How Long Do Beetles Live And Why?

logo by Editorial Staff | Updated on August 3rd, 2022

Beetles (or their larvae) consume anything from wild and garden plants to pollen, algal film, leaves, fruits, nuts, stems, roots, dung, carrion, rotten wood, building lumber, harvested grain, stored food, other invertebrates, and each other.

They dwell in water, trees, dirt, ant nests, bee burrows, and our homes; they visit flowers, patrol leaves, and fly and bump at an illuminated window on a late summer evening. Platypsyllus castors survive in beaver pelts by scraping dead skin and sebaceous secretions. Beetles may be found anywhere and do everything.

three black insects on green leaf

It’s anyone’s estimate how many beetles are out there waiting to be discovered worldwide. There are around 500,000 beetle species recognized.

In 1982, insecticide fogging trials in Panamanian woods produced a bountiful shower of recognized and unknown species into the collection bins and ground sheets arranged below.

The extrapolation of 1,200 beetle species from one tropical tree revealed that there were 12 million beetle species on Earth. Some argue that there are 33 million beetle species in the world.

But today, we’re not going to discuss their appearance but rather their relatively short life expectancy, how long beetles live, and whether or not they live longer in captivity than in the wild.

Lifespan of beetles

Begin by stating that beetles have an extremely limited lifespan. Contrary to popular belief, they do not live more than a year and die prematurely.

Beetles, you know, have a life expectancy ranging from 10 days to 6 months, depending on the sort of beetle we’re talking about, because some species only survive a couple of days.

Although their life expectancy may be quite short, having a very short lifetime and not being able to live through the one-year mark is very frequent amongst insects of these varieties.

A beetle’s life cycle is divided into four parts.

A beetle’s life cycle is characterized as a full metamorphosis, which means it has four distinct stages: egg, larval, pupal, and adult.


The female beetle will deposit hundreds of little white or yellow eggs, depending on the species. The eggs can be found in rotting wood, decaying leaves, and even animal dung. Some beetles lay their eggs inside their bodies and give birth to live larvae.


Beetle larvae resemble grubs or worms and have ravenous appetites. Wood-destroying beetles, such as powderpost and Longhorned beetles, cause structural damage during this period.

These beetle larvae feed on the cellulose structure of wood, devouring it from the inside out. As the larvae grow, they must shed their outer coat, known as the exoskeleton, to make more room for themselves. This shedding, known as “molting,” may occur seven to ten times before the larvae reach the pupal stage.

The larval stage after the earth takes significantly longer — 3-4 years in a warm area and up to 5 years in a cold one. After 4-6 weeks, the larvae hatch. Initially, they feed on humus and the roots of herbaceous plants (such as potatoes or sugar beets), and subsequently on tree roots.


The biggest change in shape occurs during the beetle life cycle. The worm-like larvae create a pupa, or cocoon, and then lay dormant. During this stage, the larva begins to resemble the adult beetle.

The time it takes for a beetle to mature from the pupal stage varies greatly across species. Some take as little as 30 days to fully mature, while others might take up to two to three years. When the beetle reaches adulthood, it emerges from the cocoon and begins the life cycle all over again.

The larvae grow in size throughout growth, eventually reaching 4-5 cm. Vertical seasonal migration is characteristic of beetle larvae: during the warm season, they climb closer to the earth’s surface, and during the winter, they drop to a depth. Pupae emerge in early fall, and adult beetles appear after approximately 6 weeks, remaining underground at a depth of 20-100 cm until the end of April.


The adult stage is the last stage of a beetle’s life cycle. Adults come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors. Some adults have huge mandibles for collecting food and defending against predators. Some species, such as the Cerambycid beetle, imitate wasps to deter predators. Certain animals can produce harmful or unpleasant compounds to fight off their adversaries.

Adult beetles arrive on the earth’s surface around the end of April or May and survive for about 5-7 weeks. Mating happens after approximately 2 weeks, and the female begins producing eggs, which she places under the earth at a depth of 10-20 cm. This technique can be carried out in various ways, with a full masonry of 60-80 eggs. The female of the May beetles dies shortly after constructing the construction.

During metamorphosis, beetles defend themselves.

To escape being attacked by predators or parasitoids, beetles and their larvae employ several techniques (an organism that spends most of its life attached to or within a single host organism which it ultimately kills and often consumes in the process). Camouflage, mimicry (a condition in which one creature, the mimic, has evolved to share common external traits with another organism), toxicity, and active defense are examples of these.

Camouflage is coloration or form to blend into one’s surroundings. Some leaf beetles (family Chrysomelidae) use this defensive tactic because their coloration is comparable to that of their natural home on plant leaves. Camouflage may be more complicated, as shown in some weevils, where different colored scales or hairs lead the beetle to mimic bird feces.

Mimicry is another defense frequently employing color or form to confuse prospective foes. Various longhorn beetles (family Cerambycidae) resemble wasps, fooling predators into keeping their distance even though the beetles are harmless.

Many beetle species, including ladybirds and blister beetles, may release unpleasant or toxic chemicals that render them unappealing or dangerous. These same animals frequently display aposematism, in which bright or contrasting color patterns deter prospective predators.

Large ground beetles and longhorn beetles may strike, employing their powerful mandibles to force a predator to seek out easier prey. Others, such as bombardier beetles, deter predators by spraying corrosive gas from their abdomen.

In the wild, how long do beetles live?

Beetles, as previously said, have a relatively limited life expectancy whether they dwell in the wild or captivity. However, it is true that if they are maintained in captivity, they are more likely to live longer lives.

Beetles may live in the wild for 10 days to 2 months. Of course, depending on the variety of beetle, this is their average life span.

If you’re wondering where they reside, beetles may be found practically anywhere, in various settings. They are, however, more likely to be found in dark, wet areas, frequently under rocks and leaves.

If you’re near a pond, a lake, or even a garden, you’re likely to come across a beetle in its native environment. Don’t worry; they’re not hazardous and will not hurt you.

In captivity, how long do beetles live?

Beetles, as you probably have guessed by now, don’t live very long. Depending on the species, if kept in captivity, they may be able to complete their whole life cycle, surviving up to 6 months in the best-case scenario.

This is not frequent, and even in captivity, where they dwell far away from any natural predators, they may only last a few days or, if you’re lucky, up to two months.


Editorial Staff

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