Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Beetle or Roach?



I am trying to see if these are roaches or beetles. The bug at the top of the photos is brown, found crawling in my living room approximately 2 weeks ago at 2am. The smaller one is black and found it dead today in my unfinished basement laundry room. Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks.

Hi, Cherry:

Thank you for including the images with your question.

The first image (#1) shows two beetles, the top one of which is a "click beetle" in the family Elateridae:


The bottom beetle in the first image is a "ground beetle" in the family Carabidae, probably in the genus Harpalus :


Neither beetle is problematic in the least.  The larvae of click beetles are known as "wireworms," and on rare occasion can be agricultural pests of potatoes and other root vegetables.  Adult Harpalus ground beetles sometimes eat seeds, but are rarely, if ever, pests.

Both kinds of beetles are nocturnal, at least in part, and may be attracted to lights at night.

Hope this helps ease your mind.


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Eric R. Eaton


I answer insect and spider identification questions ONLY. Attach images if possible. No "what bit me?", "what do I feed this bug in captivity?", or science fair project questions please. NO TECHNICAL QUESTIONS ABOUT INSECT PHYSIOLOGY.


Principal author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America. Professional entomologist employed previously at University of Massachusetts, Chase Studio, Inc., and Cincinnati Zoo; contract work for West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, Smithsonian Institution, and Portland (Oregon) State University.

Author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Missouri Conservationist magazine, Ranger Rick, Birds & Blooms, Timeline (journal of the Ohio Historical Society). I have contributed to several books as well.

Oregon State University, undergraduate major in entomology, did not receive degree.

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One of the top 50 experts in all categories for AllExperts.com, 2009.

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Principal author of the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Smithsonian Institution (contract), Cincinnati Zoo (employer), Portland State University (contract), Chase Studio, Inc (employer), Arkansas Museum of Discovery (guest speaker). Currently seeking speaking engagements, leadership roles at nature festivals, workshops, and ecotours.

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