Beetles come in various shapes, sizes and colors -- brown being one of the most common hues in the insect world. However, while many species of beetles have wings, only a select few can actually fly. These critters often startle humans by flying near lights and around cracks in a home's wall. There are four main types of brown beetles that fly.
The cigarette beetle derives its name because of its tendency to attack stored tobacco. The insect is generally light brown and ranges in size from 2 to 3 millimeters. Adult cigarette beetles are strong fliers and are extremely active around light. The beetles usually fly in the late afternoon. If disturbed by humans or predators, cigarette beetles lay motionless for a few seconds as if dead. Cigarette beetles are invasive pests that are known to infest a variety of products, including flour, spices, cereal and pet food.
June beetles are a reddish-brown insect with a hard, shiny shell. Adult June beetles range in size from 1/2- to 1-inch long. As their name suggests, June beetles are most prevalent during June and early summer. They are active fliers, generally flying in large clusters. Male June beetles are extremely attracted to lights and will often dart toward lighting fixtures. Female species are less prone to flying toward lights. Young June beetles, called grubs, are known for chewing through grass and plant roots, destroying vegetation.
Longhorned beetles, which are commonly brown or black, have notably long antennae and slender bodies. They can grow up to 1 1/2 inches long, depending on the species. Longhorned beetles are active fliers, often flying around indoor lights or toward window light if trapped inside. The beetles typically do not enter homes alone, but are carried into a home as larvae inside wood or other products. Larvae in unused firewood often develop into adult beetles between late winter and early summer.
Rice weevils are small beetles that belong to the family of Curculionidae. They are about 3 millimeters in size with a dark reddish-brown body and four pale spots on their upper surface. Like other beetles, rice weevils can fly and are often attracted to light. They tend to infest grain rice, sunflower seeds, nuts, wheat and corn. Their small size and rapid flight makes them a serious pest for households as they tend to attack cereal products like pet food, cereal and caked flour.
Alicia Gallegos is a journalist in northwestern Indiana. She previously wrote for the "American Medical News, "a Chicago-based health newspaper published by the American Medical Association. She began her career at the South Bend Tribune, where she covered public safety, courts, food safety, education and health care.