These are small insects the size of mouse poop. They have a hard cylinder shaped body and appear as brown, black or dark red in color.
The bark beetles population can translate into the billions as there are 2000 plus species. With such a massive number of species, their populations can rise exponentially because they are able to survive through mild winters. Now that summers are starting earlier than usual, it is not surprising that bark beetles are able to breed two generations in one summer further pushing up their numbers. This insect lives and feed on trees. This has caused tree mortality to shoot up to the tune of 40 plus million acres. That is alarming for trees and entire ecosystems.
The female bark beetle targets trees that are frail or dying, after landing on one, she will hail other bark beetles by emitting a pheromone signal which they can follow with ease.
These will fly to her in their hundreds. They will bore through the bark all along releasing fungi that turns the trees’ matter into sustenance for her brood. When they get to the phloem, a resinous layer that separates the sap wood that transports nutrients within the tree from the outer bark, they will lay their eggs in tunnels. These eggs will spawn a new beetle generation which might stay in the same tree or fly out and infest nearby trees. Bark beetles act as a culling agent for the old, weak and sick trees.
Signs of Bark beetle infestation
Trees fight off a bark beetle invasion by unleashing a sticky resin that flushes them out. The resin also plugs the holes leaving small extensions of white or brownish plugs on the outside of the bark.
If this resin plugs are white then the tree has been able to block the bark beetle successfully. Brown plugs means the beetle in all likelihood has been able to bore its way into the tree.
When the resin washes out of the beetle holes, it pushes frass before it , a dust like substance that beetles create as they drill their way into the tree.
If you see Frass collected at the base of the tree and around the roots, it very like that that tree is infested with bark beetles. You may not be able to see them by just looking at the tree. However, when you pry away parts of the bark, and drill tunnels are revealed, you are likely to see dead bark beetles and rotten inner bark. That is a sure sign that the tree is infested and most likely the other trees in the vicinity.
The needles of pine trees will turn a brownish color starting from the top and in some trees the leaves will turn a dull green followed by yellowing and end up becoming reddish brown.
Prevention of Bark beetle infestation
Trees around our homes make us feel good with the scents they emit and make our days brighter with their flowers and colors. These trees could use a little help to keep them safe from the menacing bark beetles.
Where the bark beetle is concerned, taking a proactive approach is the best strategy. Get a professional arborist and work with them to make a plant health care plan. This should include watering, mulching and fertilizing. It is such proactive measures that ensure the trees are healthy and less susceptible to damage. Insecticide can be applied proactively by a professional pest control officer to stop beetles before any infestation.
If your tree is infested with the bark beetle, the best option is to have it removed by a professional before it spreads to the other trees.
The bombardier beetle inhabits North America, Europe, Australia, Africa and South America. These species number over five hundred altogether. Their habitat is mainly grasslands and woodlands with enough ground cover to hide under. The over forty species found in the United States have blue wing coverings and a reddish head with the same hue extending to their legs. The beetles are quite small in size just over half an inch.
Smell plays a crucial role in locating a partner. The ensuing courtship between male and female bombardier beetles is an intricate ritual involves sensory and visual methods. Beetles pair for a short time and once they pair, sperm cells are transmitted to the female for egg fertilization.
The life cycle of the bombardier beetle undergoes a full metamorphosis. It has four stages of development. The female will lay her eggs in moist areas including decaying animal carcasses, underground and rotting plant matter where they would be safe from predators, but not far from a source of food.
After a few days beetle larvae will hatch from the eggs and will tend have a huge appetite. As they start to grow, they molt shedding their exoskeleton to create more room. By the time the larvae have entered the pupal stage they will have molted ten times.
The larva will kick off the pupal stage by weaving a cocoon around itself then lay dormant. This is when the greatest change takes place as the larva starts to take the form of an adult beetle. Once it achieves adulthood it exits the cocoon a fully mature beetle and another life cycle begins anew.
During metamorphosis beetles and their larvae use a number of ways to prevent attacks by predators. These constitute of camouflage, mimicry and active defense as well as toxic emissions. Camouflage is the use of shape and color to merge with the surrounding environment. Mimicry is when an organism shares outward resemblance with another.
Birds prey on the beetles and their larvae. Some birds grab the adult beetles mid flight while some forage for them on the ground where they take cover. These bettles have a life span of about three years and their diet mostly consists of small insects.
