Cabinet Beetles are a small round beetle which will prosper in pantries, closets and warehouses where wheat grain, cereal and other food is stored. Easily mistaken for other small beetles, this persistent pantry pest was first discovered in the United States sometime around the second world war.
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Cabinet beetles typically infest warehouses and food processing plants but can infest any structure which harbors food they like. This article will detail basic biology of this pest and offer guidelines on how to control local infestations.
Cabinet Beetles were first found in the United States back in 1946. They had probably been here long before then; they most likely were missed over the years since only a trained eye can tell one from all the close look-a-likes which are common in the states.
CABINET BEETLE BIOLOGY ^
Cabinet beetles are a small beetle. About 1/8″ long, they appear to be oval shaped with a dark colored pattern on their back. These colors can include yellow or brown and many shades thereof which are present on their wings (the bulk of what you see).
Larva will feed on just about anything but they prefer wheat, barley or rice. Other food they like includes dried blood, milk, pollen and dead insects. Larva begin to feed as soon as they find food and will do so for about a month. They will then pupate into adults, which takes another couple of weeks and then spend a week or so as an adult mating and laying eggs.
Though the whole cycle can take two months to run it’s course, it’s not unusual for it to take 3-4 months. The exact time span seems to be dependent on food supply, humidity and temperature. One thing is for sure, they are very hardy as either larva or adults. Extreme temperatures won’t kill eggs or pupa and larva can go long periods of time without eating. For this reason alone they will be a formidable foe in both commercial and residential settings.
CABINET BEETLE INFESTATIONS ^
Warehouses or grain processing plants which have cabinet beetle activity should monitor hot points and identify where the beetle is most active. Once identified, treatments will have to be regular and become part of their overall active integrated pest control program. Without monitoring, Cabinet beetles will soon multiply and become wide spread throughout the structure.
Residential homes which have activity are not faced with nearly the amount of treatment needed or potential for large infestations like processing or storage buildings. Most homes have enough food to harbor a small breakout but not nearly enough to allow the beetle to get out of control. It appears as though the Cabinet Beetle has built in controls to deal with this since it will reproduce much slower if food supplies are limited; warehouse and processing plants which have large amounts of grain readily available tend to have quick breakouts and a tougher time overall dealing with increasing numbers. Though this could be due to their sheer size, the abundance of food and shelter clearly enables and seems to enhance the reproduction and relocating of adult and young cabinet beetles. In the average home, infestations are almost always limited to a few rooms.
CABINET BEETLE ACTIVITY ^
The most common place for cabinet beetle activity in the home will be in the pantry, the garage and the laundry room. Basements are a close third and any room which is used to shelter or feed pets is always a risk. Since adults like to lay eggs where hatching larva will thrive, they tend to stay close to where they emerge from their pupa cocoons. For this reason alone its important that control efforts are focused and contaminated food is removed. Here is what must be done when dealing with an active infestation.
CABINET BEETLE TRAPS ^
First, be sure you have cabinet beetles. Find out by setting out some traps. We have three types – two for use inside homes and one for use outside. The inside traps come in two forms: the HANGING CABINET BEETLE TRAPS which should be used when populations are active by flying around and the SURFACE CABINET BEETLE TRAP which should be used when beetle activity has been found in cabinets.
Both use strong sexual pheromones to attract the adults who have nothing but reproduction on their mind. The hanging traps use glue to capture and hold targeted beetles; the cabinet surface traps use a thick gooey oil which holds beetles in a small tray and also uses food lure as an attractant.
In most cases, the Surface Traps will yield faster results since they have food as an attractant; the Hanging traps rely on sexual pheromones and since Khapra beetles aren’t “in the mood” all the time, you may only find them working every few months depending on the local populations mating season.
Since Cabinet Beetles will thrive in areas with large Pecan, Walnut, Acorn and other nut trees, you may want to deploy the OUTSIDE HANGING CABINET BEETLE TRAP. Set some of these out to see if you have beetle activity close to the home. Its not uncommon for these beetles to thrive outside only to find their way into local homes. Such activity does not mean you have an infestation inside but foraging adults entering the home could present a problem if left alone.
HOME SAFE CABINET BEETLE SPRAY ^
If activity has been noted in the pantry, garage or some other area, you’ll need to start localized treatments as well as setting some traps out for immediate reduction of the reproducing adults. The spray will be paramount to solving the problem so do not rely on traps alone. Remember, the key to solving this type of problem is first to remove their local food and to next followup with a good treatment of the cabinet or pantry where they were nesting.
First try to identify just which rooms have activity. If it’s the pantry, try to discard any food item suspected of harboring larva or adults. This is vital to solving the problem. By removing the local food supply, the beetles will be forced to forage for food and in turn, crawl over treatments and fall victim to well placed traps.
If you’re unsure whether beetles are present in any one item, you can store it in a plastic bag so that the contents can be examined the next time you want to use that product. If beetles are found in the future, you know the item is bad and should be thrown away. If no beetles are found after 2 months, you can use it with peace of mind there are no bugs buried inside. The plastic bag will serve you by containing any emerging adults thus preventing them from laying eggs elsewhere. Be sure to go through all items in the cabinets and pantry leaving no area ignored. The best approach is to remove everything setting items on the counter or kitchen table. Anything you find contaminated, throw away.
Once the cabinets are empty, treat with DFORCE or PHANTOM aerosol. These two products are quite different from one another so choose the one that best fits your problem. For starters, Dforce is fast acting and best used for large, active populations. When you know where the problem is focused, Dforce is the preferred product to apply.
So if you know where they’re mostly located, treat all cracks and crevices where the adults like to lay eggs. Once treated, let the surfaces dry. This will usually take less than an hour and once dry, put everything back you intend on keeping.
Remember, any questionable food items should be stored in plastic bags as described above. The Dforce is a flushing agent and a contact killer so you’ll get fast control of any beetles nesting where its applied.
Phantom aerosol is quite different compared to D-Force and is better suited for when the problem is hard to isolate. Phantom works slowing and will be “transferred” from one pest to another. It will take 3-4 days to kill and during this time, it will be shared and in doing so effect many more beetles and not just one. So if you’ve been seeing randomly foraging beetles and have no clue where they may be focused, the Phantom is probably the better product to apply.
BEST CABINET BEETLE SPRAY ^
Lastly, if you’re finding adults throughout the whole house and are unsure where to start treating, use D-FENSE applied with our PUMP SPRAYER. This product has no odor, is easy to mix and will knock down any larva or adult quickly. Its more cost effective to use compared to just an aerosol and for warehouses or food processing plants, a necessity.
When spraying, treat all baseboards in the living area and be sure to spray up high in unfinished basements and garage areas where eggs might be laid. D-Fense will last a good 4 weeks and providing a solid residual so emerging larva will die instead of seeking food on which to feed. Mix 1 oz per gallon of water and use 1 gallon of mixed solution to treat up to 800 sq/ft of surface area.
You’ll need a good pump sprayer for applying D-Fense and our private brand comes with all the right nozzles needed.
Once you have identified key areas to treat, Cabinet beetle control will be easy to achieve by setting out traps and treating with Dforce Aerosol. If you have activity throughout the whole house, apply D-Force to rooms by spraying along baseboards, under furniture and other areas where this pest likes to hide. Lastly, be sure to treat cracks and crevices around windows and doors. Combining the traps and the treatment will help to break the Cabinet Beetle cycle so you can effectively kill off local populations and help to prevent future outbreaks.
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