Jeff Hahn, Asst. Extension Entomologist
People have been finding click beetles lately in their yards and around their homes. They are generally between 3/8 - ½ inch long, are dark brown or black with an elongate oval and flattened body. The prothorax, the area behind head, appears ‘loose’ with the rest of the body. The back corners of the prothorax are prolonged back into sharp points.
Click beetles are found commonly on foliage and flowers as well as under bark. They are also attracted to lights. A click beetle is unique because it can right itself when it is on its back. It does this by arching the area between the prothorax and mesothorax (where it looks loose) and then snaps it back, usually producing an audible ‘click’. This action will cause it to jump up, often allowing the insect to regain its feet. If it remains on its back, it will keep trying until it succeeds.
Some residents, upon finding a click beetle, have been concerned that they have discovered an emerald ash borer, especially if they find it on a tree or under bark. Although they are similar shape, emerald ash borers are a shiny iridescent green while click beetles are a dark color. Also emerald ash borers lack the corners of their prothorax being extended back to points like click beetles possess.
Occasionally, click beetles are found inside homes. They are attracted to moisture, e.g. from water and leaves in gutters, and then can enter buildings through available cracks and spaces. It is typical to find them on the ceilings in rooms. Fortunately they are harmless and are short-lived indoors. If you find a click beetle indoors just physically remove it, no other controls are needed. They are not usually not found in homes much past June.