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How to Get Rid of Beetles Fast and Permanently – Ultimate Guide for 2020 Pest Control
Learn more about different beetles and find out how to get rid of them fast using tips, tricks, and more based on the latest in bug science. For help with beetle pest control in Georgia or Florida, call Nextgen Pest Solutions.
An Introduction to Beetles And Their Role in Nature
The Beatles. Their music inspired a generation. But this is not about them. This about beetles, the six legged insects with a hard exoskeleton found throughout every continent except Antarctica, with over 400,000 different species. They are the single most diverse type of animal in the world.
There are beetles that live in the dirt. There are beetles that like to push dung to their nests. The ladybug is a beetle that eats aphids. The carpet beetle is a beetle that feeds on, you guessed it, carpets (among other items).
Beetles come in many different shapes, colors, and sizes. All beetles play a critical role in the ecosystem, but some beetles are also pests, damaging everything from:
Bread, Crackers, and Dry Cereal
Some beetles smell, causing foul odors when inside. Others are simply large, and can be best described as “gross” when they’re found inside of your property. These are the beetles that are considered pests within the pest control and extermination world. Some of these beetles accidentally find their way into a home or business, and once they die, the “invasion” is over. But others are very problematic pests, capable of significant destruction indoors and outdoors. Knowing the difference between these types of beetles is important, but even more important is knowing what you can do to get rid of the beetle invasion, and prevent future destruction.
Types of Beetles Considered Pests
With hundreds of thousands of beetles around the world, no matter where you are located, you may find yourself with a beetle or two on your property.
Black ground beetles, for example, are a type of large beetle that is seen throughout North America. They’re relatively harmless, as they do not bite people or destroy property, but they are scavengers that will occasionally come inside of garages and homes as they seek out food and mates.
They are sometimes considered pests, because they are large and make a loud crunch if you step on them, but seeing a ground beetle rarely means that there is a problematic infestation. Usually, if you see these beetles, it’s because one of them was simply lost. But there are many other beetles that are genuinely problematic pests. These are beetles whose invasions can mean that you have a serious problem, and eliminating them fast because critical for controlling the population. These include:
Stored Product Beetles (Cigarette Beetles, Sawtooth Grain Beetles, and Others)
Powder Post Beetles
There are other beetles that may be a pest problem depending on your location, but most destructive beetle pests are limited to garden and lawn damage, animal fiber damage, food damage, wood damage, and bad smells. Any beetles that cause these issues are considered pests in the pest control world.
Are Beetles Hard to Get Rid Of?
Beetles are not the most difficult pest to get rid of, nor the easiest. Because most invasions are solitary (depending on the species), one strong crunch with a shoe and the problem is solved.
Invasive beetles, however, are a bit more of a challenge. Though we’ll review the different ways to get rid invasive beetles like carpet beetles and pantry beetles later in this guide, those types of beetles can be extremely persistent without significant changes to your lifestyle or home. Similarly, garden beetles, because they live outdoors, can be very difficult without help, but there are some do it yourself strategies that can work.
Beetle Prevention Tips and Strategies – DIY
Most beetles are harmless. But nuisance beetles can present problems. Most of the time, people wait to treat their property for beetles after an infestation has already occurred. But is it possible to prevent beetles?
The answer is: Sometimes. Because there are so many types of beetles, prevention techniques depend on which beetles you’re struggling with. There are some beetles where prevention is either difficult or close to impossible, and others that are quite easy to prevent. The following are some prevention strategies that you can do at home, with notes about the beetles they will be effective in preventing:
Sealing Up Holes – Only some beetles invade in large numbers. For others, they find themselves on your property entirely by accident. The best way to make sure that these beetles do not come into your property is to make sure there are no entrances that they can use. Look around your home for any small opening and seal it using mesh tape, wood planks, caulking, and whatever else might fit the space. This not only prevents beetles, but other insects as well. In professional pest control, the process of sealing up holes is known as “exclusion.” Sometimes it helps to work with a professional technician, as our experience makes it easier for us to spot even the smallest of entrance points.
Vacuum and Clean – Cleaning your home isn’t a perfect system. But in the early stages of an infestation – such as when a carpet beetle first finds your property – vacuuming and cleaning often makes it harder for these pests to survive, which in turn reduces your risk of a more difficult to control infestation.
