Crop & Pest Report

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Bugs in my Home (05/16/19)

As spring temperatures warm up, homeowners are calling in about insects crawling around on their floors or walls to find out what they are and how to get rid of them.

As spring temperatures warm up, homeowners are calling in about insects crawling around on their floors or walls to find out what they are and how to get rid of them. Most of these insects successfully overwintered in the home and now they are trying to get back outside. The main culprit has been dermestid beetles, such as the larder beetles or carpet beetles. Most dermestids are scavengers and feed on a wide variety of products of both plant and animal origin. Larvae do most of the damage, while adults are thought to feed mainly on flower pollen outdoors.

Larder beetles and carpet beetles mainly eat animal products, such as dried meat or dead insects in lamp fixtures. Both larvae and adults of the larder beetles will also invade stored cereal products, such as dry pet foods or cereal foods. For the carpet beetles, larvae mainly feed on carpet, clothing or furniture (wool fabric).

Pest Management: Sanitation is the best method of control and prevention at present. Keep in mind that these tiny insects can survive on small pieces of food or even crumbs. Therefore, controlling Dermestid beetle pests should include the following steps:

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  • Discard all infested foodstuffs and place all newly purchased food into glass or plastic canister-type containers with tight fitting lids.
  • Thoroughly clean the cupboards and storage containers of all refuse material. Be sure to clean out the cracks along the shelves and top of the cupboard. Scrub out these areas with soap and water, adding a little household disinfectant.
  • Purchase foods in quantities small enough so they may be used up rapidly.
  • Animal or cereal products that sit for a long time are more susceptible to Dermestid infestations.
  • Watch out for “leaky packages” in supermarkets; broken packages are more likely to harbor insect pests.

 

For nonchemical control, heating infested product in an oven at 130°F for thirty minutes or super-cool by placing it in a deep freeze at 0°F for four days.

Janet J. Knodel

Extension Entomologist

This site is supported in part by the Crop Protection and Pest Management Program [grant no. 2017-70006-27144/accession 1013592] from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed are those of the website author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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