If you think you have plaster beetles, don’t panic – they have been around for hundreds of years and they get their name from being mostly found living in the plasterwork of both domestic and industrial buildings.
The plaster beetles thrive in damp conditions which makes them more prevalent during autumn and winter or damp conditions in a newly built property. They feed off mould which is caused by the plasterwork or decoration not being dried out or where damp plaster occurs possibly through a leak. Plaster beetles occur naturally outside buildings and may be attracted to homes by exterior lights.
Any structure where moisture persists due to excessive moisture a water leak, condensation or inadequate ventilation which encourages mould growth can be the source for plaster beetle infestation.
Although plaster beetles are not harmful, they are not a nice addition to your home, as many homeowners can confirm.
How to find out if you have plaster beetles
If you want to find out whether you have plaster beetles, the first thing you need to know is that they can range in size from 0.08mm to 3mm long, hard-shelled, and can vary in colour from brown, reddish-brown or black. They are good fliers and can be attracted to windowsills, light fittings, or sinks.
Also, they have a life cycle of around 13 to 28 days from hatching, they breed in high numbers, so once they get to your house, it is not long before you have an infestation.
How to prevent plaster beetles
One of the ways to prevent an infestation of plaster beetles is to keep your house dry and free from moisture, such as having the heating on, sufficient ventilation and locating any areas of excess moisture, fixing leaks or areas of poor ventilation such as under stairs cupboards will help. Having dehumidifiers at home can also help.
How to get rid of plaster beetles
Identifying the moisture source is key to eradicating the beetle infestation and controlling mould growth which is a food source for the beetles.
Once these are corrected, I would always advise getting an expert to confirm the identity of these beetles, they will also advise on how best to eradicate them and prevent future infestation.
If you feel you have a possible leak or wet walls you should report this to your builder, who will need to investigate and rectify any issues that will hopefully help eradicate the plaster mites, they may even employ the services of a pest controller.