Make Your Home Less Attractive – The more beetles are attracted to your property, the more likely a beetle infestation will be. There are a few things that make your home more attractive to beetles. The first is lighting. Beetles, like many insects, use light to travel and find mates. There are yellow bug light bulbs that can be used that are less attractive to these insects. Moving/removing bushes from your home can also be effective, because beetles find bushes a great place to live and, the closer they are to your home, may find it easier to find their way indoors.
Use Airtight Containers – Pantry beetles tend to travel within food that you’ve purchased from another source, such as in a box of cereal. There aren’t many ways you can prevent pantry bugs from being in your cereal, but you can prevent their spread. Pouring your cereals and other pantry items into air tight containers limits the bugs to the product you brought them home in.
Place Insect Glue Traps – At most department stores, you can purchase glue traps for insects. These traps can be place in corners, near baseboards, where the wall touches the flooring. Most insects like to travel along corners, where they feel safer. These glue traps stop them in their tracks, and keep them there until they expire. Note: This is more effective against other pests like spiders and earwigs, but works for beetles as well. Also, if your home is prone to lizards and snakes, you may not want to use these traps as they could accidentally capture these beneficial animals.
Prevention is rarely perfect, but these little changes can help create an environment that is a bit less prone to beetle invasions, and may protect against other insects as well.
How to Get Rid of Beetles (Generally)
Because there are so many different species of beetles, the approach to remove them depends on the type of beetle species. Later, we’ll talk about how to remove a few specific types of beetles – the carpet beetle, the Japanese beetle, and pantry beetle – later, so if that is the information you need, you are encouraged to scroll down further. But we’ll start with solutions that address the challenges of beetles as a general pest. These solutions may or may not be right for your specific beetle problem, but they can help.
Natural and DIY Ways to Get Rid of Beetles
Most outdoor beetles that come into the property will wander in there by accident and will not have the resources to survive. Thus it may be possible to eliminate beetles yourself using DIY or natural beetle removal methods. These include:
Dehumidifiers – Humidity in the air, especially in basements, attics, and garages, attracts insects and makes it easier for them to survive. Installing or using dehumidifiers in these rooms offers a way to eliminate the excess moisture so that it both kills any beetles inside and prevents new beetles from coming.
Borax – Boric acid, sold as a powder under the brand name “Borax,” can be effective against beetles. If there is a place that they tend to congregate, placing a few spoonfuls of this powder right in their path can eliminate any that come onto your property. Borax is natural and harmless to mammals, but it absorbs into the skin of the beetle and poisons them. Even though Borax is considered mostly safe for humans and pets, it is not recommended to be around pets and children as consumption, especially in high doses, could be harmful in some circumstances.
Diatomaceous Earth – Used in a similar manner to Borax, diatomaceous earth is a type of rock that has been ground into a fine powder. The food grade version (rather than the filter grade version) is harmless to people and pets. But for beetles, when diatomaceous earth gets on their exoskeleton, it absorbs the protective barrier that protects against moisture loss. Without that barrier, beetles – and other insects – dry out and perish.
You may also come across other natural remedies for pests, such as essential oils like peppermint and thyme. There is no real evidence that peppermint or thyme have any effect on beetles, nor are there any fast “tricks” like placing a banana peel under your door that are known to repel them.
Most of the time, you’ll want to try one of the above solutions or use professional pest control strategies.
Professional Pest Control Solutions for Most Beetles
Pest control companies like our team here at Nextgen Pest Solutions treat for most types of beetles with traditional seasonal pest control. With seasonal pest control, we use pesticides to create a barrier around your property. When pests try to pass, they walk over the solution, which gets into their shell and exterminates them.
The insecticides used for beetle control are effective, especially the professional ones that are available to pest control companies, which are stronger and more effective than the ones available at hardware stores. Even though these are professional strategies, many of the treatments for generic beetles are based on natural science, and the chemicals involved are not considered harmful for people or pests.
For generic beetles, like ground beetles, insecticides are the most common and most effective approach. Different pest control companies use different solutions depending on factors like cost, location of the pest, type of beetle, and much more. For the purposes of illustrating the different insecticide options, we’ll use ground beetles as an example. We have information on Carpet Beetles and Japanese Beetles specifically below, for those looking for methods to eliminate those specific pests.
