INSECTS: Adults have wings but some seldom fly. Powderpost beetles and old house borers can be damaging to wood. Includes carpet beetles (very small), grain beetles, and various accidental visitors to human structures such as lady bugs, crickets, and boxelder bugs.
Adult Boxelder Bugs
Adult boxelder bugs are about 1/2-inch long, black with orange or red markings, including three stripes on the prothorax, the area right behind the head. Their wings lay flat over their bodies, overlapping each other to form an ‘X’. The immature nymphs are 1/16th-inch long and bright red when they first hatch. As they grow older and become larger, they are red and black. You can potentially see all stages at any given time during the summer
All three carpet beetle species have a similar life history. Adults lay eggs on the larval food source, such as furs and woolen fabric or carpets. Eggs hatch in about 2 weeks and the larvae feed for varying periods, depending upon species and environmental conditions. They prefer dark, secluded places. When ready to pupate, the larvae may burrow further into the food or wander and burrow elsewhere. They may also pupate within the last larval skin if no other shelter is available. Larvae do not make webs as clothes moths do, but their shed skins and fecal pellets, which are about the size of a grain of salt, make it obvious where they have been feeding.
Carpet beetle adults do not feed on fabrics but seek out pollen and nectar. They are attracted to sunlight and are commonly found feeding on the flowers of crape myrtle, spiraea, buckwheat, and other plants that produce abundant pollen. Be careful not to bring these pests into the home on cut flowers—with their rounded bodies and short antennae, carpet beetles somewhat resemble lady beetles in shape.
The foreign grain beetle is a rather small beetle, approximately 2 mm (1/12 in) in length. This beetle can be distinguished chiefly by slight projections or knobs on each front corner of the pronotum, and its club-shaped antennae. The larvae are worm-like, cream-colored and often reach a length of 3 mm before pupating into darker adults. Males and females are identical in appearance both as larvae and adults. Adults are a reddish brownish color (occasionally black). They are very similar to the saw-toothed grain beetle, but lack the “sawtoothed” projections on the pronotum. These small beetles are strong fliers, and are often confused with fruit flies or gnats. However, these beetles are hard shelled, and lack clear wings. Some people can mistake them for fleas or lice, but neither of those insects can fly.
Powderpost beetle is a term used to describe several species of small (1/8-3/4 inches long), wood-boring insects which reduce wood to a fine, flour-like powder. Damage is done by the larvae as they create narrow, meandering tunnels in wood as they feed. Infestations are discovered after noticing small, round “shotholes” in the wood surface. These are exit holes where adult beetles have chewed out of the wood after completing their development. Newly-emerged adults mate and lay eggs on or below the surface of bare (unfinished) wood. The eggs hatch into tiny larvae which bore into the wood, emerging as adults 1-5 years later, usually during April – July. Homeowners are more likely to see damage than the beetles, themselves, because the adults are short-lived and are active mainly at night.