Not 1,000, not even 5,000, but a whopping 350,000 species of beetles exist worldwide. The United States alone is home to around 30,000 species of these insects.
These figures are only for the described species. Scientists believe millions more are just awaiting discovery.
Beetles got their name from the old English word "bitela," which means little biter. However, most don't bite and rarely attack people. Neither do they suck blood or carry and transmit diseases.
That doesn't make it okay to ignore brown beetles in the house, though. Some of these insects can still bite, especially if threatened. At the very least, they can cause significant property damage.
To that end, we created this guide to help you identify the most common brown beetles in U.S. homes. We've also shared tips on what to do if you discover them in your house, so read on.
Most Common Species of Brown Beetles
Many beetles are brown (or dark-colored) as it allows them to blend with their surroundings. Many are also nocturnal, and their dark coloration helps them stay hidden at night.
That's why many beetles found in homes are brown, with the most common species being the following:
Carpet-eating beetles, also called carpet beetles, are common pests that cause fabric damage.
Adults lay eggs on carpets, wool, leather, silk, fur, and other fabrics. Their eggs hatch in about two weeks, and the larvae feed on these materials.
Carpet beetle larvae can also feed on pet hair, even feathers. And with 62% of Americans having pets, it's easy to see why these insects have become more common in homes.
The three most common species of carpet beetles found in many U.S. homes are:
- The varied carpet beetle
- The furniture carpet beetle
- The black carpet beetle
All three species, even the so-called black carpet beetle, can have brown coloration.
For example, adult varied carpet beetles often have black bodies that are about 1/10 inch long. However, their wings feature irregular brown, white, and yellow patterns. Once they mature further, the marks fade, making them appear black or solid brown.
As for furniture carpet beetle larvae, they turn chestnut brown or dark red as they mature. They can grow up to 0.2 inches long and have oval bodies covered with brown hair.
Adult black carpet beetles have dark brown and shiny black coloration and can grow 1/8 to 3/16 inch long. They also have brownish legs. Their larvae mimic the color of the adults.
Powderpost beetles have a brown, sometimes reddish-brown body. They usually grow up to 1/4 inch in length.
These beetles are wood-boring insects that feed on wood cellulose. Their feeding process reduces the wood to a fine powder resembling flour or talcum. They leave round holes, sometimes called "shot holes," measuring about 1/8 inch in diameter.
Powderpost beetles can damage plywood, wood furniture, timber, and hardwood flooring. They're among the most destructive wood-boring pests in the United States.
Drugstore beetles feed on prescription drugs, hence their name. However, they also often attack stored products, including packaged food items. They love grains, seeds, animal products, and plant-derived items.
Because of their food preference, drugstore beetles can enter warehouses. They can then penetrate sealed drugs or food products. From there, they can get transported to retail outlets, groceries, and your home.
Adult drugstore beetles have a reddish-brown coloration and can grow up to 0.15 inches. Their larvae have white, hairy bodies and brown mouths.
Like drugstore beetles, cigarette beetles are common pests that feed on stored products. Adults are small, stout, and brownish-red or reddish-yellow. They grow to about 0.1 inch long.
A chief difference between cigarette beetles and drugstore beetles is their wings. The former doesn't have striated wing covers, whereas the latter does. Cigarette beetles also have more hair.
As their name suggests, cigarette beetles love to feed on stored tobacco. These include cigars, cigarettes, and chewing tobacco.
Cigarette beetles don't limit their food to just tobacco; they also eat grains. Once inside homes, they can attack rice, seeds, raisins, pepper, ginger, and dried flowers.
Deathwatch beetles are wood-boring beetles. They lay eggs inside untreated wood. Their larvae then feed on wood cellulose.
Deathwatch beetles can grow to lengths of about 0.1 to 0.2 inches. They have reddish-brown coloration, although some species are black. Their bodies also typically have mottled patterns or irregular markings.
