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Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

Rove Beetles


Scientific Names
Species identified in Ontario include Quedius spp. and Tachyporus spp.


  • White and pear-shaped
  • Laid in decaying matter and are not seen in the vineyard


  • Similar in appearance to the adults
  • Long curved jaws and a cylindrical organ posteriorly (tip of abdomen)
  • Four larval instars that last about 11–15 days


  • Resembles the adult it will become but in mummy form, with obvious legs, eyes, chewing mouthparts and antennae held tightly into the body
  • The pupal period lasts about 7–12 days, depending on temperature


  • Generally slender insects with short elytra or wing covers that do not cover all the abdominal segments
  • May have a slightly flattened appearance
  • Vary greatly in size (0.3–1.6 cm long) and colouration and are widely distributed
  • Adults and larvae of several species flex the tip of their abdomens upwards when they run

Often Confused With
Earwigs – Earwigs have characteristic stout pincers at the tip of the abdomen, lacking in rove beetles. 

Interaction with Host
Staphylinids feed on both living and dead insects and on decaying plant material. A few species are also parasitic.

Period of Activity
Adults overwinter and become active early in spring when mating and oviposition occur. In vineyards they occur throughout the season, and there are several generations per year.

Insects Attacked
Common prey in vineyards include insects that pupate in or on the soil, such as grape berry moth pupa.  Rove beetles will also eat mites, beetle larvae of other species, and small caterpillars.
Monitoring and Management
Rove beetles are nocturnal.  They may be found by actively searching under rocks and vegetation on the vineyard floor, as well as in foliage and protected areas of bark on trunks and limbs, but are not recorded during scouting activities. 

Tasgius ater, a common rove beetle found in many agricultural habitats (Photo by D. Cheung DKB Digital Designs) Philonthus, a common rove beetle found in many agricultural habitats (Photo by D. Cheung DKB Digital Designs)Click to enlarge.