Dried Fruit Beetles
Facts, Identification & Control
Carpophilus hemipterus (L.)
The adult beetle is small (3 mm long). It is an oval, black insect. There are two amber-colored spots on the wing covers. The wing covers are short and leave part of the abdomen exposed. The legs or antennae are often reddish or amber colored.
Behavior, Diet & Habits
The dried fruit beetle, Carpophilus hemipterus (L.), is a stored product pest. It is one of a family called Nitidulidae. They are also called “sap beetles” because of their attraction to plant juices. There are other sap beetles, including the corn sap beetle, the pineapple beetle and the yellow-brown sap beetle.
Dried fruit beetles attack fresh, ripened fruit and dried fruit before it can be packaged and stored. Figs, dates and raisins are frequently attacked. They have also been found in apricots, bananas, peaches, nuts, bread and biscuits. Besides being unsightly, these beetles can contaminate fruit with bacteria and fungal diseases.
The adult beetle deposits eggs on the fruit while it is on the tree or during harvest. When the larvae hatch, they burrow into the fruit. In an 80° environment, the life cycle (from egg to mature adult) takes about 16 days. It is possible for there to be several generations per year.
Signs of a Dried Fruit Beetle Infestation
The adults seen crawling on fruit or nearby are indications of dried fruit beetle activity. The feeding activity of the beetles results in souring of the fruit due to the beetles introducing bacteria and yeast.
Controlling dried fruit beetles begins with an inspection. Check fruit during picking or while selecting it at the store. Discard infested fruit. If fruit is set aside for drying or canning, store it in sealed containers. In the orchard, pick up any fruit that has fallen from the trees. Throw it away to prevent infestation.
Spot treatments of insecticides around doors, windows and areas where beetles might land can help prevent infestations. To avoid contaminating food or food surfaces, it is advisable to call a pest control professional.