Black Clock Beetle

Pterostichus madidus

Black Clock Beetle

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by Ben Deed (CC BY 4.0)
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A close up photograph of a black clock beetle Pterostichus madidus
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by Ben Deed (CC BY 4.0)
1 of 6
Pterostichus madidus, or the Black Clock Beetle, belongs to the Ground Beetle family (Carabidae). Most members of the family have lost the ability to fly because they are better hunters when on foot! They're mainly meat-eaters, their favourites being slugs and snails. Nonetheless, these beetles are partial to all kinds of insects if available. They may have a cheeky nibble from garden fruits which lay low to the ground, too. Find these shiny beetles hiding beneath stones, loose bark and grass tussocks in the daytime.
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Traits

A garden resident that will help control pests, such as slugs, snails and caterpillars.
May graze on fruits that have fallen or touch the ground.

Appearance

Adults: Mature beetles can grow as large as 2cm but can be as small as 1.4cm. They're shiny black, with deep, vertical ridges visible on the elytra (wing casings). The pronotum is rounded and smooth, with a central indented line crossing the middle. In most cases the legs are red-brown, but this can vary in hue, and there are some forms with black legs. Larvae: Information concerning beetle larvae is limited. They reside in borrows, feed upon small, soft-bodied insects, and undergo three moults before developing into the adult form. They're highly segmented and cream coloured, comprise three pairs of legs, and large mouthparts.

Symptoms

May graze on fallen fruits, or fruits that touch the ground.

Activity

Nocturnal

Personality

Order

Coleoptera

Family

Carabidae

Metamorphosis

Complete

Distribution

Native to Europe, these beetles are widespread across the UK.

Biological treatment

There's no need to remove these from the garden. They are present in low numbers and can provide pest control in the garden.

Attracts

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Knowledge and advice

Search our ever-growing knowledge base to find plants and information. Find out about pests and diseases you should be keeping an eye out for. Watch How to videos or follow step by step guides for tasks in the garden. Free download for your phone or tablet.
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