3. February 2011 09:38
These beetles were first reported in North Carolina in 1992.
Multicolored Asian lady beetles are about 1/4 inch long. Females are slightly larger than males and specimens from higher elevations are larger than those from the Piedmont and Coastal Plains. These lady beetles vary greatly in appearance. Some have yellowish or orange forewings. Some have beige forewings and some are bright reddish orange.
During the spring and summer, these lady beetles feed on aphids in field crops, gardens, meadows and trees. Multicolored Asian lady beetles are effective predators of aphids and some scale insects and are extremely beneficial for both agricultural and horticultural crops.
As temperatures start to cool in the fall , the adult lady beetles begin their search for protected places in which they can pass the winter. The beetles use visual or physical cues to find suitable overwintering sites. These locations tend to be the sunnier or warmer sides of buildings, or on exposed, light-colored buildings. Of course, this doesn't mean that people with dark-colored siding, brick or log homes are immune to the lady beetle assault. Recent research suggests that, once the beetles arrive at the site, they use chemical cues to locate the specific crevice they want to inhabit within the structure. The sources of these chemical cues have not been clearly identified, but may be beetle feces from the previous winter, the odor of beetles that died at the site, or an attractant pheromone. These factors may help to explain why beetles seem to pick the same sites (not necessarily every year, but perhaps more frequently than they pick nearby areas).
From the exterior of the house, they may move indoors by crawling under defective weather stripping or by crawling and flying in open doors on warm days. The beetles can fit through very small gaps or cracks in siding, masonry, around window and door casings, and even through attic and soffit vents. The beetles hibernate as adults, usually in wall voids (they cannot survive long in the heated rooms of a house). On warm days, they may become active and move towards light or bright surfaces. The beetles are often found on windows, light fixtures and ceilings. The multicolored Asian lady beetle does not reproduce indoors. In spring, they will move outdoors in search of prey.
Fortunately, multicolored Asian lady beetles are primarily a nuisance only. If squashed, however, the beetles may stain fabric and painted surfaces. They do not eat wood or furniture. Some people have reported receiving a mild "nip" by beetles that have landed on them. There have been concerns that large numbers of beetles may possibly cause air quality problems indoors that could trigger allergies and/or asthmatic reactions.
Pesticides have limited effectiveness in stopping the beetle invasion.While exclusion is not 100% effective, preventing the beetles from entering the home is currently one of the best long-term approaches to dealing with the lady beetles
23. January 2011 09:46
Cigarette beetles are quite small, measuring about 2 to 3 mm (about 1/8 of an inch), and are reddish brown. They have a rounded, oval shape and the head is often concealed by the pronotum when the beetle is viewed from above.
The elytra (wing covers) are covered with fine hairs. When disturbed they often pull in their legs, tuck their head and lay motionless. They prefer to reside in dark or dimly lit cracks, nooks and crevices but become active and fly readily in bright, open areas, probably in an attempt to find refuge.
They are most active at dusk and will continue activity through the night. Adults do not feed but will drink liquids.
Cigarette beetles look almost identical to drugstore beetles but can be distinguished by two easily identifiable characters: the antennae of the cigarette beetle are serrated (like the teeth on a saw) while the antennae of the drugstore beetle are not and end in a 3-segmented club.
The other difference is that drugstore beetle elytra have rows of pits giving them a striated (lined) appearance while those of the cigarette beetle are smooth.
Besides the dubious honor of being the most damaging pest of stored tobacco, the cigarette beetle also is a major pest of many stored food products including flours, dry mixes, dried fruits such as dates and raisins, cereals, cocoa, coffee beans, herbs, spices, nuts, rice, dry dog food and other products kept in kitchen cabinets, pantries, hurricane food supply storage containers, and other areas in the home. Non-food products that it infests include dried plants and herbarium specimens, dried floral arrangements, potpourri,decorative grapevine wreaths, prescription drugs and pills, medicinal herbs, pinned insects, furniture stuffing, papier-mâché‚and bookbinding paste.
