All About Beetles

All the beetle information you need in one handy spot.

Beetle Facts & Information

There are many different kinds of house beetles in the Mid-Atlantic area. Some are harmless and more of a nuisance than a real threat. Some, like powderpost beetles, can actually threaten the strength and integrity of wood structures. And others like confused flour beetles can do some serious damage in your pantry. Knowing which kind of beetle you have is pretty important since the response – and even if you WANT to respond – to each species varies. Unfortunately, identification can be difficult. Some beetles can be as tiny as 1/10 of an inch long. Unless you’ve got your magnifying glass in your back pocket, you can easily confuse one for another.

That’s when a professional entomologist really shines! They can differentiate the chevron pattern on a tiny carpet beetle from the flat brown color of a sawtoothed grain beetle. They can even identify the larva from the grains of rice they resemble! And finally, they can give you a trusted solution to getting rid of beetles in your home.

How Do I Get Rid of Beetles

Some beetles can seem like just a nuisance but depending on the kind of beetle you have, they can also be destructive. No matter what kind it is, you want to get rid of them. Some beetle larvae like to feed on debris in the carpet, including dead skin, dead insects, and hair (both human and pet). Vacuuming regularly will mean there is less for those beetles to feed on. You will also vacuum up larvae and eggs which is an added bonus! Some beetles area attracted to moisture and mold, so proper sanitation and cleaning routines will help keep those at bay.

If you do get beetles in your home, you can prevent them from growing. Monitor and inspect all possible food sources and discard any infected products. Take everything out of the pantry and do a deep clean. Thoroughly vacuum cabinets, shelving, and crevices to make sure you don’t miss any beetles. Use stored foods with earlier expiration dates first (first in first out!). Don’t mix older food products with newer ones. If you do purchase something infested with any kind of beetle, make sure to report it to wherever you bought it and avoid that brand going forward. Good sanitation practices and keeping dried foods in sealed, air-tight containers will help keep a beetle infestation from growing, but keeping them out entirely is not an easy task.

Are beetles dangerous?

Beetles don’t attack people, don’t suck blood, and don’t give people diseases. A few species can bite but do not cause serious injury. Mostly they are a nuisance to have around, but some can wreak havoc on a pantry!

What are beetles attracted to?

When inside, beetles will mainly feed on items that contain animal protein like feathers, furs, silk, wool, and carpets. The food, oil, and perspiration on these items are what they are most attracted to. Some beetles eat grain based food or dried dairy products.

What are the signs of carpet beetles?

If you see thin, bare areas on wool or wool-blend rugs or damage to clothes and blankets, those could be signs of a carpet beetle infestation. Other signs include hairs falling out of furs, shed larval skins, small dark fecal pellets, and of course tiny beetles either slowly climbing walls or found dead at windowsills.

Can beetles survive the winter?

Even when not in your home, beetles can survive the winters through a process called diapause, an inactive state of arrested development. This process is unique to insects, but similar to the hibernation process that many mammals go through.

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