Beetle Pest Control

There are around 30,000 species of beetles in Australia. Many of these are essential to the natural ecosystem. However, there are also a number of pest beetles which can cause problems by feeding on wood, grain, organic products or food. They can be found in diverse living environments and exhibit a range of feeding habits and behaviours. Beetles can become a menace in your home as they are commonly part of the Stored Product Insect Family. This can lead to food contamination, which will make your food unfit for human consumption. Treatment requires a bespoke approach suitable for the specific species being encountered.

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From Preparation to Treatment

Hygiene is your most important weapon against beetles, to stop infestation occurring in the first place. Store food products in airtight containers, plus ensure a regular cleaning schedule is in place.

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Removing a beetle population from store products may require extreme measures such as fumigation or removal of the infected product from the premises, followed by the implementation of adequate hygiene measures.

Chemical treatments may be needed to eliminate an existing beetle population, or heat treatments can be used for non-food products such as furniture.

Common Beetle Questions

  • 01What are common features of beetles?

    Beetles are part of the order Coleptera, which literally means “sheath wings”. Like many other insect varieties, they have 3 key parts – a head, thorax and abdomen. They also have 3 pairs of legs and 2 pairs of wings. The key differentiator is that beetles’ forewings form a hard, protective sheath that protect the delicate hindwings.

  • 02What do beetle’s like to eat?

    Because there are over 300,000 species of beetles there is a great deal of variety in their diets. The most damaging beetles (including Furniture Beetles, Powderpost and the Carpet beetle) are those that feed on organic matter like carpet, wood, and other housed organics like fabric and textiles. Stores pest insects like the Larder beetle, can be found munching away on many varieties of food in your home such as, grains, rice, flour or cooked food, like cookies and bread. This leads to food contamination meaning the food must be destroyed.

  • 03Where do beetles live?

    Beetles are a diverse species, which can be found in most habitats, although they particularly thrive in warm areas. Its characteristics also vary significantly. Some groups are predators while others are herbivores. Some are found mainly in the flowers where they feed on pollen and nectar, others feed on mushrooms. Still others live in wood or under the bark of trees. Pest beetles find their way indoors and feed on food or wood products.

  • 04In what ways are beetles pests?

    With over 30,000 species of beetles throughout Australia, there are only a handful of varieties which are considered major pests, feeding on wood, grain, organic products or food. Beetles can cause major problems for agricultural businesses by invading storage facilities.

  • 05What are the core stages of a beetle’s development?

    Most beetles move through 4 core stages of development. They go from egg, to larva, to pupa before finally becoming a fully formed insect. Very often the larvae can cause significant damage to products – such as with the Carpet Beetle – while the presence of adult beetles may simply be a sign of moisture problems.

Common Beetles

Carpet Beetle

Appearance

The translucent eggs are 0.5 – 1mm. Larvae are 4mm long, dark in colour and covered with tough bristles. Adults are actually smaller. They are 2-3 mm with mottled colouring.

Lifestyle

Carpet beetles live between 9-12 months. They are able to fly into homes through open doors and windows and may cause severe damage to carpets, rugs, curtains and clothing. When in their natural habitat, they feed on pollen and plant nectar. When burrowing in carpet, vacuuming may not completely eliminate these pests; chemical treatment by a pest professional is recommended.

Habits

Carpet beetles come in a number of colours and species, although they are usually yellow, white and black. However, they all feed on animal proteins or materials from animals. These include furs, carpets, ants, clothes, hair, silk, insulation, dried insects, seeds, grains and small animal carcasses.

Furniture Beetle

Appearance

The Common Furniture Beetle is brown and grows to 3-4mm long. They begin as a small white curled grub, only 1mm long.

Lifestyle

Common Furniture beetles thrive in high humidity and are found on the northern outskirts of WA, NT, Queensland and some parts of north east NSW. When furniture beetles grow past the larvae stage, they will discard a course faecal frass that has a similar consistency to table salt. Note that Common Furniture Beetles feed during the larvae stage. As adults, they only reproduce.

Habits

The Common Furniture Beetle has a particular fondness for pine woods. It is known to damage 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 your culprit! They prefer timber flooring, paneling and furniture.

Larder Beetle

Appearance

Dark covering with pale yellow hairs. Striking yellow-brown bands across the front part of the wing covers; three brown spots on the yellow hair portion of their bodies. Large; usually between 7-9mm but able to grow to 15mm.

Lifestyle

Larder Beetles are found worldwide. It is a common pest of households and storage facilities (“larders”) in much of the world. They eat animal products but may also eat plant material that is high in protein, such as grain. Females lay approximately 135 eggs near a food source, and the eggs will hatch in about 12 days. The life cycle of Larder Beetles lasts around 40 to 50 days.

Habits

Larder Beetles eat through animal skins, hides, leather, smoked meats, fish and meat meals, bone and various dried food. As a result, they’re often used in universities and scientific research centres. They’re used to clean dead flesh from corpses and skulls so the bone can be studies, researched, and recorded in their raw form.

Powerderpost Beetle

Appearance

At its adult peak, the Powderpost Beetle can grow between 3-6mm and are dark brown in colour.

Lifestyle

The beetle will begin as a small white curl grub, only 1mm long. The powderpost beetle will live for around 6-18 months, depending on the environmental factors. The female lays 50-100 single eggs in each pore of the timber and tunnel. They are so named because active Powderpost Beetle infestations usually have powder that is the color of freshly sawed wood sifting from the exit holes.

Habits

Only second to termites in destructive capabilities, Powderpost 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.

Spider Beetle

Appearance

Bulbous body, long legs, and ranges in colour from dull reddish-brown with light brown hair, to black and shiny black.

Lifestyle

Spider Beetles enjoy dark and damp conditions and feeding on moisture-damaged food. One way that infestations can originate is from birds’ nests. Spider beetles are becoming increasingly common in domestic premises where they are found in attics, wall cavities and floorboard cracks. Food retail outlets such as bakeries also offer the perfect conditions and food sources.

Habits

Spider Beetles can be significant pests. There are several spider beetle species that typically feed on decaying 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.