The Bombardier beetles violent chemical reaction they deploy as a defense is unique in the insect world. There are two glands located at the back of the abdomen which are separated from each other. When the bombardier beetle deploys the weapon, catalysts from one gland mix with the combined chemicals from its neighboring gland in a compartment next to the opening. This has a nozzle that unleashes the chemical against intruders. A caustic chemical mist of quinones is the resultant reaction. This reaction produces a lot of heat instantly and the mist is ejected out of the nozzle at a temperature of 100 degrees Celsius due to the catalysts that accelerate the reaction.
Any attacking predator gets a facefull of boiling hot chemicals over and over as the bombardier beetle can fire twenty times before running out of juice, literally. It can point the nozzle in any direction to deliver the spray with great precision.
Among our common garden insects, we find the blister-beetle family. They are remarkable because of the greater number of changes that they go through during their life compared to the usual metamorphosis of most beetles. Do beetles bite?
Blister beetles are known to have narrow thoraxes, broad heads, slender-legged insects and soft-bodied, usually medium to large in size. They rarely bite humans, but a sure pest to gardens and fields.
They vary in colors from gray, black or brown to bright metallic shades of red, blue, green or yellow. All of them are vegetable feeders in the adult stage, their food consisting of the leaves, flower petals, or pollen of various species of plants.
Our most common and destructive species in the East, belonging to the genus Epicauta, does considerable damage in our gardens.
A yellow and black-striped form is known as the “old-fashioned potato beetle.” The “margined blister beetle,” is also known to attack potatoes, and completely defoliates the plants in certain areas.
They also feed on the foliage of beets, tomatoes, and especially clematis. This species is grayish-black in color, always with the margins of the wing covers gray, measuring about ⅝ of an inch in length. One of our most common species is the black blister beetle that occurs very commonly on goldenrod.
But, all this has nothing to do with the name “blister beetle,” which was given to it on account of its peculiar physiological properties. A substance called “cantharidin” is found to a greater or less extent in the bodies of nearly all members of the family.
This substance, when applied to the skin, causes an inflammatory, or blistering effect. To utilize this property the beetles are dried and pulverized, and the powder thus obtained is made use of in medicine.
The beetles in general use for this purpose come from Spain and other European countries, and are known under the name of “Spanish fly.” Returning to the remarkable life history, we find that the adult females deposit large numbers of eggs on the ground or on plants, depending on the species of blister beetles concerned.
These eggs hatch into very long-legged larvae that run about in search of food. Some of these active youngsters find the eggs of grasshoppers upon which they feed.
According to statistics, however, even this habit is of questionable value, as they also destroy other more valuable parasites of the grasshopper eggs.
Other species of these slender-legged blister beetle larva find an occasion where they seek out bees.
When the right one comes along, they attach themselves to the hairy body and are carried home by the unsuspecting bee to her nest. Here the young blister beetle after stealing the ride makes itself at home in the bee’s nest and proceeds to devour the bee eggs and larvae.
Finally, the accumulated stores that were provided for the young bees. During this time the blister beetle has completed its own complicated life cycle, has transformed completely, and instead of the bee, an adult beetle will emerge.
Powderpost beetles can also cause damage to wooden structures. Fortunately, your average home inspector’s termite inspection will also cover powderpost beetles, as well as other wood-destroying insects (just double-check with your home inspector first). A good outside bug repellent for powderpost beetles can get you through outdoors.
Powderpost Beetles: What Exactly Are These?
Powderpost beetle is the name applied to several different species of small, wood-boring insects. They’re normally a reddish-brown to a black color and are approximately less than 1/4-inch in length.
The name derives from the fact that these insects reduce the wood they have been feeding upon, usually a hardwood of some sort, to a fine, flour-like powder.
Adult powderpost beetles lay eggs on or below the surface of unfinished wood. Once the eggs hatch, they become tiny larvae and subsequently bore into the wood where they can remain for 1-5 years before emerging as adults, usually during April-July.
The damage caused to the wood actually comes from the larvae (sometimes referred to as “woodworms”) as they create tunnels through the structure. Thus, there can be up to 5 year’s worth of damage in one structure due to these larvae.
Home inspectors can identify infested areas by locating the exit holes (also known as “shotholes”) where the adult beetles have chewed their way out. These holes are usually the size of a pin. Inspectors will likely see the beetles’ damage before they see the beetles because adults are usually short-lived and are active primarily at nighttime.
Therefore, the powdery substance and the presence of these small holes goes a long way in locating any such infestations.
Powderpost beetles predominately enter homes in lumber or finished wood products, such as flooring, furniture, paneling, joists, antiques, etc.
