Beetle Species

There are over 350,000 different known beetle species worldwide. They can be found in different living environments and sport a variety of feeding habits and special behaviors.

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One common feature of all beetles is the neck shield that covers the front part of the body and protects the wings meet at the back. A beetle’s stages of development go from egg, larva, pupa to a fully formed insect. Very often the larvae causes damage while the presence of beetles may simply be a sign of moisture problems. There are a variety of pest beetles that cause damage to timber, food and fabrics including:

Common Beetle Pests

Carpet BeetleThe carpet beetle comes in a number of species and colours, but they all have one thing in common: they are very broad feeders of materials of animal origin. This includes furs, carpets, ants, clothes, hair, silk, insulation, dried insect specimens, seeds, grains, cereals, and small animal carcasses. A common species, variegated carpet beetle lives between 9-12 months and often feed on pollen and plant nectar when in their natural habitat. They are able to fly indoors through open doors and windows and cause severe damage to carpets, rugs, curtains, and clothing. The variegated carpet beetle is small and oval in appearance, with mottled colouring (yellow, white and black). They grow to approximately 2-3mm long which is actually smaller than their larvae state (maximum 4mm long).
Furniture BeetleThe furniture beetle is a known damager of Seasoned Baltic pine, New Zealand white pine, hoop pine, English Oak, and some other exotic pine woods. If you’re noticing holes in the floorboards or in your timber furniture, the furniture beetle may be the culprit. Preferring timber flooring, panelling and furniture, the furniture beetle will stay away from area with high temperatures. They thrive in high humidity and are only found on the northern outskirts of WA, NT, Queensland and some parts of north east NSW. The furniture beetle is brown and grows to 3-4mm long. They begin as a small white curled grub, only at 1mm long. When furniture beetles grow past the larvae stage, they will discard a course faecal frass that has a similar consistency to table salt.
Larder BeetleThe larder beetle is a surprisingly academically useful beetle, as they’re often used in universities and scientific research centres. They eat through animal skins, hides, leather, smoked meats, fish and meat meals, bone and various dried food, which is why they’re so useful for academia. They’re used to clean dead flesh from corpses and skulls so the bone can be studies, researched, and recorded in their raw form. The larder beetle can be identified by their dark, almost black covering with pale yellow hairs. There are striking yellow-brown bands across the front part of the wing covers, and three brown spots on the yellow hair portion of their bodies. They are quite large beetles, growing anywhere 7-9mm but are able to grow to 15mm. A fun fact: they only have three pairs of legs!
Powderpost BeetlePowderpost beetles attack the sapwood of hardwoods containing starch and their presence is usually detected during the first few years from buying the timber furniture piece. The powderpost beetle tunnels through the grain of wood and if any abrasions or fracture are in the wood or furniture, the other beetles will follow the same path. The female lays 50-100 single eggs in each pore of the timber and tunnel. The beetle will begin as a small white curl grub, only 1mm long. At its adult peak, the beetle can grow from 3-6mm and are dark brown in colour. The powderpost beetle will live for around 6-18 months, depending on the environmental factors.
Spider BeetleThere are several spider beetle species that typically decay foodstuffs, seed, woollens, furs, carpets, rodent carcasses’, rodent droppings, old grain based rodent baits, dried animal products, and a range of other organic material. Their entire life cycle only spans 15 to 18 months. Identifying a spider beetle is simple as it has a bulbous body, long legs, and ranges in colour from dull reddish-brown with light brown hair, dark brown, to black and shiny black.

Where do beetles live?

Beetles can be found in most environments and its characteristics vary significantly. Some groups are predators while others are herbivores. Some are found mainly in the flowers where they feed on pollen and nectar. There are many groups that live in mushrooms and largely feed on mushrooms. Others live in wood or under the bark of dead or living trees.

Why are beetles pests?

There are approximately 30,000 species of beetles in Australia. Some of which are pests of wood, grain, organic products or food. Another beetle who also specializes in flour products are namely family Flat Rams. Among the wood destroying beetles are eg husbocken in the south of the country. These are just some examples of beetles that can cause major problems both at home and at work.

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