But for ground beetles, because the beetles live outside and come inside for shelter (or by accident), then treatment starts by creating a barrier outside with the option of adding treatments inside. For example:
Permethrin Spray – Permethrin is a pesticide used against 75 different household pests, which is typically found in brands like Tenguard SFR. It is one of the most common solutions used by professional pest control companies and, after it is diluted, is completely safe for people and pets. Permethrin is a manmade chemical that is modeled after a chrysanthemum extract. It acts as a neurotoxic to insects, which is why it is so effective against so many different pests, including beetles. It also resists evaporation. Constant, ongoing sun exposure only reduces the amount of permethrin by 40%, indicating it remains toxic to insects for weeks at a time.
Deltamethrin Spray – Deltamethrin is a different chemical formula, but interestingly, it is also based on extracts from chrysanthemums. Like permethrin, it is effective against a wide variety of pests. Some studies have said that deltamethrin may be more effective against beetles specifically. Note that a professional pest control company will choose what solution they use based on your overall needs, and since most people only receive beetle control as part of an ongoing seasonal pest management package, deltamethrin may not be the top choice unless treating for the specific pests it is strongest against. Deltamethrin is found in brands like Suspend SC.|
Insecticide Dusts – The above two insecticides are typically used as sprays that are placed around the home to create a barrier that causes pests to perish if they pass by. But another approach is to use dusts. As the name implies, these “dusts” are a type of waterproof or water resistant powder. It is placed in dry and damp areas that beetles (and other pests) frequent, and is often considered more effective for large beetles, like ground beetles, that travel further off the ground than other pests. They are also made with pyrethrins, which is the name of the different pest control formulas based on chrysanthemum extracts. Permethrin and Deltamethrin are both Pyrethrins, as are a few others.
These are only few examples of the different treatment options available. Different brands within the pest control world may also have their own formulas. Typically, because the presence of most generic beetles usually coincides with other pest invasions, the solution is chosen based on your city, the weather, and the seasonal pest risks.
No matter which solution is chosen, it is also recommended that any of these be combined with exclusion. Beetles – with the exception of some beetle species like carpet beetles, Japanese beetles, and pantry beetles, which we will get to in a moment – typically only come indoors by mistake through small openings around your home. Sealing these openings, a process known as exclusion, makes it much more difficult for beetles to enter. When combined with a seasonal pest treatment, eliminating and preventing these types of beetles becomes much more effective.
How to Get Rid of Carpet Beetles
Carpet beetles are one type of pest that stands out in the beetle world. Though they are still beetles, they are also an invasive species that some people mistake for bed bugs at first glance.
Adult carpet beetles eat typical beetle food like plants and flowers. The real damage comes from carpet beetle larva, which eat animal fibers, like wool, though they may also eat synthetic fiber and cotton as well. The result is significant destruction to carpets, clothes, and other household items, along with the spread of allergens, droppings, and the disgust of living with many pests in your home.
Depending on the materials you have in your home, they can be easy to remove or very difficult to eliminate. Extermination without professional help can be difficult, especially if you hope to retain the items the pests fed upon.
Natural and DIY Ways to Get Rid of Carpet Beetles
There are several natural and DIY ways to prevent, limited, or even exterminate carpet beetles. You may need to choose a range of different treatments to make sure that you have eliminated all of them. Because these are still beetles, some of the same treatments that work on other species will work on carpet beetles as well, including:
These can be placed around and on top of carpets to eliminate the bugs and their eggs. Other strategies that are effective against these pests include:
Vacuuming – Proper housekeeping can help to reduce or eliminate carpet beetle populations. Vacuuming often can help prevent them from taking up a residence in your property. Vacuuming both sides of a carpet, top and underside, can help eliminate harder to see pests and eggs. Remember that these pests could also be feeding on clothing, furniture, and other items.
Removing All Food Sources – One of the simplest solutions for eliminating carpet beetles is to remove the items that they feed on. If you find carpet beetles in a carpet, place the carpet in an airtight bag and throw it in the trash. Then vacuum up the remains. In homes with many animal fibers, this may not be possible, but for properties with only one or two affected rugs it can work.