Larval feeding causes direct damage to foodstuffs and non-food items. These products are contaminated by the presence of beetles, larvae, pupae, cocoons, frass (fecal material), and insect parts. Beetles chewing through cardboard boxes and containers, and packaging cause indirect damage. Cocoons are often attached to a solid substrate and in severe infestations form large clusters. Larvae will sometimes bore their way through cardboard boxes and other packaging in search of a place to pupate.
Controlling cigarette beetle infestations in the home is relatively simple; insecticides should be used only as a last resort. Locating the source of infestation is the first and most important step. Heavily infested items should be wrapped in heavy plastic, taken outside and thrown away. All food containers and items should be checked for infestation. Items can be placed in the refrigerator or freezer (16 days at 36°F, 7 days at 25°F or 32°F for four to seven days) to kill all stages. Place items in a plastic bag to reduce condensation problems during thawing. Heating small quantities of infested material in an oven (190°F for one hour, 120°F for 16 to 24 hours) also is effective. Uninfested items can be cold- or heat-treated to ensure that any undetected infestations are killed. To prevent reinfestation, clean up spilled flour, mixes, crumbs, etc. and thoroughly vacuum and clean areas where the contaminated items were stored. Store foods in airtight glass, metal or plastic containers. Clear containers make it easier to check for infestations. Chemical treatment using commercially available insecticides is usually not necessary. There are several insecticides and insect growth regulators labeled for use on cigarette beetles.
19. December 2010 09:15
The old house borer is one of the most injurious wood-boring insects . The name is somewhat misleading since a large number of infestations are noticed in homes just four to seven years after construction. The larva bores through wood and also feeds on it. Tunnels made by the larva weaken structural timbers. The borers feed only in pine, spruce, and other coniferous woods.
The old house borer is native to North Africa and is believed to have arrived in North America around 1875. The beetles currently range from Maine to Florida and west to Michigan and Texas.
The adult beetles emerge mainly during July and August. They mate, then the female deposits her eggs in the natural cracks and crevices of the bark of felled logs and in wood stored in lumberyards. Subsequently, infested timber may be used in newly constructed buildings. In wood, the larval stage may last from three to fifteen years. The average time for the borers to reach maturity (in structures heated year long) appears to be from five to seven years. The majority of borers are secreted in the thicker timbers of a building. Very few ever have been located in wood less than one-inch thick. Nearly all the structural infestations are started by old house borer larvae in some of the original construction timber. Most infestations remain localized. However, where excessive wood moisture is found, such as poorly vented attics and leaky roofs, beetles will flourish, spread to other structural items and cause much damage in a short period of time.
An infestation of old house borers is evidenced by the presence of the adults their emergence holes, or by the larvae and larval tunnels in the wood. The black to gray beetles are 5/8 to 1 inch in length and possess long antennae. Fine, gray hairs are present on the thorax with two shiny raised areas on each side. Patches of gray hairs are visible on the wing covers in irregular lateral bands. The pointed abdomen of the females will typically extend beyond the ends of the wing covers. Emergence holes made by the adult beetles are somewhat oval and 1/4 inch in diameter. The cream-colored larvae are up to 1-1/4 inch in length. On each side of the head are three distinct, dark eyes (ocelli) arranged vertically behind the mouthparts. The larval body tapers towards the posterior end. Tunnels made by the larvae contain a sawdust-like material known as frass. The tunnel walls are sculptured (showing where the mandibles scraped away the wood), and the frass is barrel-shaped. The larva, while chewing with its hard jaws, emits a rasping or clicking sound (very similar to the sound produced by clicking fingernails), are often audible to the householder.
The following points should aid in discouraging old house borer infestations:
Rough-cut lumber should be kiln-dried to kill all stages of the beetle.
Uninfested wood which is sanded and varnished will not normally be attacked by the adult beetles because they cannot find crevices in the wood surface into which they would deposit their eggs.
Surface sprays containing borates will prevent newly hatched larvae from entering the wood. However, this technique is not effective on wood which has been varnished, waxed or otherwise sealed from attack by moisture. The borates will last indefinitely, provided the treated wood is kept dry to prevent water from leaching the material.