Sun Beetle

The Sun Beetle, or Pachnoda marginata peregrina, is the most common pet beetle there is. This is mainly because their developmental time is short, rearing is easy and the adults have a nice bright yellow color.

Adult sun beetle – Pachnoda peregrina marginata

Appearance of the Sun Beetle

Sun beetles are medium-sized beetles that live in tropical Africa. They have a yellow with brownish-black front wings that can be seen on its back. Their body is shiny black. This species reaches a size of around 1 inch (2,5 cm) . The grubs are white-yellow with a brown head. They are born as tiny white larvae, but when fully grown they can be as thick as your pinky / little finger and around 4 cm long.

Lifecycle of the Sun Beetle

The eggs and grubs of the Sun Beetle can be found inside the ground. The grubs stay underground eat rotten fruit and decomposing leaves. The adult beetles eat fruit.
From egg to beetle takes about 3 to 5 months depending on temperature. The beetle will live for 2 to 5 months.

Adult sun beetle – Pachnoda peregrina marginata

Housing your Sun Beetles

The adult beetles can be housed in a tank of about 20 x 30 x 30 cm. At the bottom of the tank you need to place a thick layer of earth, about 10 cm thick. In this soil the beetles can lay their eggs. The tank can be decorated by fake plants and twigs. A piece of bark or wood on top of the soil can give them a humid hiding place.
The larvae can live in a plastic box or terrarium of roughly 1 liter of soil for every larva. Make the layer of soil around 10 cm thick. Through this soil you can mix leaves of deciduous trees, pieces of moldy wood,  a little bit of fruit and dry cat food. Make it a bit damp, but not too wet.

Temperature and humidity

The Sun Beetle larvae need a temperature of 20 to 28 °C to develop properly. Mainting a temperature of around 25 °C will make them develop the best. You need to heat the enclosure of the adult beetles with a light bulb. The temperature under the light bulb should be around 30 to 35 °C while the rest of the enclosure should be around 20 °C.
Keep the soil in the terrarium moist, but not wet. The soil should look and feel like a newly opened bag of gardening soil. The top layer can be allowed to dry at bit as long as the rest of the soil is damp.

Food for grubs and adult Sun Beetles

Larvae of the Sun Beetle eat ripe or rotting fruit, leaves of deciduous trees and rotting wood. They also like moistened dry cat food. When feeding fruit, make sure you do not overfeed the larvae as the leftover pieces can become smelly. Make sure that there is always some leaf litter or rotting wood inside the soil with the larvae.
The adult beetles eat fruit. You can give them any type of fruit, e.g. apple, banana, orange, mango, kiwi or strawberry but try to vary the type so the beetles need not to eat the same type every day. This could cause nutritional deficiencies. You can also feed them with Beetle Jelly that can be bought in some specialist stores.

Adult sun beetle – Pachnoda peregrina marginata

Breeding Sun Beetles

Breeding Sun Beetles is easy. If you supply a pair of adult beetles with the conditions described in this caresheet, they will breed without any additional help. You can rear the larvae in a separate container from the adults or just leave them in the soil of the terrarium the adults also live.