What Do Beetles Eat? (Food List for Beetles)

It’s that time of year again. You just finished your spring cleaning and there is something moving in the corners of your house.

Beetles

Beetles!

But do you know what they eat? Do you know if they eat anything at all? What do Beetles eat?

Beetles generally eat human and rodent feces, dry cat food, Roaches, dead mice, crickets, earthworms, and mealworms. These are sources of protein, fiber, essential amino acids, and vitamins for Beetles.

The first thing to understand about beetles is that there are over 350,000 species of beetles on earth and this number continues to grow as we discover more and more new species every day. 

There are so many different kinds of beetles that it would be near impossible for me to cover them all here.

In an effort to keep my article from being too large, I will be focusing on a few select groups of beetles, their diets, and those diets may affect people with physically similar diets.

Beetles are iconic, and often destructive insects of monumental proportions. They eat a wide variety of foods, and for this reason, can make excellent pets. Feeding your pet beetle is not too difficult; beetles will generally eat anything organic (read: living). 

However, some species do require more specialized diets than others, especially depending on what you’re trying to get them to eat. 

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Beetles Classification

Scientific nameColeoptera
Eaten byMantis
OrderColeoptera; Linnaeus, 1758
PhylumArthropoda
KingdomAnimalia

Have no fear. After reading this article, your knowledge about that specific species’ diet will improve dramatically. The following list includes the most common feeder items and their nutritional values:

Beetle Diet: Human/Rodent Feces: Protein 50%, Fat 40%, Fiber 1.5%

Beetle Diet: Dry Cat Food: Protein 30%, Fat 20%, Fiber 5%

Beetle Diet: Dog Food (mineral/vitamin supplements included): Protein 23%, Fat 17%, Fiber 4%

Of the above foods, it is recommended to use either fresh human or rodent feces, or dry dog food. For more specific diets, please refer to the above list of Beetles and their appropriate feeder items. 

Note this information is not meant to be used as a dietary restriction; rather, it’s intended for your reference so you can know what things will and won’t work for each species. 

You may also want to offer your pet beetle an assortment of foodstuffs in case it gets tired of one thing in particular, or for when it’s not hungry.

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Blister Beetles

beetle | Plant Gardener

Blister Beetles are known for their ability to emit a blistering chemical called cantharidin, which is actually pretty cool if you’re into that sort of thing. 

This family includes the Oil Beetle, which accumulates large amounts of toxic insecticides within its body in order to ward off predators.

However, once contained within an exoskeleton, this toxin becomes extremely safe for humans and other animals to consume. 

When selecting feeder items for your pet oil beetle, remember they most likely require more fat than the average beetle species due to their size. 

These beetles will also enjoy most dry cat foods, dog food (not recommended for Blister Beetles unless you can find one with at least 25% fat content), and small insects such as roaches, crickets, and grasshoppers (alive).

Blister Beetle Diet: Fat/Oils 50%, Protein 30%, Fiber 10%

Beetle Diet: Dog Food (mineral/vitamin supplements included): Protein 23%, Fat 17%, Fiber 4%

Blister Beetle Diet: Dry Cat Food: Protein 30%, Fat 20%, Fiber 5%

Beetle Diet: Mice (live): Protein 60%, Fat 9.5%, Fiber 2%

Beetle Diet: Roaches (alive or dead): Protein 70-100%, Fat 0-2.25%, Fiber 0-0.1%

Blister Beetles will eat mice and roaches, though they’re not especially picky about either of the above. If you have a live mouse to offer your pet, it may be a bit more difficult to get them to switch over to dry cat food or dog food when needed. 

Keep that in mind if you want to try something different than what’s listed here; sometimes they just don’t want anything else! Periodically offering small insects such as crickets is good for blisters, too.

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Bee Beetles

beetle1 | Plant Gardener

Bee beetles are fantastic feeders for larger reptiles such as bearded dragons, chameleons, and large geckos.

However, keep in mind these beetles can be fickle eaters with a relatively short lifespan of about a month. 

If you can get your beetle to eat before it expires, however, you will have provided your reptile with an excellent live food source for several weeks.

Bee Beetle Diet: Roaches (alive or dead): Protein 70-100%, Fat 0-2.25%, Fiber 0-0.1%

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Bumble Bee Beetles

These little guys are just like their namesake; they put on lots of weight during winter and early spring in order to stay warm through the colder seasons ahead.

For this reason, it’s best to feed them fatty foods such as cat or dog food when offering them dry goods. 

You may also give them small insects such as crickets, mealworms, wax worms, and earthworms.

