, mulch and thatch under which they can create secure nests. These nests will protect them from the elements. But excessive rainfall, heat and cold will drive them to seek better shelter. In the fall, ground beetles will forage from their nest sites to more accommodating locations. Residential homes and other structures make perfect winter getaways for hibernating ground beetles.
Because of their thick skin and upright body motion used when walking, ready-to-use sprays won’t prove effective. It sounds like you’ve been using some standard “pre mixed” liquid commonly found at most any Home Center. Ground beetles will easily overcome such formulations. Combine this with the general “absorbant” nature of the ground and other treatment sites around the home, it’s not likely any RTU formulation can provide the needed residual to have a significant impact. To treat successfully, you’ll first need to apply some BIFEN GRANULES to the turf and mulch areas surrounding the home. You’ll need to treat at least 10 feet out from the foundation and your goal is to create a band of treated soil. This band will act as a sort of barrier through which foraging ground beetles will no longer be able to navigate. Other pine straw and mulch areas on your property outside this “band” should be treated as well. Remember, ground beetles forage over great distances so any nest sites on the property can lead to persistent home intrusions.
After applying the granules, spray over the top with BIFEN IT CONCENTRATE. This active works very well on ground beetles. You’ll note very little will be needed per gallon of water but it’s highly effective on this pest. With that being said, you’ll still need to add some SPREADER STICKER to the tank mix along with the Bifen. Spreader Sticker enables the active ingredient (in this case the Bifen) to better “spread” over and thus impact target pests. When combined with Bifen, your liquid application will essentially be magnified and the net result is a more faster acting spray which will achieve quicker results.
If ground beetles have already invaded the home, you can spray inside with the Bifen and Spreader Sticker tank mix. If you’re apprehensive about spraying liquid materials in the home, get either D-FORCE or the new PT PHANTOM aerosol. D-Force does have an odor but it’s quick acting, easy-to-use and will provide a fast knock down. PT-Phantom goes on as a dry aerosol, has little to no odor and takes a day or longer to affect target insects.
In summary, there is no doubt the light on your deck has contributed to the growing population of ground beetles that appear nightly outside your home. At this point turning off the light is not a true resolution. Undoubtedly, there is a healthy population of ground beetles living around somewhere on the property. Their exact nest sites are scattered so trying to isolate treatment locations is not a good pest management strategy. Instead, opt for the shotgun approach and treat as much of your turf as possible with the Bifen Granules. Spray over the top with the Bifen – Spreader Sticker tank mix and you’ll surely get them where it counts. Treat your foundation, window frames, door frames and other key entry points on the home to keep out unwanted foragers. If you’re seeing ground beetles inside, treat with the D-Force or PT-Phantom to prevent these populations from turning into full blown nest sites. Ground beetles are a strong insect but with the right products applied at the right locations, you should be able to knock out established populations with just 1 to 2 treatments. If you have further questions or need help understanding how to best treat your situation, please give us a call on our toll-free 1-800-877-7290.