There are 108 species of tiger beetles in the U.S. and Canada. They are distributed from Alaska to the Texas Gulf Coast and from Maine to Southern California.
These beetles range in size from one-forth to one inch in length. Most are about one-half inch long. Tiger beetles are somewhat elongated and cylindrical in shape. They have long legs and long antennae. Their mandibles are large and well developed. Some species are capable of inflicting a painful bite. Tiger beetles are very active. They can run and fly quite rapidly.
The species vary greatly in color. Some are black and some are brown. Many have iridescent of metallic colors of blue, green, purple or red. Other species are patterned with spots or stripes of black or white.
Female beetles lay their eggs individually in small burrows. When the eggs hatch the larvae enlarge their burrows as they grow. The burrows of some species may reach one foot in depth.
A life cycle is completed in from two to three years.
Both the adults and larvae are predaceous on other insects. They do not harm people, animals or plants. They are considered as beneficial in that they may destroy many insect pests.
Tiger beetles prefer open, sunny, sandy areas. They are found along sandy shorelines, paths, trails and dirt roads. They are common along dry creek beds. Some tiger beetles are attracted to lights and may be found at night, by the hundreds, around lanterns, floodlights, and other light sources.