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Tiger Beetles

General Facts

There are over 30 species of tiger beetles found throughout Canada. They are predatory insects with long legs that help them move extremely fast. Interestingly enough, due to their ability to run quickly, when hunting their prey these insects become momentarily blind. This means they have to stop and reorient themselves before resuming the chase.

Appearance / Identification

Tiger beetles are easy to recognize due to their large, bugle eyes, thin bodies, long legs, and sickle-shaped mandibles. Colour varies by species, but most are metallic hues of green, blue, or purple. Others tend to blend into their natural surroundings because they are light tan or dull brown. Most tiger beetles have markings on their wing covers and can be anywhere from 9 to 15 mm in length.

Habitat

The insects are found in numerous habitats across the country. Some species live on sandy beaches while others prefer open fields and grasslands. Tiger beetles also inhabit hiking trails, riverbeds, and anywhere there is sufficient space to hunt.

Diet

Tiger beetles feed on spiders, other beetles, springtails, grasshoppers, flies, and ants. Some species actively hunt prey while others are ambush predators.

Life Cycle / Reproduction

Overwintering adults emerge in the spring to mate and lay eggs. Young tiger beetles hatch into larvae that pass through three stages of development before reaching adulthood. These are typically white in colour with large heads and humped backs.

Problems Caused by Tiger Beetles

For the most part, tiger beetles pose no threat to people. Some species are protected through conservation efforts because they eat harmful pests. However, due to their large mandibles, tiger beetles can inflict painful bites when handled.

Detection / Signs of Infestation

While tiger beetles do not typically invade homes, they will sometimes enter by accident. The pests tend to live in fields and wooded areas, so hikers may bring them inside within the folds of clothing or on backpacks.

Prevention Tips

To make homes less favourable to tiger beetles, individuals can seal any cracks or gaps found in building exteriors. Additionally, residents should check their clothing for adult beetles after spending extended periods of time outdoors.

Control / Removal

Since tiger beetles are mostly beneficial, homeowners may choose to leave small populations alone. However, if infestations get out of hand, individuals should contact the professionals at Orkin Canada to deal with the problem.