Sap Beetles (Nitidulidae)

Sap beetles are a family of beetles who get their name from the adult beetles’ consumption of tree sap. They co-exist with fungi and are pests to several crops like strawberries and corn.

Common Beetles Belonging to this Family

  • Strawberry Sap Beetle (Stelidota geminata)
  • Dusky Sap Beetle (Carpophilus lugubris)
  • Picnic Beetle (Glischrochilus quadrisignatus)
  • Small Hive Beetle (Aethina tumida)
  • Cornsap Beetle (Carpophilus dimidiatus)

Scientific Classification

These beetles are divided into several subfamilies, classified into various genera.

1. Calonecrinae

2. Maynipeplinae

3. Epuraeinae

4. Carpophilinae

  • Carpophilus
  • Epuraea
  • Urophorus

5. Amphicrossinae

6. Meligethinae

  • Meligethes
  • Pria

7. Nitidulinae

  • Amphotis
  • Cychramus
  • Cyllodes
  • Ipidia
  • Nitidula
  • Omosita
  • Physoronia
  • Pocadius
  • Soronia
  • Thalycra
  • Tumida

8. Cillaeinae

  • Cillaeopeplus

9. Cryptarchinae

  • Cryptarcha
  • Glischrochilus
  • Pityophagus

10. Cybocephalinae

  • Cybocephalus
  • Pastillus

11. Prometopinae

  • Prometopia

Unassigned genera

  • Apetinus
  • Conotelus
  • Cyrtostolus
  • Eunitidula
  • Eupetinus
  • Gonioryctus
  • Goniothorax
  • Haptoncus
  • Kateretes
  • Nesapterus
  • Nesopetinus
  • Notopeplus
  • Orthostolus
  • Stelidota
  • Urophorus

Physical Description and Identification


Size: 0.078-0.236 in (0.2-0.6 cm)

Color: Most are dull colored, though some have red or yellow spots or bands on them.

Other Characteristic Features: They have knobbed antennae and oval bodies.


These larvae are cream-colored, with a brown head. They look like worms and are around ¼ inches long.


After 3 weeks, the larva starts to undergo pupation.


They lay eggs near or on decaying or dead plant material or inside fruits of the host plant.

Quick Facts

Lifespan 2-2.5 months
Distribution Europe and Siberia
Habitat Boreal and tropical areas
Seasons active April to May
Host Plants Corn, muskmelons, raspberries, strawberries, and tomatoes
Diet Over-ripe or decomposing fruits as well as the fungus that feeds on them. The adults also feed on tree sap.

Identifying the Damage Caused by Them

These beetles can be a considerable pest to crops in both the larval and adult stages. By laying eggs inside certain fruits, they contaminate them. Some may also damage trees by entering through wounds already present.

Did You Know

  • French zoologist Pierre André Latreille first described this species in 1802.