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Stag Beetle Bite

Do Stag Beetles Bite?

Even if they’re just crawling around logs and mulch in backyards, stag beetles look ready for a fight. One of the largest of the North American beetles, females of this species can grow up to two inches long and males up to three inches. Males have elongated, antler-like jaws used to fight rivals and attract mates.

Given the pests’ intimidating appearance, it’s understandable that people would be afraid of stag beetle bites. For most beetles with large mandibles, that would be a mistake. Insects with extremely long mouthparts typically can’t generate enough force to bite down hard due to simple mechanics.

However, stag beetles compensate for this lack of force with many powerful chewing muscles. Both males and females can deliver surprisingly painful bites.

Stag Beetle Bites vs. Other Beetle Bites

Since beetles are identified in part by their chewing mouthparts, any beetle can technically bite. Still, only a few are able to clamp down strongly enough to harm humans. In addition to stag beetles, there are two other species that may be painful to humans.

Found in gardens and on crops, blister beetles release chemicals in their bites that create sores on the skin. Longhorned beetles, identified by their lengthy antennae, may also bite. A stag beetle bite or wound from any of these three species will typically require a few days to heal, but have no lasting effects.

Stag Beetle Prevention

Since stag beetles can fly into lawns or tunnel underground, controlling them is hard work. The easiest way to avoid a stag beetle bite is to discourage the pests from coming into the yard. Adults are usually attracted by dead or decaying wood, where they like to lay their eggs, or by tree and plant sap.

Homeowners can remove decomposing wood, including old tree stumps and roots, to reduce nesting sites and food sources. However, this solution may prove impractical on heavily wooded properties. For stubborn stag beetle infestations, rely on the local pest professionals at Orkin.


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