It’s believed that most of the more severe infestations arise from the usage of old lumber from a barn or pile of wood lying around one’s property that’s then used inside the home.
Also, it’s strongly advised that you avoid doing this. Keep in mind that improperly stored or dried lumber shouldn’t be used as is. If you must, however, visually inspect the wood for any of the shotholes noted above (if it helps, search the Internet for images to get a better idea of what you’re looking for).
Luckily for homeowners, powderpost beetles have some limits of their own. It turns out that these beetles will only lay their eggs on bare, unfinished wood.
Any wood that has been painted, treated, preserved/sealed, varnished, or waxed will likely be protected from infestation (so long as no unfinished portion is exposed).
That being said, if you notice beetles emerging from any type of wood just described, it may be that the beetles entered the structure prior to its finish. If this is the case, the adults that have emerged can actually lay eggs into the tunnels they bore out themselves.
Should this occur, make sure you seal any holes and apply a finishing coat of some sort. That should hopefully prevent a reinfestation.
Skin beetles are known all over the world for infesting homes, kitchens, slaughterhouses, and businesses.
There are more than 500 species of skin beetles in the Dermestidae family. These bugs are referred to as larder, hide, leather and most commonly known as carpet beetles.
Most range in size from 1 to 12 millimeters. Most skin beetles tend to have a round shape with oval brownish scales. Typically, skin beetles feed on feathers, dead skin, dandruff, pollen, animal hair, dead insects, and other natural fibers.
Skin beetles are also found living in dead animals’ carcasses as well as nests formerly inhabited by birds, bees, and wasps.
Problems for Humans and Animals
Although carpet beetles do not bite animals and living humans, they can cause a great deal of damage to fabrics and other natural fibers within a home or business setting.
Some species can also consume grain, and thus contaminate foods used for animals and humans. Not only do carpet beetles live in carcasses, but they can also bring a number of problems in the kitchen and slaughterhouses and kitchens where meat is processed.
While modern hygienic approaches are supposed to prevent the presence of these beetles on farms, you may still find that infestations happen from time to time.
Needless to say, the pesticides most likely used in commercial applications may also cause problems if they get onto the meat, and into the food supply.
For the most part, keeping your home free of decaying animal matter is the best way to avoid an infestation of skin beetles.
This includes making sure that your kitchen waste is removed on a daily basis, as well as making sure that food is not left out in other rooms.
In many cases, skin beetles will get into your home after taking up residence in wasp, bird, and bee nests. Once you find these items located around your home, it may be best to discard them immediately.
While you may not want to bees’ and birds’ nests, you can still try to move them to a place where they will not cause your home to become infested with skin beetles.
Many people that have a penchant for eating rare meat may not fully realize that they are this kind of meat sometimes have eggs from skin beetles. While these eggs may not pose harm to human health, the meat itself may show symptoms of beetle infestation if left exposed.
Depending on the species of beetle, a single female can lay anywhere from 100 to 800 eggs during her lifetime.
Throwing uncooked fat and gristle from uncooked meat into the trash guarantees an infestation of skin beetles and it doesn’t take long for that to happen.
Aside from cooking all meat, eggs, and dairy products thoroughly, you may want to consider a vegan diet in order to avoid exposure to these noxious parasites as much as possible.
Even though there are many different insects that will eat paper, book beetle, usually refer to Anobium punctatum (common furniture beetle) and Xestobium rufovillosum (deathwatch beetle).
Common furniture beetles tend to have black head and dark brown striated bodies. These beetles tend to be 3 – 4.5 millimeters long. By contrast, the deathwatch beetle has a black body with goldish marketings throughout. Adult beetles tend to be approximately 7 millimeters long.
They are known worldwide for making a “ticking” sound in the rafters that is said to be the harbinger of imminent death in the infested household. The larvae of both species tend to feed on paper books, while the adults will bore directly into wood.
Problems for Humans and Animals
Typically, booklice will not bite humans or other animals. They are also not known for acting as hosts for parasites that pose a problem to public health.
Unfortunately, they can easily spread to your collection if you buy used books, or obtain new books from an infested store.
Before purchasing books, you should examine the spines and pages carefully for signs of booklice. This includes holes in the pages or signs of scratch marks on the spine. Even if you do not see insects actively burrowing in the pages, there may still be eggs present that will hatch at some point in the future.
There are only two main ways to get rid of booklice. First, you can wrap the infested book up in plastic, and put it in the freezer for at least 3 days. After you remove the book from the freezer, you will need to let it dry out for several weeks.