Dryer – Carpet beetles and their eggs can be eliminated by throwing any affected items into the dryer for 15 minutes. Keep in mind that some of the products they feed on are not meant to be in a dryer, so this may not work on all materials, but it can work on some small carpets, clothing, and other items that are considered dryer-safe.
Moth Balls/Moth Flakes – Naphthalene and Paradichlorobenzene moth balls and flakes have been shown to be effective against carpet beetles. They can be toxic to humans, so using them correctly is important.
Eliminating a carpet beetle infestation without professional support is possible, but often more difficult than it seems. It takes only a few missed eggs or a few adult beetles to completely rebuild an infestation, and because carpet beetles can survive hidden in closets, attics, basements, and more, there may be items that you’ve missed that can sustain the population and ultimately lead to a resurgence.
Professional Pest Control to Get Rid of Carpet Beetles
Carpet beetles are still beetles, and so they are eliminated using the same pyrethrins that affect other beetle species earlier in the article – all of which are chemical compositions designed to mimic those of the chrysanthemum flower. These include:
Other treatments include pyriproxyfen and cypermethrin, though these are less common. Application of these carpet beetle exterminators is similar as well, but because these treatments are exclusively indoors – and because they are specifically used on beetles, as opposed to other treatments that are often used on all pests – your pest control professional is likely to use one with deltamethrin or cyfluthrin, which are the two most popular choices on beetles (all five, however, are effective, so there are typically no wrong choices here).
The question that your pest professional will want to answer is the application type. Beetles can be eliminated with a liquid treatment, a dust treatment, an aerosol, or an oil mixture known as an EC (emulsifiable concentrate). The choice will depend on where they are located, how severe the infestation is, whether or not you want to save the carpet, and the safety of those in the home.
All of these treatments are safe for people and pests, but for safety, it is best to avoid contact with certain treatments (like aerosols and dust) as much as possible. However, these treatments may be highly effective in places like attics, with limited human access. Your pest professional will review the different options at your consultation. It is typically not advised to use these as a DIY project.
Carpet beetles can also come back after the treatments wear off, so it is also a good idea to inspect your property for small holes to see how the beetles arrived, and to consider a pest barrier, such as seasonal pest control, to reduce the likelihood of a future carpet beetle infestation.
How to Get Rid of Japanese Beetles
Japanese beetles differ from other beetle pests, as they are primary a garden and lawn issue. Japanese beetles rarely come inside, if at all, and post essentially no danger or distress in homes.
But these beetles lay their eggs in soil, and the larva of these beetles – known as grubs – are ferocious eaters that feed on the roots of grass and plants, killing large sections of lawns and gardens.
Unlike carpet beetles, which become less destructive to humans as they get older, adult Japanese beetles continue to cause extensive damage. They heavily feed on nearby trees, shrubs, and vegetables. It transforms them into essentially a garden menace, causing significant destruction to rose bushes, flowers, fruit trees, and more.
This makes Japanese beetles one of the most feared pests not only by homeowners and farmers, but also by cities and states, worried that these pests will breed and spread, destroying crops.
Natural and DIY Ways to Get Rid of Japanese Beetles
Because these beetles are often found in lawns and around human food, it is natural to want to prevent or eliminate these pests naturally, using DIY techniques to get rid of carpet beetles fast and permanently. Not all natural methods are going to be effective enough for these hardy pests, but there are some techniques you can try. These include:
Pick Them Out – Japanese beetles can be removed by hand. At dawn, grab a bucket of water and a few tablespoons of dish soap. Mix it all together. Then go into your garden and grab the beetles and place them in the water mixture. The soap reduces surface tension on the water and the beetles fall in and drown.
Water and Soap – If you don’t mind getting a bit of soap on your plants (although you should avoid getting any on your fruits and vegetables if possible), water and soap is also known to work as a natural and effective pesticide for Japanese beetles, able to get rid of them fast. Put a water and soap mixture in a spray bottle and spray it on all Japanese beetles that are not directly touching your food. The spray will kill most beetles on contact.
Soapy Water and Birds – One fun, but admittedly difficult technique relies on one of the few natural predators that Japanese beetles have in the United States: Birds. First, you would need to attract more birds to your lawn. Easier said than done for many homes. Next, take a mixture of dish soap and water and spray it in the areas you suspect Japanese beetles to be. This pushes them to the surface, where the birds can eat them. You can also try eliminating them yourself when they reach the surface, but the grubs are small and often difficult to catch/handle.
