Currently viewing the category: "Beetles"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

I have a recurring problem with pantry weevils. Each summer I throw out any affected rice, grain etc and clean out the cupboards but the problem will not go away. What else can I do?

thanks
Kay, London

Dear Kay,
The problem with pantry weevils is that they are small, and also capable of flight, so that each time to eradicate the infestation, new weevils can arrive and begin the life cycle anew. According to Hogue "The appearance of these pests in a tightly sealed package of dried food is a source of wonder to housekeepers. Entry is commonly by way of minute imperfections in the seal, but some species may bore through paper and cardboard containers to get at the contents. In other cases, infestations occur when the foods are stored in bulk in railroad cars, warehouses, and at other stops along the processing line." You will greatly minimize the ravages of the weevil by continuing to dispose of old grains which will prevent a self-perpetuating population explosion within your pantry, but the problem will not go away permanently unless the weevils go away permanently by becoming extinct.

And a word from MOM:
Sorry to say, I heard that those peskiy little critters often come in as teensy undetectable eggs inside your bag of flour or dry pet food (generally in packages that do not have sealed plastic inner bags) and hatch in your
warm cabinets. So tell Kay to store her flour in the refrigerator or freezer until she needs it. Apparently, you can cook it at 130 degrees for half an hour to kill anything that might be in there, but personally, although I can live with eggs I can’t see, I can’t see baking with dead bugs that may have already hatched. I
started putting my flour in the refrigerator over 25 years ago and haven’t had a bug since.

Great advice, Mom! I must have learned it from you long ago, since I have a fridge full of flour. But why bother killing the bugs in the flour before you bake? Won’t the crawling critters die anyhow once they hit that hot oven? And how could anyone refuse a little extra protein in their chocolate chip cookies??

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

I live in Southern California and encountered the most hideous insect I have ever seen.
Here’s a description:
Black with white covering entire body.
Length: 2-3″
Antennae: very long 2″minimum
It resembled a skeleton.
Had 4-6 legs.
Body seemed very hard.
Please advise
—Peter DiVincenzo

Dear Peter,
My original guess would have been a Eucalyptus Tree Borer (Phoracantha semipunctata) but the black and white coloring suggests a relative, the Banded Alder Borer (Rosalia funebris) instead. This is a very attractive beetle with black and white striped antennae which are longer than the body. It feeds on alder, ash and other hardwood trees, occasionally boring into the wood of laurel, live oak and eucalyptus as well. Adults are sometimes attracted to the fumes of fresh paint.

Try these sites for a photo and more information.

http://www.news.cornell.edu/Chronicle/97/6.19.97/
beetle.html

http://www.uvm.edu/albeetle/bandedalderborer.html

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Hello Mr. Bug Guy!
Never seen anything like it before and we have no idea how it got into the house and onto the second floor landing. That’s as far from any open window as it gets in our place and not close to the ground, either. (Although we do have two cats and a kitten.) It was casually walking, slowly, along the carpet. Actually, it looked kinda sick. It wasn’t moving particularly fast or anything. We scooped it into a jar and within hours, there was barely a flicker of movement left. (Still Flickering, though, as I write this.) It’s not quite 3 cm from nose to tail. It’s coloring was much like a watermelon, the kind with a lot of contrast between the stripes. It had these two, strange paddles out front, looking a lot like shoehorns. Any idea what this bug might be? Is it local or some kind of import? I’m in San Jose, CA, at the southern tip of San Francisco Bay.
Thanks!
John

While cleaning out the old email account, we discovered these amazing photos sent in by John of a Ten Lined June Beetle, Polyphylla decemlineata. They are native and the adults eat pine needles while the grubs are considered pests of peach trees.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Hello Mr. Bug Guy!
Never seen anything like it before and we have no idea how it got into the house and onto the second floor landing. That’s as far from any open window as it gets in our place and not close to the ground, either. (Although we do have two cats and a kitten.) It was casually walking, slowly, along the carpet. Actually, it looked kinda sick. It wasn’t moving particularly fast or anything. We scooped it into a jar and within hours, there was barely a flicker of movement left. (Still Flickering, though, as I write this.) It’s not quite 3 cm from nose to tail. It’s coloring was much like a watermelon, the kind with a lot of contrast between the stripes. It had these two, strange paddles out front, looking a lot like shoehorns. Any idea what this bug might be? Is it local or some kind of import? I’m in San Jose, CA, at the southern tip of San Francisco Bay.
Thanks!
John


While cleaning out the old email account, we discovered these amazing photos sent in by John of a Ten Lined June Beetle, Polyphylla decemlineata. They are native and the adults eat pine needles while the grubs are considered pests of peach trees.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

