The order of Coleoptera is the most diverse group of insects – not only that, but there are actually more species of beetles than any other kind of animal in the world. That’s 25% of all known types of animal life-forms, and about 40% of all insect species.Pretty impressive, right?
In the state of Arizona, you can find around 90 different kinds of beetles, but we’ll just be talking about some of the more common ones you can find in your backyard – what they are, what they look like, and where you’ll find them.
Palo Verde Borer Beetles
These beetles are active during the summer, and are commonly seen flying around during sunset looking for a mate (you know, because it’s just more romantic during sunsets). They’re called Palo Verde Borers because as larvae, they develop underground near the roots of Palo Verde trees. They consume these roots and spend about 3-4 years as grubs, before maturing to adult beetles that only live about a month (after they mate and lay eggs, that’s pretty much it for them). They are dark brown, have long and straight antennae, large mandibles, spines on their thorax, and are commonly mistaken for large cockroaches.
Ladybird beetles, also known as ladybugs, are perhaps the most popular beetles in the world thanks to cartoons and children’s toys. They have hemispherical bodies, and while they come in a number of different colors, the most common color combination of these bugs in the US are red or orange with black spots. They are commonly found in gardens from spring to fall, and feed on aphids and similar insects. As larvae, they are purple with orange spots.
Cactus Longhorn Beetles
As the name would suggest, these beetles feed on cholla and prickly pear cacti. As larvae, they develop inside the cacti, and as adults, feed externally on soft cacti. They don’t fly, and are easily recognizable by their hard black bodies that have a white stripe behind the head. They also have long antennae that have a white spot at midpoint, which makes for a very interesting look. They’re usually active during daylight in spring and summer.
These beetles are so named because they eat fruit and sap. They like sweet food, which for them also includes leaves and flowers. Adult fig beetles have a dull green color and have shiny green undersides, with a tan stripe along the edges of their wings. As larvae, they feed on decaying plant matter, and interestingly enough, move by crawling on their backs. These beetles are active from late spring through summer, and are commonly found around trees.