Click Beetles

Facts, Identification, & Control

Scientific Name

Family Elateridae

Appearance

What Do They Look Like?
  • Characteristics:There are more than 900 species of click beetles found in North America, so appearances are diverse.
  • Body: They have an elongated-shaped body.
  • Color: Black or brownish in color.
  • Size: Most click beetle adults are about 1/2 - 1 inch long.

How Did I Get Click Beetles?

Click beetles, also known as skipjacks, snapping beetles, or spring beetles, are generally not indoor pests, though house lights near doors may draw them inside. If these insects find their way into homes, it is a sign of a population of click beetles living somewhere outside. Adult click beetles tend to hide on the ground, in dark crevices of tree bark, and in crevices that occur on buildings. Their larvae feed on plants and vegetables like potatoes or corn, so gardens can often attract them.

How Serious Are Click Beetles?

The pests' odd defense mechanism is not harmful, though it is startling. When click beetles feel they need to defend themselves, they use a specialized body part located on their underside that produces a clicking-like sound and propels their entire body upwards into the air. This snap is very quick and is similar to someone snapping his or her fingers and causes the beetle to make a clicking noise and flip up into the air. Listen to a recording of click beetle sounds.

If you should come into contact with a click beetle, it will use its defense mechanism, but the experience will simply feel like a soft flick against the skin. In homes, the pests are a nuisance due to their presence alone. However, click beetle larvae can become serious pests in gardens or crop fields.

Signs of Infestation

Homeowners usually recognize a problem with click beetles when they find the adult beetles inside their house around lights or sources of moisture. Click beetles are most likely identified and noticed by the action and sound that give them their common name.

How Do I Get Rid of Click Beetles?

What You Can Do

Click beetles are occasional invaders that generally come inside homes by accident or to escape from cold weather. Using vacuums to remove them and sealing up the cracks, gaps, and holes they use to enter homes are the best ways to reduce click beetle problems. Insecticides should rarely be used and are not recommended in most cases.

What Orkin Does

Your local Orkin technician is trained to help manage click beetles and similar pests. Since every building or home is different, your Orkin technician will design a unique program for your situation.

Orkin can provide the right solution to keep click beetles in their place…out of your home, or business.


Behavior, Diet, & Habits

What Do They Eat?

Click beetle larvae live in the soil and usually prey on small, soil dwelling insects, plant roots, and seeds. In fact, some species of click beetle larvae become agricultural pests that damage plants and crops. Adult click beetle food sources are:

  • Aphids
  • Leaves
  • Plant nectar
  • Pollen
Where Do They Live?

As nocturnal flying insects, click beetles navigate toward light. During the day, they seek refuge in dark locations such as under leaves or inside cracks and holes. When it gets dark, they become active and may decide to crawl inside a house rather than stay outside to feed.

Geographic Range

Click beetles are found in all regions of the United States.

Reproduction

Adult female click beetles mate with adult males and lay eggs in the summer months. After mating, she lays her eggs in the soil.