Fighting bacon beetles - this is how to recognize the bacon beetle larva properly

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Bacon beetle larva

Bacon beetles and their larvae leave feeding holes in materials and food as well as their filiform feces. In this way they can contaminate and damage leather, furs, feather pillows, food and plants. In the past, they were dreaded material and storage pests for just that reason. They no longer have this reputation, but the beetles are still annoying and difficult to combat. Even with the right approach, about two months and a lot of effort should be planned for the removal.

Recognize bacon beetle

For the bacon beetles, the unique recognition is not always easy, because in Europe alone well over 100 species are up to mischief and the external characteristics can vary greatly. Important clues in the identification are:
  • a length of one to ten millimeters
  • Roundish oval and compact body shape
  • brown to black base color
  • yellow, red, brown or grayish spots and patterns on the wings
  • can fly
  • hairy, scaled or smooth shell
  • partly occupied by military hair
These are insects belonging to the beetle family, that is pests with a very diverse appearance. Even more difficult is the recognition of the Dermestidae, as these are also called, when representatives are only one to three millimeters in size.
Because of this small length, they often do not catch on for a long time and can therefore spread unhindered.

Identify the eggs of bacon beetles

As a layman to identify the eggs of Dermestidae is hardly possible. Finding can be a daunting task as the beetles lay them down in sheltered, dark and warm areas. Preferred places include:
  • behind baseboards
  • under or in carpets
  • in furs
  • on leather and here primarily in the folds and seams
  • in food
  • in insect collections
Of course, when laying eggs, the pests can also be guided by the availability of the preferred food. Since these can be flowers, cereals but also garbage or dead insects, the differences are again very large.
It is important to know, however, that females produce about 500 eggs per tray, up to six times a year. The descendants multiply themselves generously. Within a short time, a few insects can turn into almost unimaginable populations. An early and thorough fight is therefore crucial.

Bacon beetle larvae and hatching time

After hatching, the larvae already grow to size, which they will later have as adult beetles. Here again, there are considerable differences, which makes detection difficult. In addition, the larvae also keep hidden and are therefore rarely spotted. Basically, however, they have the following characteristics:
  • elongated body, reminiscent of small caterpillars
  • densely covered with hair tufts that appear bristly
  • partly with military hair
  • show different shades of brown

skin beetles

Cork and soft wood are on the menu of the larva next to the substances already mentioned. Their appearance can be noticed, as they leave as well as the adult beetles droppings, which are well visible on a light surface or in food.
During development, the larvae in otherwise closed vessels produce condensation, which can cause the pests yet another problem: mold. Infested food is thus not only contaminated by the feces of the animals, but often spoils.
If the eggs and larvae find optimal conditions, the development from the egg to the adult beetle in the Dermestidae lasts just six to eight weeks. In the field, a larva hatches around April and, as a rule, manages to reproduce only once. So here it stays with a new generation per year.
In the apartment, however, can grow six generations annually. This serious difference is due to the conditions in houses. Optimal for the insects are a fairly high humidity of 65 percent and temperatures of 18 to 25° C. They find this especially in kitchens and bathrooms but also in poorly ventilated and therefore damp rooms. In addition, the food supply in apartments for the beetles is very high and they have numerous hiding places and no natural enemies.

The bacon beetle as a building villain

Beetles and larvae can not only cause damage in the pantry through their varied diet and their powerful bites, but also attack the building fabric. They eat wood, cork, leather - but they also drill into mortar. Really safe is hardly anything in front of them.
If an infestation remains unrecognized for a long time, the damage due to the rapid multiplication will be very large. But there is good news.The bites refer to food and materials, human skin is usually spared.

Prevent bacon beetles

An entry of individual bacon beetles into the home, for example, about food, can not be avoided. Even the occasional visitor can show up, as these insects are airworthy. Nevertheless, there are some ways to prevent infestation.
Important for this are the following three points:
  • Dry, longer-lasting food and animal feed should be checked and stored in airtight and strong packaging, preferably glass. Cardboard and plastic allow various species of bacon beetles to eat easily, both from outside to inside and from inside to outside. For longer storage, the food should be checked again and again, preferably every month.

  • Higher humidity is good for the skin and mucous membranes, but also for the beetles. Regular thorough airing and prevents spread of beetles and mold at the same time and protects your health.

  • A thorough cleaning of the dwelling can suffocate the spread of Dermestidae, so to speak, in the bud. Siphoning off upholstered furniture, carpets and the areas under the carpets and all corners in connection with frequent wiping, deprives some species of livelihood and is simply too much stress.

Pheromone traps for identification and control of bacon beetles

Special pheromone traps attract the male Dermestidae through sexual fragrance. The beetles cling to it in search of a reproducible female. This has three advantages:
  • the beetles can be identified
  • the trapped males can not reproduce
  • the extent of the infestation becomes visible
Tip: The traps should be placed in each room for two or three more months after detection or suspicion of pest infestation. If they remain insect free for at least eight weeks, the fight was successful.

Fighting by cleaning

Carpets need to be tapped, home textiles should be washed or steam cleaned if possible, but at least vacuumed, back corners and corners cleaned as well. It should be kept in mind that the livestock eggs, larvae and adult insects preferably live in dark, warm and humid areas and are found where food is present.

Bacon beetle larva

It can be a feather pillow, a leather bag or the supplies in the pantry. If leaking packages, feces or the insects or their larvae themselves are found by the bites of the beetle, the site should be cleaned very thoroughly. Food must be disposed of and, if necessary, the area behind the baseboards inspected and cleaned. Textiles should be washed at 60° C. If this is not possible they should be put into dry cleaning.

Fight through frost and heat

A natural means of controlling the speckle beetle and its larvae are very high or low temperatures. However, even small temperature differences mean great differences in the duration of treatment. At 60° C, ten minutes are enough. At 55° C, however, it should be one hour. At -20° C for several days. It is ideal for the degrees of freezing, always to accelerate a quick thawing and then freeze again. With such fluctuations, the metabolism of insects can not keep up.

Fight bacon beetle with natural enemies

In the apartment, the bacon beetles have no natural enemies. But that's easy and safe to change. So-called parasitic wasps can neither fly nor sting, but make short work of many insects. In addition, the beneficials can be used both outdoors and indoors and disappear on their own if they find no corresponding insects more than food.
So there is no need to worry about getting the next plague into the house or into the garden with the parasitic wasps. When used, the following happens:
  • A card with parasitic wasp eggs is hung or placed in the infested area.
  • After hatching, the parasitic wasps look for insect larvae and lay their eggs in them.
  • The next generation of parasitic wasps feed on the larvae or adult beetles, killing them from the inside out.
The parasitic wasps are not yet proven and known to help against bacon beetles and are increasingly used against other pests, such as moths. However, they are cheap and safe and, due to their small size, they also reach areas where cleaning is difficult or impossible without considerable effort.

Combine treatments and repeat

Often it is not enough to use only one method and to do it only once. Due to the spread of the bacon beetles, the places of their oviposition and their resistance as well as the versatile nutritional basis, the propagation and the development time of six to eight weeks, the pests are very persistent.
Therefore, these methods should be combined with each other and should be carried out for two to three months every four to six weeks.
In this way, re-oviposition is prevented and also new slipped larvae fought.
Speck beetles are annoying in the apartment, in the garden they can both damage plants and eliminate carcasses - are therefore not only harmful. Due to their strong dissemination and their big appetite, they should be urgently and early tackled in the house. If you do not have time or patience, you should rely on a professional pest controller, but do not even resort to insecticides yourself.

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