How to Get Rid of Asian Beetles in the House, Hunker

How to Get Rid of Asian Beetles in the House

There’s a wise old tale that states you should never kill a ladybug because they’ll bring you good luck, but if you’ve ever come across an Asian lady beetle, you know they can be the bane of your existence. Although Asian lady beetles look just like ladybugs, several characteristics will make you not want these pesky bugs hibernating in your house throughout the winter. They may be a huge pest, but there are ways to get rid of Asian beetles in the house.

Asian Lady Beetles

Adult Asian lady beetles are known to be oval-shaped and measure to be about a quarter inch long. You can find these beetles in a variety of colors, such as tan, orange and red, and they have many black spots on the wing covers. Although the black spots are a common indicator of these beetles, some have limited spots or none at all.

You can tell the difference between male and female beetles because male beetles have few to no spots and females are generally multi-spotted. If you look closely, some beetles have small, dark M- or W-shaped markings on the whitish area behind their head.

Asian lady beetles lay eggs that are yellow, oval and in clusters. These clusters can be found on the underside of leaves with larvae that are orange or black. In the native Asian lands, you can see the beetles living in trees, mainly cohabitating in forests or orchards. In Japan, you can find them in soybean fields. In the United States, though, you can find the beetles living in ornamental and agricultural crops, such as roses, corn, soybeans, alfalfa and tobacco.

Where are Asian Lady Beetles From?

Asian lady beetles, also known as Harmonia axyridis (Pallas) were first reported in the early 1900s. Asian beetles are native to Asia, hence their name, and can be found in China, Russia, Korea and Japan. Asian lady beetles are known to dwell in trees and fields and they prey on aphids (a minute bug that feeds by sucking sap from plants and causes massive damage to crops) and scale insects.

From the 1960s to 1990s, the U.S. Department of Agriculture used Asian lady beetles to control damaging crop pests. Large amounts of these beetles were released in Georgia, South Carolina, Louisiana, Mississippi, California, Washington, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Maryland to control the damage to crops, especially to pecan and apple trees.

Ladybugs vs. Asian Lady Beetles

Ladybugs and Asian lady beetles may look the same, but they act very differently from one another. Ladybugs are highly beneficial, harmless insects that don’t bite, and they don’t congregate in large numbers. When it gets cold, ladybugs will seek shelter outdoors, not indoors.

These two bugs look similar to one another, but Asian lady beetles are a bit larger than ladybugs. Ladybugs are also bright red with black spots. Asian Lady beetles emit a foul-smelling, yellow liquid from their leg joints when they feel threatened.

Asian Lady Beetle Infestation

If Asian lady beetles have found a place in your home, it’s difficult to get them out. Although there are several ways to get rid of them, even if they’re inside your house, the easiest way is by using a vacuum cleaner.

The beetles like to congregate in large numbers throughout the late fall and disperse over winter. They’ll cluster on the sides of homes or buildings and will find their way in through small cracks, crevices, natural breaks in window panes, door jams or through the foundations of houses and buildings. They like to find places to spend the winter and will hibernate until the first warm days of late winter/early spring.

Asian lady beetles are attracted to lighter colored houses and buildings. The reason they stay away from darker homes or buildings is that they prefer places that are illuminated by the sun. This is why you’ll mostly find them congregating on the south or southwest side of a structure.

Asian Beetle Spray

The key to getting rid of Asian lady beetles is prevention through the use of spraying. Using a fast-acting synthetic spray should prevent Asian lady beetles from forming clusters or entering your home in the fall.

You should spray the south and southwest exposure of your house or building in the fall and spring because once the beetles have found a place in your home, it’s difficult to get them out.

Natural Ways to Clear Beetles

If you don’t want to use a synthetic spray to prevent Asian lady beetles from infesting your house or building, there are natural steps you can take. Since the beetles will come to your house throughout fall, closer to winter, you need to make sure that you winterize your home.

Make sure that all of your doors and windows are sealed, caulk your windows and replace weather stripping so that it’s not easy for the beetles to come into your house.

You also need to act fast when you see the first sign of these bugs. Asian lady beetles can multiply pretty quickly because they’re good at communicating and attract one another with their scents.

Gardening and Asian Lady Beetles

It’s pretty easy to get rid of Asian lady beetles by upping your gardening game since they eat aphids. If you want to deter them from entering your home, start a garden and it will attract them to that area.

If you want to keep them completely away from your home, plant mums. Lady beetles hate mums, and they’re actually a key ingredient in flea powder. All you have to do is plant mums near windows and other areas around your house or building. Planting mums on the south facing wall will surely deter them.

Natural Ingredients to Deter Beetles

There are a couple of natural ingredients you can use to deter Asian lady beetles. You can use Diatomaceous Earth powder by spreading it around the base of your house or building.

Asian lady beetles also don’t like citrus or citronella scents. You can make a citrus spray by using wild orange essential oil. Dilute the oil in water, then spray this solution in the areas where the beetles are.

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Asian lady beetles also hate bay leaves and cloves. You can place small bags of cloves or bay leaves in areas that are heavily infested.

What Are Orange Ladybugs?

Unlike regular ladybugs, orange ladybugs can be super aggressive and bite, so you have to be careful around them. Ladybugs prefer not to bite humans, but they do have sharp mouths. More often than not, though, they’ll release a foul odor to ward off prey instead of resorting to biting.

Ladybugs aren’t poisonous or dangerous, can’t transmit parasites or diseases and if they do bite you, it will only cause a raised red bump. Although they do have sharp mouths, they rarely break through the skin when they do bite.

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How to Treat Woodworms in Finished Furniture

A woodworm hole marks the exit of a wood-boring beetle.

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«Woodworm» is something of a misnomer, because the creatures that produce the tiny wormholes that mar wood furniture are actually beetles. The most common is known as the furniture beetle, and once you see its holes in your furniture, the infestation is over two years old. Woodworm is common in Europe — especially the United Kingdom, which has the damp climate the beetles prefer — and control products are more readily available there than in the United States. If you don’t have access to an appropriate product, you can also kill woodworms by heating the infested piece of furniture.

Dry the infested piece of furniture thoroughly. Woodworm beetles need moisture to survive — high humidity and dampness probably caused the infestation in the first place.

Heat the furniture to 140 degrees Fahrenheit and keep it at that temperature for 24 hours to kill the beetles, larvae and eggs. If the piece is small enough, you can put it in the oven or on top of a radiator. To heat a larger piece, you may need to put it in a small room or closet with an electric heater. If you do this, monitor the temperature frequently to avoid overheating the wood or any upholstery.

Inject woodworm oil into the holes. You can buy this type of oil in an aerosol can, which has an attached tube for directed spraying. You can also inject the oil using a syringe.

Point the tip of the tube or syringe into one of the holes and inject the liquid until you see it coming out from one of the other wormholes, which may be located several inches away. Wear goggles when doing this, because the oil may back up inside the wood until there is enough pressure to forcibly eject it from the hole.

Rub some of the oil around each hole, and wipe the excess off with a clean rag. Let the oil dry for for several days in a well-ventilated room.

Pack the holes with beeswax- or lacquer-based wood filler after the oil has dried. Along with improving the appearance of the wood, filling the holes helps in the detection of future beetle activity.

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Stop the Woodworm Infestation in Your Furniture

Although more rare than cockroaches or rodents, woodworms are amongst the most destructive household pests.

Home owners, who have been unlucky enough to experience such infestation, know how hard it is to get rid of those pesky invaders and how the damage they do is often beyond any repair. That’s why it is crucial to understand the common reasons why woodworms might infest your home.

Table of Contents

What is a Woodworm?

Woodworm is a collective term given to the wood boring larvae of several species of beetles, the most famous of which is the Death watch beetle.

What Causes Woodworm to Appear?

As with almost all insect larvae, these “worms” thrive in warm, humid conditions and prefer the hospitality that rotten timber has to offer. Damp environments, caused by leaks or bad insulation, can quickly cause the wood to decay and it won’t be long before woodworms settle in.

Fungal problems, such as mould and mildew, only make matters worse as they weaken the structure of the wood and make it easier for the larvae to burrow deeper.

Another reason for the infestations is keeping untreated wooden material at your property. This includes not only driftwood and firewood, but also untreated furniture items, chattels, and even structural elements.

Signs of Woodworm in Furniture

The most obvious signs of a woodworm infestation in your wooden furniture include an often visible darkening of the colour, lots of holes in the wood, a cracking sound coming from the furniture and, to top it all off, you might find one or two adult beetles nearby.

How to Tell If a Woodworm Is Active?

There exists the general misconception that once you see the holes in the wood, it means the woodworm has grown up and has left the nest.

And, in most cases, this is true. However, the same now grown-up beetle might come back and lay eggs in the place it once called home. As a result, your furniture will turn into a breeding ground for these insects.

What you should be looking for instead is an adult carcass, fresh ejected frass, and also checking the number and density of the holes.

What is the Difference Between Woodworm and Termites?

Termites and woodworms both eat wood and are equally devastating, but making a difference between the two is the first step towards coming up with the appropriate solution.

The first difference stems from the fact that a woodworm is the larvae of specific types of beetles, while termites are a very social cockroach that live in colonies.

Unlike woodworms, termites do not bore visible holes in the wooden furniture, which is why it’s harder to detect them until there are more obvious signs.

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How to Get Rid of Woodworm in the Furniture

Follow those steps below to banish woodworm in furniture:

  • Step 1. Scan the damages. First, you need to be sure you’re dealing with a woodworm. Are there any holes? Do you hear the occasional cracking sound from your furniture? If yes, here’s what you should do next.
  • Step 2. Determine whether the furniture can be saved. Most of the time, the woodworm would be eating the most upper layers of the wood furniture, while leaving the core and possibly even the surrounding areas untouched. This way, you’ll only need to treat the specific spot. However, if the structure seems weak, it might be better to simply throw it away.
  • Step 3. Purchase a commercial woodworm treatment solution containing Permethrin. The products solutions you’ll find on the market today come in large tubes and are highly concentrated. Some you will need to dilute with water and some not. Read the label carefully before use. Some products are for a specific type of woodworm, while others are universal. If you are not sure what product to buy, you can consider booking an inspection and having your timbers treated professionally.
  • Step 4. Wear protective gear. You’ll need to put on a gas mask, since you’ll be working with a toxic chemical.
  • Step 5. Remove finish and paint. Get some sandpaper and sand the infested section of your furniture piece. Any kind of finish or paint should be removed before applying the product.
  • Step 6. Spray the solution over the damaged area. This will kill anything living inside. Recoat the surface of the damaged wood.
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How to Protect Furniture from Woodworm

Choosing a professional product is recommended for anyone who decides to treat this problem themselves. Sure, they are costly, but they are your best chance of treating the infestation.

But if anyone prefers to make their own product, here is what you should use for a…

DIY Woodworm Treatment

The first thing you must do is keep the room temperature dry as humidity attracts the beetles very easily.

Next, you need to melt beeswax and tint it into the colour of the wood, enough to fill in the holes. This method is sure to work as woodworms hate beeswax. However, it’s not a long term solution.

Alternatively, you may conceal the damage with ‘wood putty.’

Put sawdust into a cup and stir it together with wood glue until everything becomes a paste. Smear the mixture into the holes and immediately wipe away with a damp cloth. Let it dry out.

And, even if the woodworm is obviously gone, it would be a good idea to treat the rest of your wooden furniture with the same solution. The beetle might have simply left through the window, so pre-treat your remaining possessions just to be sure it doesn’t find itself a new nest.

Keep in mind that professional pest control exterminators know how to deal with woodworm infestations a lot faster and easier.

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How To Kill And Get Rid Of Powderpost Beetles

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Powder Post Beetle Distribution Map

Powderpost beetles can be found all along the eastern and western coastlines of the United States. They are very prominent from Florida up through Rhode Island and from Southern California up through Washington state.

Powder Post Beetle Description

Anobiid powderpost beetles are the most common of all powderpost beetles. These wood infesting beetles have bodies that consist of a head that appears to be “hoodlike».. Their bodies are cylindrical, or elongated, and they are generally a reddish-brown/black color. They have protective wings that feature distinct pit-like rows, giving them a rigid, or hardened, appearance.

Anobiid powderpost beetles are usually only 1/16-3/8 of an inch long. However, it isn’t uncommon to find larger varieties in buildings, with some being up to 1/4 of an inch long.

While the adult Anobiid powderpost beetles are reddish-brown to black in color, the mature worm like larvae are white and appear to be C-shaped. However, they do have the enlarged thorax and can also be 3/16-1/2 inch long like the adults. Anobiid powderpost beetles are true insects and have six legs.

Adult anobiid powderpost beetle

(actual size — 3/16 inch)

Anobiid powderpost beetles are the most common powderpost beetle in the United States.

Anobiid powderpost beetle larvae

(actual size -1/16 inch)

Anobiid powderpost beetle larvae do most of the damage to wood. They eat the wood from the inside and turn it into a fine powder resembling everything from flour to coffee grains.

Lyctid adult powderpost beetle

(actual size -1/8 inch)

Anobiid powderpost beetle «exit» holes.

Anobiid beetle holes are large, about 1/8 inch. The adult beetle emerges from within the wood to lay eggs. These holes are either old or new. New exit holes will have the color of freshly sawed wood. Old holes will be oxidized and dark.

Anobiid powderpost beetle damage looks like tiny gritty pellets.

Lyctid powderpost beetle damage looks like fine flour. Lyctid powderpost beetle holes are very small, about 1/16 inch.The Lyctid powder post beetle exit holes are much smaller than anobiid.

Powder Post Beetle Facts

You may think that the powder post beetle that is attacking your wood products are the adults, however, most damage done to furniture is from the larvae. This is because the adults don’t live very long — usually only long enough to lay eggs. Once the eggs hatch and the larvae are out, they begin to bore into and feed on the wood surrounding them. It can take up to 5 years before the larvae will mature into an adult. This means that they may be feeding on your furniture for up to 5 years! There have been reports of powder post beetles emerging from furniture 35 years after it was infested!

Powder post beetles go through a complete metamorphosis, just like a fly or a flea. There is an egg, larvae, pupae and adult. Once the larvae have turned into adults, they will emerge from the wood. This will most likely happen during any of the months between April and July. You may notice tiny holes in your furniture from this process – these are called «exit» holes. You may also find piles of sawdust like waste. This is called «Frass». The frass can be anything from flour like (really fine) up to very coarse (coffee grounds). The type of frass that you find is a very good indication of the species of beetle.

Once the adult female powderpost beetle emerges, it will mate with an adult male. She will then lay her eggs either on or beneath a piece of unfinished wood. Sometimes they will crawl into a crack or a joint in the wood to lay their eggs. While adults do not live long, they can live for several days or weeks. They are nocturnal in nature, making it difficult to find them during the day.

Types of Powder Post Beetles

All three of these beetles are found in the US and are considered “powder post beetles” because they are all wood-boring beetles that destroy wood by turning it into a fine powder called «frass».

Anobiid Powderpost Beetles

Anobiid Powderpost beetles belong to the Anobiidae beetle family. They are close relatives to the Bostrichidae and Lyctidae beetle families. They are sometimes called «false powder post beetles».

Anobiid powderpost beetles usually only attack sapwood, but they have been found in heartwood on rare occasions. They are most commonly found in the Pacific Northwest and are the most abundant on the coastal areas. The reason for this is that they do best when moisture is present. Unlike Lyctid and Bostrichidae powderpost beetles, the» frass» or powder of Anobiids are formed into tiny gritty fecal pellets. It’s very coarse and almost like coffee grounds in most cases.

Anobiid powder post beetles will attack both hard and soft woods. They can RE-INFEST wood indoors in most cases.

Lyctid powderpost beetles

Custom home builders should beware that the expensive ash paneling and trim that they are installing in their beautiful new home could be infested with powder post beetles! The «frass» or powder from Lyctid powder post beetles is flour like. The exit holes are small pencil lead size holes, usually all the same size.

Lyctid powder post beetles will usually only attack hard woods, although they have been reported in some soft woods as well. Lyctid Powder Post Beetles DO NOT NORMALLY reinfest wood inside of homes, although it can happen.

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Bostrichidae powderpost beetles

Bostrichidae powderpost beetles are not as common as Lyctid and Anobiid powderpost beetles because they are usually only found in the tropics. They can be found in both soft woods and hard woods, but they prefer soft woods. Their «frass» or powder is very coarse -about the size of coffee grounds. They are sometimes referred to as «deathwatch beetles».

Where to Find Powder Post Beetles

Anobiid powderpost beetles can be found in both soft wood and hard wood, but they thrive in woods with a moisture level higher than 14 percent. This makes wood in poorly ventilated places the most susceptible. However, you won’t be able to see the beetles because they destroy your wood from within. Therefore, in most cases, the only sign that there is an infestation is by discovering the «exit» holes from the adult beetles.

Once you’ve determined that there is an infestation, you need to determine if it is an active one. The signs that you have an active infestation include finding a light fresh-cut wood powder near the exit holes. You can easily determine if this is an active infestation by sealing the holes and cleaning up the dust surrounding them. Then, recheck the wood periodically to see if there are new holes.

How to Kill and Get Rid of Powder Post Beetles

Moisture control combined with a wood preservative treatment such as Totality or Bora Care should be the first line of defense against this aggressive pest. In situations where moisture control cannot be implemented, removal of the infested wood along with replacing the wood with «insect and mold resistant wood» should be considered.

Lumber containing the chemical «creosote» is no longer available, but some of the newer wood preservatives that turn the wood green and are sold as «treated» lumber can help to ward off invading powder post beetles.

Hardie Wood sold by the James Hardie company is basically a cement fiber based wood replacement that is excellent for replacing infested wood and siding.

Spot or localized treatments of infested wood can and will sometimes resolve the infestation. Direct wood treatment using a product such as Totality, Termidor, Phantom or Premise can be effective as long as the wood is not sealed, painted, varnished or finished.

One of the underlying problems with direct wood treatment is that NONE of the available powder post beetle control products will penetrate through stain, paint or varnish. In almost all situations where direct wood treatment is desired, unless the wood can be removed to expose an unfinished side, the wood must be sanded down to bare wood to allow the product to penetrate. Spraying any of these water based products on top of the finish will result in the wood insecticide or preservative beading up and rolling off just like water. The good news is that after sanding the wood and proper application of the pesticide has been made and the wood is dry, paint, stain or varnish can then be applied as desired.

In some situations, the wood can be injected with pesticide with a wood injector such as the crane needle injector. The wood must be drilled with a small drill bit into the «galleries» where the powder post beetle larvae are feeding. The insecticide can then be injected to kill the beetles directly. Injection through the exit holes will not work since those holes are basically «old» and the beetles have already escaped.

Any type of localized treatment for powder post beetles should always be followed with regular inspections for new «exit» holes to determine if the infestation has spread or was never totally eliminated in the first place. In many cases, a regular regimen of powder post beetle inspection, wood replacement and wood treatment is necessary until all infested wood can be eliminated or treated within the structure.

Fumigation involves wrapping the structure in gas tight tarps and releasing a fumigant such as «Vikane» inside. The entire process takes about 2 days and is usually 100% effective in killing all pests withing the structure.

Structural Fumigation For Powder Post Beetles

Fumigation of homes and infested furniture and other wood products will kill powderpost beetles. It ’s important to note that fumigating an entire building can become quite expensive, costing thousands of dollars. The benefit of fumigation with fumigants such as «Vikane» are that the adult beetle and mature larvae forms of infestation can be totally eliminated with one treatment. However, be forwarned that the powderpost beetle eggs are not easily killed. This is because the powderpost beetle egg has a watery covering. Vikane does not penetrate water very well. With the use of «Vikane», (the only currently available structural fumigant), the requirement is that 10 times the amount of Vikane gas has to be used to kill the eggs as it does to kill the adults and the mature larvae. This is called a «10X» rate of gas in the fumigation industry. To use 10 times the amount of gas to kill the eggs as it takes to kill the adults is very expensive and not always successful. For this reason, if you decide to use a structural fumigation company, be sure that they have a rock solid reputation and will guarantee to «re-fumigate» if necessary at no additional charge.

In the Los Angeles, California area call, Call Global Termite Solutions at 1-800-253-8870 or visit their website at www.globaltermitesolutions.com.

Powder Post Beetles In Furniture

Lyctid and Anobiid powder post beetles commonly infest furniture. If your furniture is relatively new, then a trip back to the furniture store could end up netting you some new furniture. An older infestation is usually going to require fumigation. Many pest control companies have what is called a «fumigation» chamber that is essentially a large concealed tank or area where they will fumigate the furniture. These fumigation chambers are usually small 10 foot x 10 foot areas where the furniture is placed and fumigated with Vikane or Phosphorous gas.

If the infestation is not large or the furniture not badly damaged, it will be much more cost-effective to fumigate the individual articles that are infested. If only one or two pieces of wood are infested, it may also be cheaper to replace the furniture.

Powder Post Beetle Prevention

To prevent powderpost beetles from attacking your furniture or home you should do the following:

  1. When building a new home, make sure that there is a warranty from the builder or a wood supplier against powder post beetle infestation.
  2. Refrain from using old lumber that may have been infested at another location. Don’t build powder post beetles into your home.
  3. Do not use wood that hasn’t been stored and dried correctly. Keep the wood moisture levels below 13% by using 4-6 ml of polyethylene on the soil under pier and beam structures.
  4. Increase ventilation in damp areas, make sure that there is adequate air inflow and outflow to help carry moisture away.
  5. Always inspect older furniture for signs of «exit holes» and signs of damage. Any exit holes or damage should be thoroughly investigated. Remember, active powder post beetles have been found in furniture that was over 35 years old!

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