How To Get Rid of Beetles (2022 Edition)

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Did you know there are over 300,000 types of beetles throughout the world? Most beetles prefer the outdoors, but many may come into your home in large groups if they find favorable conditions. Even outdoor beetles will wander into our homes, typically around the end of summer, and as long as they find access to food, many species of beetles can comfortably live inside. 

So, if you have a beetle infestation, what can you do to get rid of beetles?

In this comprehensive beetle guide, we cover the following: 

  • How To Get Rid of Beetles in Your Home
  • How To Get Rid of Beetles in Your Yard
  • How To Prevent Beetles
  • How To Identify Beetles
  • Signs & Causes of a Beetle Infestation
Reviewed By:
Ed Spicer

Ed has been working in the pest control industry for years helping 1,000's of homeowners navigate the world of insect and rodent management. He manages Pest Strategies now helping homeowners around the world!

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Table Of Contents

    How To Get Rid of Beetles in Your Home 

    Beetles have infiltrated your home, and you, understandably, want them out. Here are our top tips for eliminating beetles in your home: 

    • Seal off all food. Many species of beetles will go after food in your home. Ensure that all food in your pantry is properly sealed off in airtight containers and not left open for beetles to wander into.
    • Use your vacuum cleaner. Carpet beetles are attracted to fabric and upholstery. Vacuum your home thoroughly, including carpets, rugs, mattresses, storage areas, sofas, closets, and more to suck up carpet beetle eggs and even adult beetles. 
    • Purchase an insecticide meant for the home. Consider using an insecticide indoors to treat your home for beetles when you have an ongoing beetle problem. After your beetle problem is under control, take appropriate preventive measures to repel beetles in the future. 
    • Apply boric acid power throughout your home. Boric acid is effective at killing many different beetles and pests that homeowners may find in their homes. Apply boric acid in thin lines around affected areas and near entry points, like your window sill. 
    • Get rid of items that are badly damaged. If you find clothing, blankets, or other things that have suffered a lot of beetle damage, get rid of them. While this isn’t ideal, it can prevent beetle eggs that may be on the item from hatching and infesting more items in your closet. 
    • Hire a professional to steam clean your home. Pressurized hot water treatments and steam cleanings can kill off carpet beetles living in your carpets or furniture. Hire a professional to deep clean your home with steam or pressurized hot water treatments to quickly kill off the beetle population. This will be a practical step in beetle control for your home, then follow up with preventative techniques to repel beetles in the future.  

    Use a dehumidifier. Insects are attracted to moisture in your home. Use a dehumidifier as an effective DIY solution to reduce excess moisture in the air. This step will help kill beetles and insects already inside your home and prevent new beetles from entering.

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    How To Get Rid of Beetles in Your Yard 

    You’ve spotted beetles in your yard. So, how do you get rid of beetles? 

    • Use a curative insecticide. Curative insecticides are short-term, residual pesticides that can kill new grubs, also known as beetle larvae. Early to mid-August is a commonly recommended time of year for applying curative insecticides because many destructive beetles, especially the Japanese beetle, will have young grubs at this time. 
    • Use a boring hole application. If you have bark beetles or pine bark beetles, a sprayed insecticide may not be the best choice, especially if you’re concerned about spraying insecticides around your property. Applying pesticide inside boring holes is a more direct approach to killing bark beetles. 
    • Remove infected trees. If you have bark beetles and your tree is heavily infested, removing the infected tree may be your best option. Removal will limit the risk of the infestation spreading to other trees in your area. 
    • Use neem oil. Neem trees are found in Asia, and their oils are a naturally occurring pesticide. Neem oil has a sulfur smell and slightly bitter taste that is unpleasant for insects. On top of this, neem oil interferes with insects’ hormones, which prevents them from reproducing and reduces their ability to eat away at a tree. You can purchase neem oil sprays that are easy to apply to plants and trees on your property. If you use neem oil, it’s crucial that you apply this to all the plants in your yard because the beetles may just move to other plants that are not sprayed with neem oil. 
    • If you have Japanese beetle grubs, try beneficial nematodes. Grubs live underground, making them difficult to kill off. Try purchasing beneficial nematodes, which are tiny worms that hunt over 200 kinds of pests, to deal with your grub problem quickly. Nematodes are natural predators to grubs and will promptly deal with them and help your pest management out greatly.
    • Clean up your yard. Clear any fallen fruit from fruit trees in your backyard to eliminate possible food sources for beetles. Hand pick fruit that is ripe immediately and store it inside to keep beetles from feeding on it. Trim any tree branches touching or close to your home or roof to prevent beetles from using the branch as easy access to your home.

    Purchase a beetle repellent. Many beetle repellents are available on the market that can quickly eliminate beetles in your home and yard. Make sure you pay close attention to the application and safety instructions, especially if you have kids or pets.

    There are over 25,000 types of beetles in North America, and their looks can vary dramatically based on the species. All beetles will have developed antennae and strong chewing mouthparts, which allows them to eat their food of choice. 

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    How to Prevent Beetles 

    If you don’t have beetles, you’ll want to take pest control steps to prevent beetles from taking over your yard and home.