At this stage, you should also remove any dead insects that you might find caught between the pages of the book.
Depending on the size of your collection and the degree of the infestation, you may want to contact a specialist in pest removal. They will most likely use various gaseous pesticides to rid your home of booklice. That said, you should be aware that these treatments can pose a hazard to your health and that of others in the household.
Since bookworms tend to favor wood that has been attacked by fungal infections, you will usually need to replace these structures in order to get rid of the worms.
Today, there are also special varnishes and other treatments that will retard fungal growth as well as inhibit bookworms. Even though you may need to refinish wooden decks and other areas every few years, it is well worth the time and effort.
Needless to say, if you are planning to buy used furniture, you should examine all wooden areas carefully to make sure you do not bring bookworms into your home. At the same time, if you are planning to buy new furniture, you may want to ask the store clerk about items that have been treated with stains or other chemicals that will inhibit both fungal infections and bookworms.
The Varied Carpet Beetle bed bugs are a tiny little insect that can wreak havoc in your home or apartment because they feed on virtually anything you can find. The following article provides you with information on this common household pest.
The carpet beetle relies on natural fibers for nourishment and can damage anything of natural origin such as clothing, furniture, woolen carpets, etc.
They can also cause problems for human beings as when they become embedded in human skin they can cause a reaction similar to a flea or bed bug bite. When inspecting your home for possible infestation of biting insects, pest control experts also need to be looking for larval casts of the carpet beetle.
The varied carpet beetle’s life cycle is very uncommon. Larvae to adult development take about 1-3 years, depending on the kind of environment it is in.
In the springtime, larvae hatch from eggs. They’re also linked with birds’ nests or around stored natural fabrics. For sustenance, they feed on natural fibers throughout their development, eventually experiencing a diapause before pupation and emerging as an adult.
Adults emerge between late March and early August and rely on pollen to survive.
When dealing with these pests, it is important to check for the presence of birds’ nesting material and remove any nests and feathers, etc from the affected area before treatment.
Discovering carpet beetles in your home can be a difficult task at times, but it can be done nonetheless. Often times you will see them crawling about in spaces where they are feeding or nesting. In most cases, you can’t see them until they are full-grown so getting rid of them can be a challenging task.
One of the first things that you can do to get rid of carpet beetles is thoroughly clean your home including your carpet, curtains, and other household areas. Carpet is the crucial item that needs to be cleaned because they will often times us it as their home.
If you have pets in your home, you’ll want to clean up after them as best as possible as well. These insects feed on pet hair and other debris which is why it is so important to constantly vacuum pet hair.
You can also use a number of bug sprays to eliminate carpet beetles from your home. The tricky part about doing so is that you have to thoroughly spray your carpet to ensure that you attack all areas. This will involve separating the carpet from the sides where it is attached to get underneath the carpet edges.
Since there may be larvae present where the small insects breed, the application of the spray may have to be done multiple times on a regular basis until all larvae and beetles have been killed.
Getting rid of carpet beetles can be a frustrating and time-consuming process to endure, but it needs to be done in order to keep your home as clean and sanitary as possible.
Carpet beetle bites
Carpet beetles are attracted by animal based products in your home and they may even find their way into your bed which can be a terrible irritant. But here is the thing: you don’t need to worry about the adult carpet beetle as these have no appetite for you natural fabric or nor will they bite you. The larvae on the other hand are a menace.
The larvae feed on fabrics and they have small bristles on the skin that prick you and can cause an allergic reaction when they come in contact with your skin. Most people mistake this reaction for a bite (especially a bed bug bite) but it’s actually just a reaction to the bristles. Apart from giving you a severe itch and allergic reaction in some people these larvae can cause damage to your fabrics like natural cottons, leather, silks, furs, wools and hair or lint in the house.
How to treat a carpet beetle rash
These little creatures can come in contact with your skin and causing a rash that looks like welts and like we said they may even be mistaken for bed bug bites. The rash has a burning sensation and may be accompanied with a severe itch. More pronounced allergic reactions to the carpet beetle can result in red and teary eyes which can also be itchy. Carpet beetles can also cause a runny nose, hives and in some people gastrointestinal issues.
If you come in contact with a carpet beetle you should clean the area with warm water and then apply a hydrocortisone cream to stop the itching and swelling. If the reaction is severe seek a doctor’s help.
How to get rid of carpet beetles
Carpet beetles are attracted to warmth and light and these are present in the home. Once they are inside they will find a hiding place in the carpet. They are attracted to the sweat odor on clothes so make sure to keep the clothes clean and well aired in the closet. Also consider having airtight containers where you place clothes that are not frequently used. For example, store your winter clothes in airtight containers over summer and vice versa for summer clothes.
