They don't agree on the species, but local exterminators concur that recent weather conditions have been ideal for an infestation of beetles, particularly in new homes or residences near crop land.
Chris Haley, general manager of Haley Pest Control, and Larry Trowbridge, owner of Mid West Exterminators, referred to the tiny brown and black insects as "plaster beetles." Trowbridge said the beetles have hatched out of plaster that is still drying in recently constructed homes. He said most of the beetles were found in the bathroom and kitchen areas.
Haley said the humid conditions earlier this month helped the beetles' larvae hatch in the plaster. He said the insects feed on a light mold or fungus on dry wall hung in houses. Haley said the plaster beetles were cousins to the beetles found in flour.
But Joe Bracciano, owner of Bracciano Pest Control, and John Isaacs, coporate secretary for Schendel Pest Control, contend that the bugs are indeed flour beetles. Bracciano said these beetles frequent milo fields and are attracted to lights from nearby neighborhoods at night. He said the bugs are small enough to fly through mesh screens in screen doors to enter a house but would not reproduce and cause an infestation once inside.
Isaacs said he has received calls about the insects the last three years, mostly from people on the west side of town. He said spraying would not control the bugs, but time would. The beetles should be gone by fall, Isaacs said.
The beetles were termed as fungus beetles by Sam Kumar, owner of Lawrence Pest Control, and as cigarette beetles by Debbie Liddel, president of Advanced Pest Management. Both Kumar and Liddel said the beetles frequented the walls of new houses. Liddel said one effective way to get rid of the beetles was to vacuum daily and empty the vacuum bag outside the house.