Have you noticed those rather large, shiny black beetles crawling around your yard? Many people call them “stink bugs,” but they aren’t the real stink bugs. They’re not bugs at all, but are beetles: Darkling Beetles. There are some species that do emit a weak stink. Their behavior is really interesting. They sort of amble around sometimes hiding under logs and leaves. When you disturb what they’re doing they will stand on their head with their rear end pointed upward. Scary? The stink doesn’t go far. Made up of hydrocarbons and acids it acts to repel predatory insects.
They are medium to large in size, 1 to 1 ½ inches. Their wing covers are fused along the midline. You can see the midline in the photo. Because of that, they cannot fly.
They feed on rotten wood, fungi, lichens, algae and mosses on the surfaces of bark and rocks.
This is one of our most conspicuous beetles. I’m almost positive you’ve seen one. If you haven’t, start looking.