Black ground beetles are beneficial insects about 0.5 inches long with distinct, glossy black bodies that feature ridged abdomens and grooved wings. These beetles live in weeds, mulch and moist areas, and they are nocturnal and eat grubs, maggots, aphids, slugs and snails.
Black ground beetles don't fly, but they defend themselves with tough shells and foul-smelling chemicals, and they possess the ability to swiftly overtake prey as well as escape from predators such as toads, birds and small snakes. Eggs are laid in the dirt where the larvae remain for the winter, emerging as adults in the summer. While most adult beetles are shiny black, some are yellow, green, orange or iridescent.