The lesser mealworm or Litter Beetle (Panzer), is general stored products pest of particular importance as a vector and competent reservoir of several poultry pathogens and parasites. It can also cause damage to poultry housing and is suspected to be a health risk to humans in close contact with larvae and adults. Adults can become a nuisance when they move en masse toward artificial lights generated by residences near fields where beetle-infested manure has been spread inhabits poultry droppings and litter and is considered a significant pest in the poultry industry.
Adults are 1/4"" long. Newly moulted adults are reddish-brown turning black. Larvae is 5/16"" long. Segmented and looks like worm with three pairs of tiny legs on the thorax and one abdominal proleg at the rear.
Females lay up to at least 110 eggs a month and eggs hatch in 4-7 days. Larval development takes up to 7 weeks. Mature larvae seek a sheltered place to pupate for between 7 and 11 days. An adult beetle may live up to two years.
The beetles are attracted to poultry operations, which have ideal conditions for their development. The damage to insulation is carried out by lesser mealworms seeking a safe place to pupate because the darkling beetles prey on the lesser mealworms.