For items that you clean with water makes that you use insecticide to kill off any carpet beetle larvae and air before you return it into the house. Make sure the larvae are dead.
Finally, vacuum the floors and carpets and rugs should be taken to professionals for a deep clean. Check heating vents for any carpet beetles and larvae and vacuum those areas as well.
A carpet beetle is usually a pest you have to worry about outside the home, but on occasion, an inside infestation can occur. They like to lay their eggs in carpets and other fabrics.
Once you have larvae in the home they can be quite damaging and it is best to get rid of them.
The carpet beetle larvae will create holes in the fabric and will invade any animal product, like leather or food.
The first sign that you may have a problem is that the adults will try to get back outside once they lay their eggs, so you will often see them at windows and other areas that access the outside. At that point, you need to find where they are laying their eggs and how the larvae are feeding to get rid of them.
Once you find these areas you should:
- Vacuum frequently (be sure to do all areas with carpet and fabrics, including furniture and drapes)
- Eliminate any piles of clothes or other materials that larvae could feed on
- Remove bee or birds nest around your home (these are hot spots for laying eggs)
- Use an insect spray and spray around the floorboards and furniture
When you do these things you will be removing new eggs, removing larvae, preventing the carpet beetles from having anywhere to lay their eggs and removing food sources. At this point, there will be no reason for them to want to be inside.
Fortunately, these are not too difficult to control. You will have a hard time keeping them out once they start coming in, but getting rid of them is not too hard.
As long as you do a good cleaning of carpets, furniture, rugs, and drapes then you should be able to get rid of them. If you seem to have a persistent issue with carpet beetles, just use an insect spray and this should do the trick.
Consider washing your fabrics. Use hot water to clean them. Stuff, such as towels and linens should be washed in a washing machine containing hot water.
For very bad infestation, consider steam cleaning all your carpets as well as upholstered furniture. You may know that carpet beetles tend to be resilient. So, using hot water is better than using cold water.
Lastly, if you do find the specific area where the carpet beetles are getting in then you can simply close it up so they can no longer get in.
Be aware, though, that most will enter from the attic area or in some area where they can easily get inside.
You may not find the actual entrance, but as mentioned, if you do everything to get rid of them then you will be eliminating the perfect environment for them to live and they will not be interested anymore in coming inside.
Blister beetles are an interesting bunch of beetles. There are about 300 species in the US primarily found in the Southwest, and they vary in color from brown, black, to gray, and may have yellow, reddish orange, black, or white stripes or spots. They’re about an inch to an inch and a half in length, have elongated, pliable bodies, long legs, compound eyes, a bowed head, and a distinctivethread-like antenna.
The master blister beetle, or Lytta magister, is a mix of deep black and bright red orange in color. You may find these beetles by the swarm in Phoenix during springtime, dangling from flowering brittlebushes.
When threatened, these beetles pop a blood vessel on their leg joints which secretes a bad smelling, yellowish substance that contains cantharidin, a burn agent (or a poison in large doses) that is colorless and odorless. When in contact with human skin, it causes painful blisters, hence why the beetle is called a blister beetle. It’s this same secretion that deters birds and mice to feed on these beetles, and leaves them to propagate their species in peace.
A male beetle courts a female by climbing on her back and sweeping his antennae across her head. If the male beetle is smaller than the female beetle, she refuses. When they do mate, they can stay attached to each other for hours, with some couples being observed to be attached for more than 24 hours. During this time, the female beetle goes about her business feeding from flower to flower with the male attached to her back.
Once they finish mating and separate, the female flies off to find a place where she can lay her eggs in the ground and she then promptly leaves them to their fate. Once these eggs hatch and turn into beetle grubs, they then burrow into the soil in search of food, which come in the form of grasshopper eggs. Sounds harsh for the little grasshopper babies, but bees may have it worse.
Other species of blister beetles have newborn larvae called triungulin. These triungulin pack themselves together by the hundreds to mimic the look of a female bee (they even smell like a female bee). When a male bee comes along to try to mate with fake bee, the triungulin then latch on to the male bee’s body and some of them get off when the male bee comes into contact with other actual female bees. Eventually these triungulin find their way to the bee’s nest where they feast on bee larva and their food. Other choice snacks include eggs of wasps and locusts.
If you find an infestation of these beetles on your property, call a professional exterminator to take care of them for you so you can remain blister free!