Latin Name Coleoptera
Description Beetles are found all over the world. They range from quite small to well over a few inches long. They come in a variety of colors and widths, and can have different types of external ornamentation, such as “horns” as in the case of the Rhinoceros Beetle. Beetles have a hard exoskeleton and forewings. Their exoskeleton is made up of plates, separated by sutures, meaning that they have a very defensive body while at the same time being quick and mobile, unlike a tortoise. There are many species of beetle that can be considered pests to humans.
Beetles are considered pests to humans because the majority of them are phtyophagus, meaning that they feed primarily on plant matter. They can be quite destructive to agricultural crops, as in the case of the boil weevil, which feeds on cotton plants. Other species, such as the elm leaf beetle, can spread pathogens among healthy timber crops through their feeding methods. Despite extensive attempts to exterminate pest species of beetles, some, such as the potato beetle, have developed resistance to the pesticides typically used for extermination. There are even species that are a threat to human habitations, such a the death watch beetle, which can undermine older homes as it attacks hardwoods in the structure.
What to Know Because of the diverse nature and social habits of beetles, the first step to extermination is to identify the type of beetle. Some agricultural pest beetles eat by using their chewing mouth-parts to cut away that the structure of the leaf, stem or bark of the plant that they infest. In the case of beetles like weevils, those mouth parts have been modified to use as a sucking instrument with a sharp tip. In the case of infestations of beetles in the home, beetles are primarily attracted to easily accessible food or moisture and can be found near or in those sources.
Beetles flourish in a variety of different environments, mainly due to the durability of their body-type. They can be found in almost every part of the planet. They are the largest order of insects, and many of those species are found in human habitation. Beetles can be found in the home if there is easy access to food and moisture, structural weakness or unprotected plant life and can survive in a variety of climates, from the New Mexico desert to the cold tundra of Michigan.
Signs of Infestation There are two major types of infestation: agricultural and domestic. Agricultural infestations are those beetles that feed on plants, either in a farming setting or in a private setting. The main signs of infestation in this case is physical marks on the plant. Most beetle species are large enough to be spotted by the naked eye, so their feeding patterns are evident on examination, even to someone not trained in extermination practices. The most common feeding pattern is that of missing leaf portions, discoloration and wilting due to nutrients being removed from the plant.
Domestic beetle infestations can be spotted by signs of destruction and by the sight of the insect itself. These infestations may be detrimental to food stores in the house when beetles invade things such as flour, cereals and fruit. Larvae can be found in dried goods if the infestation has progressed far enough. More rarely, beetles can cause structural damage to homes, such as in the case of the deathwatch beetle, which infest older houses, primarily those that are already suffering from fungal infestations.
Treatment and Prevention Beetle infestations are as varied in their treatment as the species of beetles themselves. It takes an expert exterminator to correctly treat all but the most common beetle infestations. As with many pests inside the home, the best way to prevent infestation is to secure the food and moisture within a home.
If you suspect you may have a beetle infestation contact a pest professional right away.