Beetles are a group of insects that form the order Coleoptera. The diversity of these insects is very wide-ranging. They are found in almost all types of habitats, but are not known to occur in the sea or in the polar regions. They interact with their ecosystems in several ways. They often feed on plants and fungi, break down animal and plant debris, and eat other invertebrates. Some species are prey of various animals including birds and mammals.
In the world you can find over a quarter of a million species of beetles, and in North America alone you can find over 25.000 species. So should an infestation occur, it’s very important to figure out which type is the one causing trouble in your home, as sometimes people mistake cockroaches for beetles.
Although several species are appreciated around the house and garden, as they feed on other insects, some species can become destructive pests. Carpet beetle larvae eat natural fibers and feathers. They often damage woolens and other fabrics. Other beetles, like powderpost beetles, feed on hardwoods and bamboo. These pests attack furniture and other items made of wood. The flour beetles and the grain beetles, attack food products in homes, stores or production facilities. Also, the lady beetle and the ground beetle usually invade homes come winter time, as they are looking for warmer living conditions.
A type of beetle that gravely affects agriculture is the Colorado potato beetle. Not only it can decimate crops of potatoes, but also tomatoes and eggplants, but it has also developed a high resistance to all major insecticide classes, although not every population is resistant to every chemical.
Whether you want to protect your home or garden from a Japanese beetle, carpet beetle or a wood beetle, prevention is key with these pests, so be sure to take the necessary steps to ensure that they won’t end up in your yard or house.
Prevent infestation in your home
Vacuum carpets and rugs thoroughly and frequently to remove any eggs and larvae before damage can occur. Also vacuum upholstered furniture, including cushions and pillows. Throw them away at any sign of infection. Also, should you have pets, remove the pet hair from inside the house, as it can be a food source for beetle larvae.
Clean clothing and other textile items such as linen and bedding before storing them in tight-fitting containers or boxes that have been carefully and thoroughly sealed. Also keep storage areas clean of dust, dirt, and cobwebs and make sure you also remove any food spills from inside the house as those areas can also become a good breeding place for the carper beetle. By not giving it a proper opportunity to eat or mate, you will prevent its infestation of your home.
Should you buy second-hand textiles, check them thoroughly, as carpet beetles can easily travel from one home to another hidden inside clothing, quilts, rugs, and other similar items.
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.
The furniture beetle infests both seasoned hardwoods and softwoods that are generally 10 years or older. The presence of the common furniture beetle is recognised by small, 1/8-inch diameter holes that are surrounded by fine powder-like “sawdust”. It attacks hardwoods such as oak and chestnut, always where some fungal decay has taken or is taking place. The actual introduction of the pest into buildings is thought to take place at the time of construction. While the common furniture beetle frequently infests wood furniture, it may also infest damp wood in crawl spaces, flooring, wood siding and other moist areas of the home.
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 also helpful in preventing beetle problems.
Prevent infestation in your garden
You can attract the natural predators of the beetles, like bats, owls, crows, sparrows, moles and hedgehogs. However, attracting other predators is never the best idea, as they also need to be contained.
The soil in you garden should be loose and well watered regularly.
Also, cover your plants with a floating row cover. These covers allow sunlight, air, and water in, but keep beetles out. The plants need to be covered during the period of time when the beetles fly, for them not to be able to transform the plants in your garden in their food source, as they will then remain in the new home they have found.
Should you wish, you can plant dandelions, because they are the favorite food of beetles. If they have enough dandelions, they will ignore any other plants. However, you can also use garlic in boiled water to repel the beetles, by spraying it around the garden.
Japanese beetles are attracted to overripe and rotting plants. To avoid luring them in, harvest your plants regularly and try to keep them healthy. This will prevent a possible infestation with beetles in your garden.
If none of the previous steps managed to help you prevent a infestation, keep in mind that before applying any type of treatment against them, you must first establish the type or species, to be able to properly prepare the necessary pest control treatment for getting rid of beetles.