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I found this relatively large beetle in a pile of wood chips in my garden. I found smaller individuals of the same species living about an inch underground in my garden.

I live in central NJ.

The beetle is about an inch and a half long. It has a hard exterior, and is entirely black except for some things that are orange: hairs on the middle pair of legs, the gap between the head and the midsection, I don't remember where else.

The beetle makes a quiet sound, kind of like a hiss, when it gets flipped upside down.

As far as I know it can't fly.

My top guess is that it is a black ground beetle. Whatever kind of beetle it is, I would like to know:

  1. Does it post any threat to my vegetables/potatoes?
  2. Will it bite me?

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7

Actually, that's a Bess beetle or Patent Leather Beetle (Odontotaenius disjunctus). They eat rotting logs and are beneficial. Put it in the woods.

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2

That looks like a female stag beetle. Here's a link. Females look vastly different than the males that have these big pincher 'horn's...female stag beetle

Not only are they harmless (for one thing these beetles, once they become an adult DO NOT EAT ANYTHING...) the larvae eat dead wood, not vegetables or one's fingers! And to top it off they are actually on endangered lists.

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  • 1
    great identification, why not go all the way and advise that they eat wood and are harmless? – kevinsky Jul 3 '16 at 2:03
  • That was in the article I sent. But thanks Kevinsky... – stormy Jul 3 '16 at 2:58
  • Not only are they harmless (for one thing these beetles, once they become an adult DO NOT EAT ANYTHING...) the larvae eat dead wood, not vegeys or one's fingers! And to top it off they are actually on endangered lists. Thought I'd try to be succinct for once, good article, cool beetle. – stormy Jul 3 '16 at 3:05
  • So different beetle? Whoa...good catch! – stormy Jul 4 '16 at 19:04

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