    • Use a preventative pesticide. Applying preventative pesticides in your yard, typically from May to July, is a great way to prevent pesty beetles, like the Japanese beetle, which will get ready to breed during this time of the year. This pesticide will kill the adult beetles, their eggs, and any grubs that hatch from them. Many like using preventative pesticides because they have a long residual effect that can last up to a year in some cases. 
    • Properly prune your yard. Regular and responsible pruning not only keeps your trees and yard healthier, but it helps you to avoid infestation. Pruning pastes made of diatomaceous earth can also help you protect areas of trees that are cut away. If needed, a pruning professional can significantly help in preventing outdoor beetle infestations. 
    • Place mulch around your trees. Mulch reduces your risk of pine bark beetle infestation by keeping your trees’ roots healthy and watered. When trees are weakened, they’re more prone to infestation, so keeping your trees stronger with mulch can benefit your trees’ health and prevent infestations. 
    • Plant geraniums in your yard. Japanese beetles eat almost any kind of plant, even geraniums, which are toxic to them. Plant your geraniums strategically around or near other plants that you do not want beetles feeding on. Geranium consumption will kill most Japanese beetles quickly, preventing them from eating your other plants and having larvae. You can also purchase geranium oil and use this as a spray application on your plants to repel beetles.  

    Inspect your home for cracks and gaps. Beetles and other pests will use any cracks or crevices in your home’s exterior to enter your house. Regularly check for wall gaps, cracks, or holes in your walls, vents, and doorways. If you find any, use a sealant or caulking product to fill the hole and prevent pests from using this to enter.


    beetle

    How To Identify Beetles

    Beetles are incredibly destructive pests that can damage your home and property. There are a few primary types of beetles: 

    • Food product beetles (warehouse beetles or flour beetles)
    • Wood-destroying beetles (bark beetles)
    • Fabric infesting beetles (carpet beetles)

    There are over 25,000 types of beetles in North America, and their looks can vary dramatically based on the species. All beetles will have developed antennae and strong chewing mouthparts, which allows them to eat their food of choice. 

    All beetle species have the following characteristics: 

    • Wings: Most beetles are bad fliers, but they will have front wings that appear hard like a protective shell. Beetle wings are water-resistant and protect them against environmental hazards and dehydration. 
    • Size: Beetles come in many sizes, colors, and shapes, so the form of a beetle is not the easiest way to identify a pest as a beetle. Most beetles are between a couple of centimeters long to a few inches long. 
    • Appearance: The majority of beetle species have visible antennae and strong mouthparts that can chew tough materials, such as roots, wood, fabric, or foliage. 

    Common types of beetles in the United States: 

    • Japanese Beetles: Japanese beetles are oval-shaped and have large green or blue heads. Their outer wings are coppery and shiny. Japanese beetles are not shy and will be easier to spot than other beetles who tend to hide. Common signs of Japanese beetles include skeletonized leaves that leave your plants looking hollowed out. Japanese beetle larvae, otherwise known as grubs, are even more destructive than adult beetles because they tunnel underneath your garden’s lawn and destroy the roots of the grass. 
    • Carpet Beetles: Carpet beetles love destroying fabrics, such as wool and upholstered furniture. They typically hide in dark, quiet parts of the house and often go unnoticed until the damage they cause is noted. They have small, hard, and round bodies, with wings that are tucked underneath their shells. 
    • Asian Beetles: Most types of lady beetles, also known as ladybugs, are considered beneficial insects. However, the Asian lady beetle is new to the United States and emits unpleasant odors, overwinters, and leaves yellow stains everywhere. Like ladybugs, Asian lady beetles are a reddish color with black spots on their back. Asian lady beetles have a distinct M-shaped marking behind their head.
    • Bark Beetles: Bark beetles are tiny insects that reproduce underneath bark on forest trees. Bark beetles are notorious for destroying the bark on trees and are typically found along the west coast through the Rocky Mountain region of the United States. Common signs of bark beetles include ruined bark, dying trees, and dead trees.

    Signs & Causes of a Beetle Infestation 

    Knowing why you have beetles can help you prevent them from infesting your home in the future. So, what are the signs and causes of beetle infestations? 

    Causes: 

    • Easy access to food, such as stored grains, packaged foods, and fabric
    • Beetles may be brought inside infested products
    • Search for shelter (overwintering)
    • Infested firewood, lumber, and furniture may bring beetles inside
    • Overgrown plants, shrubs, and trees

    Signs of an indoor beetle infestation: 

    • Damage to outdoor plants, furniture, or clothing
    • Eaten food (especially sweets or packaged foods) 
    • Chewing holes in carpet, clothing, or other items
    • Spotting adult beetles, especially near windows or entry points
    • Shed beetle skins (look under and near furniture)
    • Droppings (they look like pellets and are typically brown or black, about the size of a grain of sand)

    Signs of an outdoor beetle infestation: 

    • Holes underneath sections of bark
    • Dead or degraded bark
    • Reddish-brown material that looks like coffee grounds at the base of trees
    • Tubes on tree bark
    • Dying trees or plants
    • Skeletonized leaves
    • Defoliation
    • Eaten flowers or plants
    • Spotting beetles on your plants

    Final Thoughts 

    Beetles come in many shapes, sizes, and forms. Each has its own preferred food source, ranging from raspberries to rose bushes to the flour sitting in your pantry, so it can be difficult to fully prevent every kind of beetle from coming into your yard and home. 

    If you find beetles, don’t wait for the problem to get out of hand. Immediately take action using the tips in this piece to fight back. If the situation worsens, don’t hesitate to reach out to your local pest control professional, who can quickly identify and treat the specific kinds of beetles they find in your yard and home.

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