By Kimberly Hawthorne

The United States has over 12,000 types of beetles, and many have beneficial qualities. The common black ground beetle is among them. This beetle, found in gardens, eats other insects and grubs that damage seedlings. It is important to correctly identify beetles prior to administering pest control chemicals because getting rid of one problem may result in others. Black beetle problems occur indoors as well as outdoors.

Some black beetle species destroy crops and contaminate food.

Black Carpet Beetle

Despite its tiny size, the black carpet beetle destroys natural fibers, such as wool, leather and silk. They also eat carpet, hair and other materials. Once black carpet beetles invade your home, they are difficult to get rid of. Similar to cockroaches, carpet beetles reproduce quickly and become a health risk by contaminating food. Outdoors, carpet beetles feed on dead, decaying matter. You can prevent a black carpet beetle invasion by clearing away brush, dead plants, leaves and dead animals from around your home.

Black Turpentine Beetle

Problems caused by the black turpentine beetle are experienced from Texas to the East Coast. This beetle attacks pine trees that produce rosin used to make turpentine. Healthy pine trees defend themselves against this beetle by producing large amounts of pitch in which beetles drown. The black turpentine beetle burrows through the outer bark to lay eggs on the inner bark. The developing larva feed on the living, nutrient-rich inner bark until they reach adulthood, at which time they leave the damaged tree in pursuit of another one to lay eggs in, and the cycle continues.

Flea Beetles

Flea beetles, such as the crucifer flea beetle, are often black in color and tend to infest canola crops. Adults emerge in large numbers in the spring, feed on plant leaves, and quickly destroy canola seedlings. Feeding results in stunted plant growth, delayed maturity and low seed yield. During the summer months, flea beetle larva feed on root hairs and develop pods. The entry point into the pod provides the perfect place for fungal growth during wet weather.

Black Blister Beetles

Black blister beetles secrete a toxin called cantharadin that causes blisters to form on the skin of animals and humans. This beetle commonly infests vegetables, fruits, hay and alfalfa. Horses become ill after ingesting hay that contained black blister beetles. Not only are these beetles toxic, they leave behind an excretion trail that is equally toxic. Always wash fruits and vegetables from your garden before eating them.