Beetle Facts & Information
How To Identify & Control Beetles
AppearanceWhat Do They Look Like?
- Size: Beetles come in many shapes, sizes and colors. Some, like the click beetles, are long and slender. Some beetles like lady beetles and June beetles (also known as June bugs) have an oval or rounded shape. There are even beetles that resemble spiders.
- Characteristics: Beetles have well-developed antennae and chewing mouthparts.
- Wings: Beetles have shell-like front wings known as elytra. These front wings are often very hard and appear more like a shell than wings. The beetle folds the front wings so they cover the back wings. They are durable and waterproof, serving as protection against damage and dehydration. Most adults seem to have a line down their back where the two front wings meet. Beetles are often poor fliers.
How Did I Get Beetles?
Different materials attract specific types of beetles into homes and yards. Many species seek out stored grains and packaged foods, while others feed on garden plants, wood, or fabric. Homeowners may accidentally bring the pests into the house along with infested products.
The search for shelter may also bring beetles indoors. Some of these pests overwinter in homes to avoid cold weather. They may enter the house through cracks in the foundation or gaps around door and window frames. These pests can get inside by hiding in:
- Firewood and lumber
- Potted plants
How Serious Are Beetles?Types of Problem Beetles
There are three basic groups that may require treatment inside our homes and businesses:
- Fabric-infesting beetles
- Food product beetles
- Wood-destroying beetles
Beetles are a nuisance because of their ability to damage stored food and property. The pests can damage:
- Packaged goods
How Do I Get Rid of Beetles?Habitat Reduction & Non-Chemical Treatments
- Some beetles can simply be removed by using a vacuum or other means of physical removal. Your PMP can provide advice on which of the beetles can be effectively controlled in this manner.
- Inspect foodstuff, fabrics and wooden items prior to bringing them into the home or business to help prevent some problems. Also, moisture control works to help prevent beetle infestations. If an infestation is found, replace and discard infested foodstuffs, fabrics or wooden items.
- Several types of beetles are attracted to lights inside a home or business. Efforts to reduce the attractiveness of lights and sealing entrances into a structure are helpful in preventing problems.
- Good sanitation practices and removing foods that support beetle development and reproduction can be accomplished with a vacuum or another form of mechanical removal.
- Use the “first-in, first-out” concept to help control both food and wood-destroying beetles. Avoid accumulating old fabrics by regularly cleaning out closets to prevent or lessen the possibility of fabric beetle infestation.
While the specific treatment procedures and methods may vary based on the specific diet and habitat of the pest beetle, the components of an effective and efficient treatment closely follow those of a comprehensive integrated pest management (IPM) program.
- Inspection & Treatment Plan: When beetles become a pest problem, your pest management professional (PMP) will provide a thorough inspection to accurately identify the pest beetle. Based on the findings, your PMP will develop an effective treatment plan to resolve the problems specific to your home. Accurate identification is critical, so that the right methods are applied. Otherwise, a wrong ID can result in a plan that does not work.
- Customer Education: Education that explains the life cycle and an explanation of why control efforts cannot be directed only where adult beetles are found will be provided. Therefore, the treatment plan will include targeting areas where the immature stages live and taking action so that they do not become adults. Your PMP will help recognize damage and the signs and kinds of fabric, wood or foodstuffs that beetles infest. Also, customer education will target the use of re-infestation prevention methods once the pest problem is resolved.
- Plan Execution & Monitoring: The treatment plan may include using pheromone-based traps that are useful for determining insect development sites and population sizes. Depending on the situation, your PMP may also use insect growth regulators. They will use products as a last resort and only when the non-chemical procedures are not sufficient to get rid of the problems. If products are needed, they will be used in accordance with the product’s approved label and use directions.
Orkin can provide the right solution to keep beetles in their place…out of your home, or business.
Behavior, Diet & Habits
Beetles belong to the insect order Coleoptera. This is the largest order of insects. There are more than a quarter million beetle species in the world. In North America alone, scientists have identified more than 25,000 species.Development
Beetles develop in a complete metamorphosis four-stage life cycle (egg, larva, pupa, and adult). The length of the life cycle also varies according to the type. Some develop very quickly and they can produce more than one generation each year. Others, like some of the wood-boring beetles can take several years to decades to develop from egg to adult. The length of the life cycle also depends on the amount of food that is available for the larvae to eat as well as environmental conditions.What Do Beetles Eat?
They feed on plants, small insects and animal fibers, depending on species. A few beetles are considered pests in gardens and crops, although some species may benefit humans by killing harmful insects. Adults often deposit their eggs near the food that the larvae will eat when they hatch.Problem Behaviors Carpet beetle larvae eat natural fibers and feathers. They often damage woolens and other fabrics. Others, like powderpost beetles, feed on hardwoods and bamboo. These pests attack furniture and other items made of wood.
Some, like the flour beetles and the grain beetles, attack food products in homes. They also damage food in production facilities and stores. Some damage lawns and landscapes. Immature June beetles, called grubs, attack the roots of grass. The elm leaf beetle damages trees by eating the leaves.Beneficial Beetles
Many beetles are beneficial insects. The lady beetle (often called ladybug) feeds on plant pests like aphids and mealybugs. Gardeners appreciate these insects and try to keep them in the garden.
Sometimes lady beetles can become nuisances. In the late summer and fall, homeowners can find hundreds clustered on the outside of homes. They are trying to invade homes for shelter through the winter or are looking to escape inclement conditions.