Ground Beetles (Carabidae)

Harpalus species — these beetles often have orange-ish legs. They are slightly bigger than Amara.

General Information:

“Ground beetle” is the common name used for members of the family Carabidae; the name “carabid” is sometimes also used. These beetles are mostly predators. A few species are consistently seen in potato fields in the Columbia Basin, while the species in potato fields west of the Cascades and at the higher elevations in Idaho are not as well known.

Biology and Life History:

  • As the name implies, ground beetles spend most of their time on the ground. They feed primarily on other insects.
  • In potatoes, ground beetles can be very common under the canopy. They feed on insects that fall from the canopy or that are living in the decomposing leaves.
  • Bembidion beetles are commonly seen scurrying along open patches of soil during the day. They can be very abundant.
  • Other species in the genera Harpalus and Amara can also be common, expecially in organic fields or conventional fields with a soft insecticide program.
  • Larvae of ground beetles live in the soil and are predators of soil dwelling arthopods. They likely feed on larvae and pupae of pest insects such as cutworm caterpillars and tuberworm.