Beetles are hosts to a remarkable diversity of bacterial symbionts. In this article, we review the role of these partnerships in promoting beetle fitness following a surge of recent studies characterizing symbiont localization and function across the Coleoptera. Symbiont contributions range from the supplementation of essential nutrients and digestive or detoxifying enzymes to the production of bioactive compounds providing defense against natural enemies. Insights on this functional diversity highlight how symbiosis can expand the host's ecological niche, but also constrain its evolutionary potential by promoting specialization. As bacterial localization can differ within and between beetle clades, we discuss how it corresponds to the microbe's beneficial role and outline the molecular and behavioral mechanisms underlying symbiont translocation and transmission by its holometabolous host. In reviewing this literature, we emphasize how the study of symbiosis can inform our understanding of the phenotypic innovations behind the evolutionary success of beetles.