How to Identify & Get Rid of Beetles & Insects

Beetles such as these Christmas beetles can be an annoyance.
Beetles such as these Christmas beetles can be an annoyance. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

In most parts of North America, summer brings hot temperatures, backyard barbecues and swarms of bugs both familiar and mysterious. These new additions to your household can range from benign to annoying to dangerous. Though a generous swath of pesticide over all exposed surfaces can help repel most critters, it's not often necessary. Besides, a swath of poison can do more harm than help most of the time. To get rid of the specific problem, you must first identify the insect.

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Write down all the information you have about the insect you wish to identify: number of legs, where you found it, structure of its body and so on. Look at the insect under a magnifying glass. If possible, take one or more pictures of the insect.

Locate an insect identification guide online or at your local library or bookstore. If possible, find one that pertains to where you live. Identify the insect by looking up details such as its body shape, carapace color and number of legs. Compare any photos you may have to the photos in the book.

Look up natural repellents for the specific insect or family of insects -- see the tips section of this article for some examples of natural repellents. Alternatively, purchase a specially designed pesticide for the insect in question.

Tips & Warnings

  • To get rid of cockroaches, mix 1/4 cup of shortening with 1/8 cup of sugar, and 8 oz. powdered boric acid with 1/2 cup of flour. Mix these two substances together. Add enough water to form a soft dough, then form it into small balls. Place the balls wherever roaches congregate in your home or garden.
  • To repel ants, sprinkle powdered boric acid around the entrances to your home and wherever you have seen ant trails. For inside the home, mix equal parts boric acid and cornmeal, sugar or flour. Dust the mixture wherever you've seen ants. They will carry the grains to their nest and die.
  • To get rid of most beetles, dust your garden with food-grade diatomaceous earth, available at most hardware or garden stores.


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