Nematodes – Nematodes are a type of microscopic parasitic worm that infects and ultimately devours Japanese beetle larvae. They spread from one host to another, killing larvae one at a time. They are also useful for soil, as they provide nutrients that healthy soils need.
Cedar Oil – Cedar oil is the oil of the cedar tree. At high concentrations, this oil can be deadly to Japanese beetles but has essentially no effect on gardens and landscapes. It can also be homemade, though doing so can be difficult without access to the right kind of cedar. Several cedar species are effective, but red cedar is highly regarded. If you want to make it yourself, buy red cedar in a lumber yard, put some cuts of it into a bucket along with near boiling water, and wait about 24 hours. This will take the oils out, which can then be placed in a sprayer and used throughout your garden.
Neem Oil – Neem oil is similar to cedar oil, and arguably a more common natural way to get rid of Japanese beetles permanently. Neem oil is slower than cedar and typically needs to be purchased. But when using it on Japanese beetles, it is consumed by the male beetles which pass it onto the eggs. It is then picked up by the larva, where it is toxic. Neem oil is slow, but non-toxic, so many organic gardeners like it.
Milky Spore – Milky spore is a Japanese beetle disease that is harmless to humans and most pests, but eventually kills Japanese beetles. Because it’s so effective, many hardware stores carry milky spore available for purchase. You apply it to your lawn as a powder when the beetles are in their larval stage, and it gives them this contagious disease that will spread throughout all of the beetles over time until they are eliminated.
One should always take special care not to crush a Japanese beetle. Perhaps ironically, when a female Japanese beetle is crushed, its pheromones (the chemicals that attract mates) are released, leading to more of the beetles on your garden.
Professional Pest Control to Get Rid of Japanese Beetles
The eco-friendly choices above are not just for DIY Japanese beetle removal. They are also used by many pest professionals. Choosing a pest control company can be useful for determining which approach is right for which season, and making sure the applications are completed effectively.
There are also insecticides and other chemical approaches that can be used. Examples of this include:
Imidacloprid – Imidacloprid is a pesticide that mimics nicotine. It is primarily found in lawn granules, and used to kill grubs in the soil.
Cypermethrin – Cypermethrin is another pyrethroid. Like the others on this list, other pyrethroids are also effective, but cypermethrin tends to be a popular choice for Japanese beetles.
Lambda-Cyhalothrin – Lambda-Cyhalothrin is another pyrethroid that, like all the others, can be used on a variety of pests but are found in several highly regarded Japanese beetle products. It is long lasting, capable of both eliminating current beetles and preventing future ones for several months.
Because many of the Japanese beetle treatments exterminate other pests as well, and because Japanese beetles are so ferocious to gardens and landscapes, many pest professionals choose to partner them with other natural solutions too, especially Neem and the nematodes, as the combination of fast acting pesticide plus slower acting natural solutions tends to do a much better job of eliminating an infestation.
How to Get Rid of Pantry Beetles
Pantry pests are small pests that tend to feed on items found in pantries, especially cereals, grains, flours, and other common dried foods. There are actually many pantry pests, not just beetles. But of the pantry beetles, there are:
Cigarette Beetles – Eat cereal, rice, dried fruits, pet food, and coffee beans.
Red Flour Beetles – Feed on cereal, grains, and pasta.
Sawtooth Grain Beetles – Feed on flour, breads, nuts, cereals and dried foods.
You may also encounter the drugstore beetle or, in industrial properties, the warehouse beetle. These beetles can come in from outside, or they may have been carried in with your groceries. These beetles are so small, they may not be seen inside of the manufacturing plants that make package food. Once inside, these small insects can continue to spread all throughout your pantry, eating the food that attracts them and laying more and more eggs. While the beetles are considered harmless, they do cause moisture buildup that can lead to moldy foods and, of course, no one wants to eat insects. The longer an infestation grows, the more common these pests will be throughout your pantry.
How to Get Rid of Pantry Beetles Naturally
Pantry pest populations can be reduced without the use of chemicals. But because these pests are so small, professional treatment may still be needed, as it is possible to maintain a population with only a few crumbs, causing the pests to come back. Natural ways to get rid of these beetles include:
Throw Out All Contaminated Food – The reason these pests spread is because they are so small that even food manufacturers can miss them. Their eggs are microscopic, and even the adults can be easy to miss at no more than 2mm. Throwing out all potentially contaminated food – which would be most of your pantry – eliminates a large portion of the infestation.