Bumble Bee Beetle Diet: Fat/Oils 50%, Protein 30%, Fiber 10%

Beetle Diet: Dog Food (mineral/vitamin supplements included): Protein 23%, Fat 17%, Fiber 4%

Beetle Diet: Dry Cat Food: Protein 30%, Fat 20%, Fiber 5%

Beetle Diet: Crickets (alive or dead): Protein 70-100%, Fat 0-2.25%, Fiber 0-0.1%

Earthworm Beetle Diet: Earthworms (alive or dead): Protein 70-100%, Fat 0-2.25%, Fiber 0-0.1%

Firefly Beetle Diet: Beetles (small, live or dead): Protein 70-100%, Fat 0-2.25%, Fiber 0-0.1%

Grass Beetle Diet: Crickets (alive or dead): Protein 70-100%, Fat 0-2.25%, Fiber 0-0.1%

Leaf Beetle Diet: Earthworms (alive or dead): Protein 70-100%, Fat 0-2.25%, Fiber 0-0.1%

Long-Horned Beetle Diet: Beetles (small, alive or dead): Protein 70-100%, Fat 0-2.25%, Fiber 0-.1%

Rove Beetle Diet: Mealworms (live or dead): Protein 60%, Fat 9.5%. Fiber 2%; Health Food Store Beetles (alive or dead): Protein 70-100%, Fat 0-2.25%, Fiber 0-.1%

Rove Beetles are quite fond of mealworms, though they will also eat most common dry pet foods. They’re not very picky about which brand, either. 

It’s best to offer them both live and dried worms since they may have trouble eating dried insects on their own. You can easily judge how much you should give them by weighing the insect beforehand.

Scavenger Beetle Diet: Dry dog food: Protein 23%, Fat 17%, Fiber 4%; Scavenger beetle species at your local pet store.

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 Let’s explore three more beetles in more detail so you can better understand their particular diets. First of all, what do these beetles look like? 

The red flour beetle is small and reddish-brown with long antennae that stick out on either side of its head. 

Next is the drugstore beetle which looks very similar to the red flour beetle except it is slightly larger and has grooves running down its back. 

We have the cigarette beetle which has a characteristic hump on its thorax (the body segment behind where its head is). Now that I’ve described what each of these little critters looks like I will tell you some interesting facts about them.

Okay, first off let me describe something called a complete diet. A complete diet is a food item that contains all of the macronutrients and micronutrients an animal needs in order to live a healthy life. 

An incomplete diet is one that lacks some of these nutritions or nutrients, for instance, it might be low in protein or fiber. 

Insects have very different nutritional requirements from mammals such as ourselves so their diets can vary drastically from each other based on what they need nutritionally in order to sustain themselves with energy. 

Now, let’s talk about the three specific beetles I mentioned earlier and their individual diets.

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Red Flour Beetle

beetle2 | Plant Gardener

The red flour beetle will eat a variety of grains including wheat, rye, barley, rice, cornmeal, and semolina.

When you think about it, the fact that these beetles have a diet consisting mostly of grains should not be surprising to anyone. 

Seeds left in your pantry for a long period of time will frequently attract the red flour beetle and other pest species if an infestation is allowed to continue because seeds can contain up to 50% moisture which is perfect for larvae development.

Drugstore Beetle’s

The drugstore beetle’s favorite food source happens to be dried fruits such as raisins, figs, dates, apricots, and prunes.

Because they feed on dried fruit that contains high amounts of sugar it would make sense that they also consume any processed foods or sweets lying around in your cupboards or pantry along with the dried fruit.

If you have a pest problem in your home and you discover that the drugstore beetle is at work there then you should start cleaning out those cupboards because these little guys tend to cause a lot of damage if they are allowed to continue feeding on stored food items.

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Cigarette Beetle

Finally, we have the cigarette beetle which, as its name suggests, will feed on tobacco products such as cigarettes and cigars. Cigarette beetles can sometimes be found infesting foodstuffs but this is not their main source of nourishment. 

These little critters also frequently infest birdseed where they consume the whole seed itself or just the embryo inside. Please note that although these beetles do occasionally dine on grains they prefer dried fruit and tobacco over anything else as far as food items go.

Summary

Uncover the dietary habits of beetles in our comprehensive guide. From scavengers to predators, we delve into the diverse eating habits of these fascinating insects. Explore the intricacies of beetle diets, ranging from plant matter to other insects, and discover how these behaviors impact ecosystems. Whether you’re a curious entomologist or a gardener seeking pest management insights, this article provides valuable information on what beetles consume. Gain a deeper understanding of these vital contributors to our environment and their role in maintaining ecological balance. Dive into the world of beetle nutrition and broaden your knowledge today.

Summary

In conclusion, the beetles I mentioned earlier-the red flour beetle, drugstore beetle, and cigarette beetle-will feed on a variety of different things but tobacco is their favorite.

This means that if you have any stored tobacco products at home then they will be a prime target for these pests as well as other pantry pests. 

Whether or not you keep dried fruit or grains in your house is up to you but it’s also important to remember that even though these critters may not infest them directly, their larvae will still frequently eat through packages of stored whole grain cereals.

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