Rice weevils aren't as common in houses as the other beetles we've discussed. However, they can still enter your home if you buy stored food products that they've invaded.
Adult rice weevils are often dull, reddish-brown, or black. They can grow about 3/32 to 1/8 inch long.
Rice weevils are a bigger problem for grain storage facilities or processing plants. They typically infest wheat, oats, rice, corn, barley, and rye products. They also love beans, sunflower seeds, birdseed, and dry pasta.
Rice weevils can enter your home through an infested food product. For example, if you buy an infested bag of rice or oats from a grocery store and bring it home.
Controlling Brown Beetles in the House
Managing an insect infestation starts with proper identification. This is especially crucial before using chemicals, as these aren't "one-size-fits-all" solutions. Improper insecticide use is, in fact, a top cause of insecticide resistance in pests.
So, use our handy guide above to identify what type of beetles you may have at home first. After that, follow these general control and management tips.
Throw Infested Food Items
As wasteful as it may sound, it's best not to consume any food item infested by beetles. They may not carry diseases, but that doesn't mean they're the only ones who've had a nibble on your food. Other bugs in the home, such as roaches, may have contaminated these products.
Remove and Destroy Infested Wood
If you have wood-boring beetles, your best bet is to remove the infested areas. Then, destroy the wood by burning it or taking it to a nearby landfill.
If removal isn't possible, you can use an effective DIY pest control solution.
Clean and Sanitize Your Entire Home
Whatever type of brown beetles you have, you can remove them by thoroughly cleaning your home.
First, eliminate as much clutter as possible, as beetles and their larvae may live in it. De-cluttering also ensures you can deep-clean every inch of your home. This is even more crucial if you have carpet beetles.
Next, remove all washable fabrics (e.g., curtains, drapes, blankets, table covers, etc.). Then, wash them in hot water; doing so will kill all stages of carpet beetles infesting these items.
Then, vacuum your carpets, rugs, mats, floors, and the areas around doors and windowsills. Follow this up with a steam cleaner.
You should also vacuum your cupboards. This can help remove drugstore/cigarette beetles, rice weevils, eggs, and larvae. Wash pantry shelves with soap and water, and wipe them down with a sanitizing solution.
Use High-Quality Pesticides as Directed
You can address a more extensive beetle infestation with appropriate pesticides. You can order these high-quality pest control products online. These come in customized kits, complete with instructions on their proper use.
Once you get your kit, please read the product label carefully. Then, follow the instructions to a T.
Prevent New Pests
Remember: Beetles are the most common insects, making up about 25% of all animal species. This means they're everywhere. So, if you're not careful, they can return to your home.
To prevent that from happening, add exclusion to your beetle control strategies. This preventive tactic involves sealing up all areas where pests can enter your home.
For instance, you should repair or replace damaged door and window bug screens. Another is to caulk cracks, gaps, and crevices in and around baseboards and cabinets. You can also use sealants to cover gaps around the holes where cables or wires enter your home.
Another preventive tactic is to check food items before buying and taking them home. Look for signs of penetration, such as holes or chewed-on areas on their containers. If you find these at a store, don't buy them; report them to the shop's management.
You should also store untreated wood far from your home. This can help keep wood-boring beetles out of your abode. Only bring firewood into the house that you're about to use.
If you need to store lumber or untreated wood, have it kiln-dried. Wood-eating insects often dislike dry wood.
Lastly, make it a habit to check any wooden material you're bringing inside for exit holes.
Stop Sharing Your Home With Brown Beetles
Outdoors, many beetles are beneficial, such as ground beetles and ladybugs. Unfortunately, the most common ones, including brown beetles in the house, aren't. At the very least, they are nuisance pests, but in more severe cases, they can be highly destructive.
So, if you have these little brown critters crawling all over your home, it's time to put them under control.
Remedy's team of pest control professionals can help. We provide professional-grade solutions to DIYers. Let us know what's bugging you so we can determine the best way to resolve your problem!