We get many calls about small round black beetles that are being found in the yard foraging about on animal waste. These beetles are related to the egyptian scarab beetle but much smaller. Usually 3/8th to 1/2 inch in length, litter beetles can be metallic blue green in color, bronze or black. Litter beetles are found throughout the United States and are strong flyers. They’re attracted to animal waste and will readily feed upon the droppings left by dog, rabbit, deer, raccoon, cat, cow, horse, chicken and pretty much any type of mammal.



Litter beetles (also known as litter bugs, dung beetles, tumble bugs, pooh beetles and fece fighters) generally go unnoticed. Attracted by the scent of animal waste, adult litter beetles will lay eggs in fecal matter from which larvae will hatch and begin feeding. This activity will happen down under the top of the feces so it’s easy to miss. Larva are small grub like caterpillars that will develop through several instars before becoming adults. At that time they’ll leave the fecal pile and fly off looking for a mate and some fresh “food”.



Litter beetles are usually not a problem and in fact, many times they’re desirable. Farmers commonly depend on them to recycle waste piles which in turn can help eliminate foul odors and other problems associated with fecal matter. By eating feces, litter beetles effectively take food away from filth flies which are a big problem. For this reason litter beetles will many times be tolerated around the farm or other environment where a lot of animals are active.

But if you’re trying to utilize manure or recycle some type of animal feces for fertilizer, the litter beetle will become an enemy. Basically they’ll eat everything you’re trying to mulch back to the soil. And what they consume is very important nutrient wise so in fact, if you leave them to populate and eat what you place out, you’ll no doubt loose most of the benefit the manure was supposed to provide. For this reason litter beetles can be a problem when their numbers become significant.



Bug Patrol 32 oz RTSOnce in the garden where you’ve applied manure for fertilizer, litter beetles may have to be reduced. For organic gardeners, the easiest way to eliminate them is to spray some BUG PATROL as needed. This ready to spray material is approved for use in organic gardens and is strong enough to handle the toughest litter beetle infestation. Treat as you see them which will usually mean 1-2 applications a month.

Bug Patrol 32 oz RTSBug Patrol:



Hose End SprayerBifen XTSCyonara RTSNow if you prefer something a bit stronger, go with the CYONARA RTS. It too comes in a handy ready to spray container and can cover up to half an acre no problem. For really large areas, go with the BIFEN XTS and a HOSE END SPRAYER. Bifen XTS can handle up to 1 acre and will prove to be more cost effective for large areas.

Cyonara RTSCyonara RTS:

Bifen XTSBifen XTS:

Hose End SprayerHose End:



In some cases, litter beetles can be so active around the home that some get inside living areas. In general, litter beetles are not invasive but if you have large amounts of land with litter beetles present, some will no doubt find your house and want to use it for shelter. For this reason you may need to spray it from time to time to keep them out.

Pump SprayerViper CypermethrinThe best spray for the homes exterior is CYPERMETHRIN. Apply it with any standard PUMP SPRAYER. Litter beetles don’t like it and will stay off treated surfaces so it works well at keeping them out. Use it monthly when they’re active and be sure to treat key entry ways. These will usually windows, doors, gutters, soffits and vents commonly found on most any home.

Viper CypermethrinCypermethrin:

Pump SprayerPump Sprayer:


PT-PhantomOnce you start finding dung beetles inside living areas, treat your baseboards with the same Cypermethrin. But if you’re finding them up high around windows and door frames, get some PHANTOM AEROSOL and apply it to any crack or crevice where they might be nesting. Phantom is odorless and goes on dry making it ideal for use in the home.

PT-PhantomPhantom Aerosol:



Since litter beetles generally aren’t invasive, there usually is no need to do regular maintenance on your home or property to keep numbers in check. From time to time you might find some in the yard but they will leave as soon as the fecal matter is depreciated or if you spray them before their numbers get to large.

Now if you have animals that are generating a lot of feces throughout the year, get used to seeing litter beetles during the warm season. In some cases they may be a welcome guest but if you’re using manure as fertilizer, you may want to reduce these manure feeding beetles so your garden can best benefit from the important nutrients manure can provide.


Give us a call if you need further help. Our toll free is 1-800-877-7290 and we’re open Monday through Thursday, 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM. On Friday, 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM and on Saturday, 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time).

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