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Rove Beetle, (Aleochara bilineata) are very common insects that usually go unnoticed. They are slender, elongate beetles with the distinctive characteristic of having wing covers elytra that are much shorter than the abdomen. The result is that over half of the top surface of the abdomen is exposed. Most rove beetles are black or brown. One common species has grayish markings on the wings and abdomen.
Most rove beetles are medium sized beetles though a few species are up to 1 inch long. Rove beetles are very active fliers or runners. When they run they often raise the tip of the abdomen.
Rove beetles are completely harmless though their habits make them unappealing. They are found in or near decaying organic matter, especially dead animals. They have the interesting though unpleasant habit of feeding on other insects such as fly maggots that infest carrion less often dung or fungus.
Most rove beetle adults are slender with short elytra; when of this typical form, the body shape ranges from cylindrical to much flatter, and the abdomen is very muscular and flexible. In some the abdomen is less flexible, and in a few the body form is much broader and the elytra almost cover or do cover the abdomen. In most, the antennae are simple and typically have eleven antennomeres , but in some the antennae are clubbed or have a greatly enlarged apical segment, or have ten or even fewer antennomeres. Antennae are geniculate in a few members of Pselaphinae, Osoriinae, Oxytelinae, Paederinae, and Staphylininae.
Life Cycle: Eggs are laid in small clutches near potential food sources other insects for the larvae Series of Larvae. Larvae of most species will be highly active, searching for food in sheltered, slightly moist habitats below ground or in soil litter. Some rove beetle species are known to be predatory on small insects; other species may be plant feeders since some are known to feed on fungi, algae or plant mulches. The Pupa stage is found in soil litter or in moist soils near larval food sources. The Adult is highly active and free-living; many species are active primarily at night. Many species are poorly known biologically.
Food: A little about the feeding habits of Staphylinidae has been deduced from casual observations by many observers, and from dissections of alimentary canals and from feeding trials and examination of mouthparts by a few. Archetypal staphylinids probably were saprophagous scavengers. Saprophagy is still a major feeding mode in Piestinae, Osoriinae, and Proteininae, perhaps with some adaptation to mycophagy. Mycophagy has evolved in Oxyporinae, Scaphidiinae, some Tachyporinae, and a few Aleocharinae
Hosts: Both adults and larvae are predators of root maggotsâ€™ eggs and larvae, mites, worms, nematodes, and other small insects. Adults tend to be cannibalistic, eating their own eggs and attacking other adults when food supply is low. Type of Rove beetle larvae are maggots and pupae parasites when they are about to pupate, but both adult and larva are generalist predators.
Damage: Some species of rove beetles eat mites, beetle larvae, aphids, and small caterpillars both as adults and larvae. Other species are readily attracted to dead animals and dead insects, where they probably scavenge on these tissues and other insects feeding there. While larval feeding habits of many rove beetle species are unknown, members of at least one subfamily are known to feed on fungi, algae and plant-based mulches; at least in the laboratory, many species, including predators, will feed to some extent on fruit slices.
Cultural practices associated with turf maintenance on golf courses probably create habitat and perhaps odors attractive to ovipositing rove beetles. Once on site, the nocturnal beetles tunnel in the extremely short turf on golf tees. Adults and possibly larvae burrow, making small holes and mounds of soil on the golf turf, creating poor putting surfaces.
Habitat: Staphylinidae occupy almost all moist environments throughout the world. Because none of them is truly aquatic, they do not live in open waters; although winged adults may be skimmed from the sea surface far from land, their presence is due to misadventure but attests to their dispersive ability. They live in leaf litter of woodland and forest floors and grasslands. They concentrate in fallen decomposing fruits, the space under loose bark of fallen, decaying trees, drifted plant materials on banks of rivers and lakes, and dung, carrion, and nests of vertebrate animals.
Several hundred species live only on seashores. Many are specialized to existence in nests of social insects. Many inhabit caves, underground burrows of vertebrate animals, and smaller soil cavities, even of burrows that they excavate. Many live in mushrooms. Adults and even larvae of a few are associated with living flowers. Others climb on plants, especially at night, and hunt for prey. A few seem to live with terrestrial snails. Their distribution in arid environments is restricted to moist microhabitats.
Controls: Fortunately, rove beetles are not harmful to people or our property. They do not reproduce indoors and are just a temporary nuisance. It is likely that these particular beetles overwintered near the building and wandered indoors when warm temperatures arrived. The use of a vacuum or some other type of physical removal is the only necessary control.
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