The term “fungus beetle” is a common name given to a group of closely related beetle pest species that are known to invade homes in large numbers in order to feed on mold, mildew, and occasionally, stored food products. Fungus beetle pests are also commonly referred to as “minute brown scavenger beetles,” but this term generally applies specifically to species in the Latridiidae family, which includes most fungus beetle pests. The fungus beetle pests commonly found within New York state homes include foreign grain beetles, silken fungus beetles, hairy fungus beetles, and sigmoid fungus beetles.
Fungus beetles are abundant in residential yards throughout the US, and they are dependent on high moisture conditions in order to survive. Finding fungus beetle pests within a home is indicative of indoor moisture buildup that could be caused by pipe condensation, plumbing leaks, clogged gutters, or a defective rainwater drainage system. Fungus beetles frequently infest new homes where they feed on mold that forms of drying plaster. This destructive habit has earned these pests yet another common name, “plaster beetles.”
Although there exists a significant number of fungus beetle pest species throughout the US, all species are of similar appearance. Fungus beetles are yellow to reddish-brown or black, and they are extremely small at less than 4 mm in length. It is not uncommon for both new and old homes to become infested with multiple fungus beetle pest species. Adult fungus beetles are capable flyers, and infestations often start when adults gravitate toward indoor lights and porch lights during the summer months. Once they gain indoor access, adult females congregate in poorly ventilated and humid areas where they lay their eggs on mold growing from structural woods, plaster, spilled foods, stored foods, or other areas where mold or fungus can be found or will take form.
In addition to infesting homes with their offspring, adult fungus beetles can be a tremendous indoor nuisance, and they are often found emerging in large numbers from light fixtures, attics, storage areas, and cupboards beneath sinks. While chemical insecticides are not typically necessary for fungus beetle control programs, detecting the source of indoor moisture that attracts the pests can be difficult, and professional pest control intervention is often required to adequately eliminate infestations.
Have you ever found fungus beetle pests in your home?