Stag beetles running amuck in Oakland County

Editor’s note: This article is from the archives of the MSU Crop Advisory Team Alerts. Check the label of any pesticide referenced to ensure your use is included.

A lawn care service sent in some large black beetles this past week that were burrowing 6 to 8 inches deep into their client’s yard. We identified the beetles as black stag beetles, Lucanus placidus, (Coleoptera: Lucanidae). This handsome beetle is a close relative of the common pinching bug, L.capreolus. Members of this genus are among Michigan’s largest beetles. They have large, fierce mandibles that males use to fight with one another for mating privileges. The beetles are attracted to lights and remain nearby in or on the ground during the day. Their legs are expanded at the ends as shovels that allow the beetles to dig shallow holes in the ground to escape the daytime heat. The larvae develop in dead, rotted logs and stumps. These large attractive insects are harmless and control measures are normally not needed. The beetles are not long-lived and will go away on their own in one or two weeks.

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