Vacuum – Cleaning the pantry so there are no leftover crumbs with a vacuum can remove food sources and potentially vacuum up any small pests.
Seal New Food in Airtight Containers – As you purchase new food, put them in airtight plastic containers. This prevents any surviving pantry pests from regrowing their population. Try to limit the amount of food you have in your pantry as well, so you can more easily monitor the products you have.
Apply Vinegar or Soap – Use soap or vinegar to wash down your pantry. You may also want to soap down any nearby drawers that could harbor hiding pests.
Pantry beetles – and really most pantry pests – respond well to these approaches. It is, however, important that you carefully review all potential areas of your home where there may be access to grains, as it takes very little for these pests to feed. Keep in mind that these beetles can bite through thin plastic, so even a sealed bag is not necessarily enough. Hard, airtight plastic containers are more effective.
Professional Pantry Beetle Pest Control
Pantry beetles may not directly require a professional approach. It is possible for homeowners to eliminate pantry beetles by eliminating access to their food. If pantry beetles continue to thrive, then there are professional solutions that may help. These include:
Pheromone Traps – Pheromone traps attract male pantry beetles and pantry moths, by giving off a scent that causes them to believe a female is present. The beetles then stick to the glue, eliminating them.
Insecticides – The same insecticides used on all beetles can also be used on pantry beetles. However, to avoid spraying these insecticides near food, the pantry is expected to be emptied and cleaned, and the pyrethroid insecticides are placed only in corners and crevices.
However, while professional pest control may not be necessary for pantry bugs specifically, some pantry beetles – especially the cigarette beetle – can come into a home from outdoors through small cracks and entrances in the home’s exterior. As a result, seasonal pest control can also be a prevention tool for some pantry pests.
Get Rid of Beetles Permanently
The term “beetle” represents such a vast and diverse species of insect, that the pests that plague so many properties – including commercial, residential, and industrial properties – can vary considerably. Despite their prevalence in nature, only a few beetle species are considered pests, and fewer still are considered invasive pests.
But it is not uncommon to find yourself in situations where beetles are causing you problems, or are indicative of a larger issue – such as pests finding ways to enter your home. There are many effective ways to get rid of beetles fast, as well as treatments that provide long lasting beetle prevention and exterminator solutions. But it starts by understanding the beetle and determining your comfort approaching them. It is also important to determine whether the beetles may be part of a larger problem.
It always helps to consider pest control by trained professionals, all of whom have access to products and services that can eliminate not only beetles, but any other pests you may find as well. In GA and FL, the company that so many trust for their pest control is Nextgen Pest Solutions. Fill out our online form to learn more.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Much Does it Cost to Get Rid of Beetles?
The cost varies significantly depending on the type of beetle, type of treatment, and extent of the infestation. Most seasonal pest control - which is all that is needed for most types of beetles, can be performed monthly, bimonthly, or quarterly, and tends to cost a minimal amount each month - typically starting around $40 to $75 per month for smaller homes. Larger infestations, like an extensive carpet beetle population, may be more. It is best to contact local pest control to find out their prices.
Are Any Beetles Dangerous?
Beetles are one of the few pests that pose minimal danger to humans. All insects have the potential to carry bacteria with them, but this is less common with beetles than other scavenger pests, like roaches. Blister beetles, Longhorn beetles, and stag beetles are all capable of biting humans and causing pain, but these beetles are rare biters and are not known to cause any permanent damage except if someone has an exceedingly rare allergic reaction.
Are Stink Bugs Beetles? What About Cockroaches?
Though they may look similar, neither stink bugs nor cockroaches are a type of beetle.
Is Pest Control for Beetles Safe?
It depends on the type of treatment, but typically, no. If ingested or consumed in high doses, the insecticides used for beetles, and other insects, could be dangerous. But what pest control companies use is a heavily diluted pesticide spray that also becomes essentially harmless once it dries, which occurs in a matter of a few minutes. Though it is never advised to lick or consume pesticides, the vast majority are considered to be "safer than table salt" for humans and pets.