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With more than 350,000 species, beetles are the most common insects on the planet. The Washington, DC area is home to dozens of them, and some can cause great damage in and around the home. Two main types of beetles thrive in our area: wood destroying beetles and pantry beetles.
Wood destroying beetles include powderpost beetles and old house borers. Powderpost beetles strike fear into the hearts of many homeowners, as they feed on wood from hardwood trees – including hardwood flooring, paneling and furniture. Powderpost beetles like humidity, so infestations often originate in damp places like crawl spaces and garages. Old house borers also feed on wood, but these pests generally attack structural softwoods. In spite of the name, old house borers are often found in newer homes that are built with infested wood.
Pantry beetles include carpet beetles and sawtoothed grain beetles. A carpet beetle infestation may be to blame for the holes in your favorite wool sweater or coat. Adult carpet beetles appear in May and June, entering homes through open doors or hitching a ride on people as they walk into the house. Female carpet beetles lay between 30 and 100 eggs on clothing and in heating ducts. When the larvae hatch, they feed on natural fibers like wool and fur, as well as dry food items like pet food and cereal.
Sawtoothed grain beetles also target dry food items and are common pests in grocery stories, grain storage and food warehouses. The most common source of a sawtoothed beetle infestation is food that is brought into the house. Sawtoothed grain beetles will attack cereals, dried fruits, flour, sugar and even prescription medications and tobacco.
Ladybugs, or Asian beetles, are another common pest in our region. You are most likely to see Asian beetles in the fall, when they cluster together under eaves and along house siding. In large numbers, Asian lady beetles can cause stains and damage to home exteriors.
Signs of a beetle problem vary by the pest type. Wood-boring beetle infestations are indicated by holes in wood as the beetles chew and tunnel through it. Another sign of a wood-boring beetle infestation is blistering wood, which occurs from beetle larvae tunneling below the surface. You may also hear a rasping or ticking sound at night as immature beetles chew on the wood.
A main sign of pantry beetles is the discovery of worm-like insects inside and around dry food items. If you find damage to fur and wool items, you may have a carpet beetle problem. You may even spot larvae on furniture and along baseboards.
Lady beetle infestations are more obvious to spot – you will likely find these pests congregating on light-colored exteriors that are exposed to afternoon sun. They may also enter the home through open doors and windows.
Eliminating beetle infestations begins with identifying the type of pest and the source of the infestation. Our approach includes environmentally responsible methods, including temperature treatments and exclusion techniques that target the pests – not your family. The result is a beetle-free home, guaranteed.