The adult miller beetle is a sturdy, shiny beetle that ranges in colour from dark brown to black. It is about 16 mm long (14-18 mm). It is the most important insect pest of whole and milled cereals. Males are generally smaller and more slender than females.
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ALL ABOUT MEALWORMS
What does a mealworm eat?
Tenebrionids, also known as mealworms, belong to the family Tenebrionidae, which has more than 20,000 species worldwide. Their diet may vary depending on their species and habitat.
In general, the Tenebrionis are detritivores. They feed on decomposed organic matter, including plant debris, rotting fruits and vegetables, hay, rotting wood, and animal feces. They may also eat dry foods such as flour, cereal, bread, and other grain-based products.
For this reason, they are often found in grain storage facilities, mills, and bakeries. In addition, in the context of breeding for reptiles or fish food, they are usually fed specific foods such as flour, cereals, and vegetables.
It is important to note that the adult and larvae do not have exactly the same diet. While adults can eat a wide range of plant debris and dead insects, larvae tend to focus more on decomposed organic matter and grain.
Where do the mealworm live?
Mealworms are very adaptable insects that can survive in a variety of habitats. They are present everywhere in the world, but their density varies according to the species and the natural environment.
In the wild, Tenebrionias are generally found in dry, arid habitats, such as deserts and grasslands. They have the particularity of being able to survive in very difficult conditions where few other life forms can survive.
However, some species of Tenebrion have also adapted their behaviour to live in urban and agricultural environments. They can be found in places like grain silos, mills, warehouses, bakeries, and even homes, where they can find a readily available food source. They are attracted to grain-based products and can cause significant damage to food stocks.
In a home, Tenebridians can hide in dark, dry, sheltered places, such as cracks and crevices, closets, attics, or under appliances.
It is important to note that Darkling beetles go through several developmental stages (egg, larva, nymph, adult) and each stage may have slightly different habitat requirements.
How to get rid of mealworms?
Getting rid of tapeworms can be a challenge, but there are several effective methods for doing so. Here are some steps to help you:
1. Identification: It is crucial to correctly identify the insect before starting the treatment. The tenebrious are small, dark-coloured insects that look like beetles. The larvae are often mistaken for mealworms.
2. Cleaning: Good hygiene is essential to eliminate tapeworms. Cereal-based products (flours, semolina, breakfast cereals, etc.) should be stored in airtight containers to avoid attracting insects. Areas, where these products are stored, should be cleaned regularly.
3. Traps: Pheromone traps can be used to attract and capture darkling beetles. These traps contain substances that mimic female pheromones and attract males.
4. Insecticides: If the infestation is significant, the use of insecticides may be necessary. However, it is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid any risk to human health.
5. Professionals: In the event of a severe or recurring infestation, it may be necessary to call in a exterminator professional. They have access to more powerful tools and products and can guarantee that the infestation is completely eliminated.
It is worth remembering that prevention is the key to avoiding tapeworm infestations. Good maintenance and regular cleaning can go a long way in keeping your home free of tapeworms.
Do mealworms fly?
Yes, darkling beetles can fly. Although not all species have this ability, many adult darkling beetles have wings and can fly short distances. However, their flight is usually clumsy and ungraceful. It should be noted that these insects generally prefer to crawl rather than fly, and they use flight primarily to escape predators or to find new food sources.
Does the mealworm bite?
No, darkling beetles do not sting. They are relatively harmless to humans. They have mandibles designed to chew, mainly used to feed on decomposed plant matter or detritus. Therefore, they generally do not pose a direct threat to humans. However, in large quantities, they can cause significant damage to stored products, especially cereals and dry foods.
|Latin name||Tenebrio molitor|
|Length||12 to 18 mm|
|Colour||Dark brown to black|
|Life||2 à 3 mois|
MORE INFORMATION ON MEALWORMS
LIFE CYCLE OF THE DARKLING
In nature, the adults appear in early summer and mate quickly. The female lays an average of 400 to 500 eggs, which she deposits one by one or in small masses. The white and shiny eggs hatch after 4 to 18 days. The larvae that emerge are about 2 mm long. At first white, they take a golden yellow tint as they grow. In an unheated environment, the larval stage can last from six to nine months and even up to a year. The insect spends the winter in this form. The larva undergoes 10 to 16 molts during its development. It reaches an average of 30 mm long before transforming into a nymph. Its white color becomes yellowish with time. The insect spends two to three weeks in this stage before emerging as a winged adult. This one dies after two to three months. Depending on environmental conditions (temperature, humidity, etc.), the complete cycle of the miller beetle can last from four months to two years.
HABITAT OF THE DARKLING BEETLE
It lives in flour mills, grain elevators and warehouses for grain and other foods. It is often found in dark, damp places where grains have been stored for a long time. It is rarely observed in the wild. It lives in old trees or under the bark of dead trees.
FEEDING OF THE TEMEBRION
This saprophagous insect feeds mainly on whole and ground, moist and decaying grains. It also eats bread, feathers, dead insects, meat, dried fruits, nuts and cookies. In breeding, this species can become a cannibal.
CONTROL METHODS FOR DARKLING BEETLE
This insect is rarely found in homes. However, there have been reports of infestations (related to pet food left in a basement). It is therefore preferable to place the food in plastic containers. In flour mills and grain warehouses, infested products should be destroyed and the premises thoroughly cleaned. In these places, as in the home, hygiene is an effective means of prevention. A mite, Caloglyphus mycophagus (Megnin), which also lives in grain products, has been identified as a natural enemy of the milling beetle.
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