I live in a bi-level home, and have been there for 7 years now. All of a sudden this year I have a new bug aprox 3/16 long with 6 legs and 2 antenna, 1 on each side of what looks like an anteater’s snout. I have a coal stove in my finished basement so it is warm there. These bugs seem to be mostly on one of two white throw rugs in the middle of the floor, or can be found on the concrete floor next to any white dry wall. They appear to have a short life span, crawl only, no jumping, and so far have not been found upstairs. What are they and how do I get rid of them? Oh yeah. they are brown in color.
thank you
Bob Whitford

Dear Bob,
Based on your description, I suspect you may have a weevil infestation. Weevils are the world’s largest family of animals, numbering in excess of 35,000 members worldwide, so exact identification based on a verbal description is nearly impossible. They are small beetles with the front part of the head elongated into a snout or proboscis. Members of the family include pantry beetles which find their way into grain products, munching happily and unnoticed, and reproducing in vast quantities. Here is the frightening part. Hogue states that "several species act as intermediate hosts and vectors of the human tapeworms Hymenopepis nana and H. diminuta. People acquire infections by ingesting beetles containing the larval (or cysticercoid) stages of the tapeworm, which will often remain viable in infested corn meal and wheat flour that is undercooked."

Robert responds:
You are correct, I was just visited today by our local exterminator. In the fall I put a bag of scratch grain that was given to me in my
basement so I could feed the spring turkeys. Well, looks like I get to see more than just turkeys around my house. His solution is to remove the grain & clean the area. This should stop the bug problem. Do you agree?

To which "What’s That Bug?" replies:
Congratulations Robert.
Cleaning out the grain in the basement is a good start. Hopefully, the pantry beetles did not get as far as the kitchen. They can foul even the best homemaker’s flour and other grain products. I have even found weevils in the dry mushrooms.
Have a nice day.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Daniel,
We just bought an old house and in the basement and on the lower outside walls of the house we have an infestation (I mean millions) of black bugs with thin, neatly drawn orange lines outlining their backs/wings. Thee bugs have narrow bodies, are about 3/4 of an inch long, and have long antennae. They fly occasionally, but mostly just crawl around, and they sit in large clusters–they pile right on top of each other. Strangely, we also have lots of lady bugs mixing in with them. I live in southern York county, PA (on the PA/MD line) and we have had an unusually warm winter.
Any idea what the black bugs are, why they and the lady
bugs are here, whether they are doing damage and what I can
do to get rid of them and prevent them from returning?
Many, many thanks.
Tricia


Does this look familiar?

Dear Tricia,
Ladybugs are famous for communal hibernation, generally in mountainous areas. In recent years though, throughout the Eastern states, they have begun to invade homes. My internet search turned up this quote from the site http://www.uky.edu :

"People first started reporting large aggregations of lady beetles (ladybugs) on homes and buildings in Kentucky during the fall of 1993. Ladybugs are normally considered beneficial insects because they feed outdoors on aphids and other harmful plant pests. However, these beetles are congregating on the sides of buildings, and if given the opportunity, moving
inside. Lady beetles do not sting or carry diseases, nor do they infest food, clothing, or wood. Nonetheless, this particular species (Harmonia axyridis) can become a nuisance when large numbers begin crawling on windows, walls, light fixtures, and other indoor surfaces. When disturbed, they also secrete a foul-smelling orange-colored fluid that can spot and stain walls, carpeting, and other surfaces….
Because the Asian lady beetle is a tree-dwelling insect, homes and buildings in forested areas are especially prone to infestation. Suburban and landscaped industrial settings adjacent to wooded areas have also had large lady beetle aggregations. Once the beetles land on the sunny side of the
building, they attempt to locate cracks and other dark openings for hibernation sites. These locations may ultimately be on any side of the structure. Common overwintering sites include cracks and crevices around window and door frames, porches, garages and outbuildings, beneath exterior siding and roof shingles, and within wall voids, attics, and soffits. Structures in poor repair or with many cracks and openings are especially vulnerable to problems."

The site goes on to recomment removing the ladybugs with a vacuum cleaner. Your other insect is most probably a box elder bug (Leptocoris trivittatus).
On http://www.pma.edmonton.ab.ca it says, "When present in large enough numbers Box Elder Bugs can do damage to Manitoba Maple trees. Most people call us in the fall because they are curious about the large numbers on the walls of their houses or concerned about the numbers that are getting in the houses. Washing them off the walls of the house with a blast of cold water from a hose may help. The only way to ensure that they do not get inside the house is to fill in all
cracks where they could be getting in, a rather daunting and expensive task."
Though each of these insects is known to form communes, I have never heard of them bedding down together, but they’re not the strangest bedfellows I’ve encountered by far.


daniel, you are my hero. Many thanks for your help. We’re promptly getting out the hose and starting to fill in cracks–and I’m sleeping much better knowing that neither bug is eating my house into sawdust. What a valuable service you perform for those of us who are bug-clueless!
Many thanks again.
tricia

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination