Dried Fruit Beetles Scientific name: Carpophilus hemipterus
Dried Fruit Beetle Identification
A very small beetle, only about 1/8 of an inch long, the Dried Fruit beetle has clubbed antennae, the typical oval shape of beetles, and are brown or black in color. Most varieties have two large yellow, gold, or amber colored spots on their elytra (wing covers). The head, legs, and antennae are usually tan to brown in color.
Dried Fruit Beetle Habitat and Food Source
The Dried Fruit beetle is found worldwide; especially anywhere that fruit in any form is grown or stored. The Dried Fruit beetle has become an extreme nuisance and costly pest particularly in plants or farms where fruit is grown, processed, stored, or consumed. These beetles may be found in leaf litter, rotten fruit, flowers, or trees. They are also commonly found foraging indoors for food.
The Dried Fruit beetle eats not just dried fruit, but also all types of fresh, packaged, or rotting fruit. It also feeds on scale insects, beans, wheat, rice, honey, and spices. Wherever stored food products are found, so is the Dried Fruit beetle. The beetles will attack ripe and dry fruit prior to packaging.
Dried Fruit Life Cycle
The female beetle deposits its eggs on the fruit of a tree, then when they hatch will burrow into the fruit, destroying the yield. Sometimes hatching several generations per year (especially in warm, humid climates), the beetle matures from egg to adult in approximately two weeks. A female lays as many as 1000 eggs in her lifetime.
Dried Fruit Beetles and Humans
Although this beetle is mostly a pest to farms, stores, and other commercial operations, it will also readily venture into your pantry in order to find a tasty snack. Hot, humid conditions attract the Dried Fruit beetle, but they are sure to come to any site where fruit is found.
The Dried Fruit beetle produces yeast that may cause infested fruit to go sour. Along with souring fruit, these beetles may introduce harmful bacteria or fungi into a crop of fruit.
Dried Fruit Beetle Control
Control of the Dried Fruit beetle, especially when on a large scale, should be done by a professional. It can be dangerous to use pesticides and other chemical control methods if you don’t have experience. The Dried Fruit beetle can severely damage food items, and can be an unsanitary, unwelcome guest in your home. A professional may employ any of the following methods:
Find out where the beetles are coming from: A professional will help locate the source of the infestation, which is normally some sort of stored food product. In most cases the product will be thrown out due to contamination. All infested areas should be cleaned and sanitized.
Mass Trapping: Professionals may set out large numbers of traps in infested areas in order to reduce insect population initially.
Insecticide: all stored food products must be removed before insecticide application takes place. Most professionals will focus efforts on cracks and crevices in walls, ceilings, drawers, shelves, and other infestation sites. Professionals will treat infestations using a variety of liquids, dusts, and aerosol pesticides. Exterminators most commonly use a compound containing pyrethrins and will spot-treat areas that have been known to contain the insect.
Dust pesticides are applied to cover a greater surface area. Dust pesticides commonly used by professionals include silica gel (Drione and Tri-Die are two professional brands) and deltamethrin (DeltaDust).
DIY and Green Solutions for Dried Fruit Beetle Control
Be sure to inspect all fruit before bringing it home. If fruit has signs of infestation, throw it away immediately. All dried fruit should be kept in tightly sealed containers. Outdoors, or in orchards and farms, be sure to pick up fallen fruit immediately and throw it away if it is infested. Fallen fruit is like a bait for the Dried Fruit beetle.