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11 Natural Ways to Get Rid of Darkling Beetles

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11 Natural Ways to Get Rid of Darkling Beetles

Have you seen those hard-bodied, slow-moving, dark brown or black beetles scurrying around cracks and crevices of your house or under rocks or leaf litter outside? Those are likely darkling beetles.

An infestation of darkling beetles can cause issues for your plants. Both the larvae (often called mealworms) and adults can chew on plant leaves and seedlings [1].

Some poultry farmers also have a problem with them in their poultry houses. However, the key to controlling these beetles is management.

In this article, you’ll discover several natural remedies and control methods to get rid of darkling beetles in your garden and house.


What do these little pests look like? Darkling beetles are often dark brown or black and about 3 to 6 mm long. Their damage to plants is similar to the damage cutworms inflict on your plants.

But don’t worry; with some diligent planning and simple home remedies, you can control an infestation and keep away these beetles!

How to Get Rid of Darkling Beetles Naturally

Check out these natural remedies and see which one (or ones) works best for you.

1. Soapy Water

One surefire way to deal with darkling beetles in the home is to make a soapy water spray. Simply mix a pan of soapy water and have it ready.

Next, manually pick up the beetles or vacuum them up, then drop them into the container of soap and water. The soapy solution will cling to the beetles and suffocate them.

2. Address Leaks and Moisture Issues Around Your Property

Darkling beetles need water to survive. Therefore, eliminate any standing water or excess moisture around foundations, basements, crawlspaces, attics, etc.

Check for any cracks or holes leading into the structure, and seal them. Fix leaky pipes or faucets, and install vapor barriers. Also, improve ventilation and insulation where needed.

Be proactive and address any leaks and moisture issues to remove darkling beetles’ sustenance and shelter. A dry environment is hostile to these pests.

3. Diatomaceous Earth

You can also play around with diatomaceous earth. This fine powder dehydrates and kills many beetles, and these beetles are no exception.

Many people use DE in their barns or poultry houses where they have a problem with this pest. Therefore, apply it directly to damp litter areas and sprinkle it over the top of the litter and other problem areas.

Reapply after cleaning out wet spots.

4. Boric Acid

Boric acid is a fine white powder that will dehydrate the beetles and kill them if they ingest it. They will die shortly after.

To use, sprinkle this powder directly onto areas where you see the beetles. You can also make a homemade darkling beetle spray by mixing one tablespoon of boric acid powder with one cup of water.

Next, spray this solution onto areas where these pests are likely to go. Reapply the solution (whether dry or wet) regularly until you stop seeing the beetles.

5. Eliminate Their Food Sources

To eliminate darkling beetles’ food sources, you’ll need to do some cleaning up, especially outside.

Apart from messing around with your live plants, darkling beetles feed on things like decaying wood, dead insects, dead leaves, and fungi. Therefore, do a thorough inspection and clean up what you can.

6. Vinegar

Making a vinegar trap with equal parts water and vinegar works as a great home remedy for carpet beetles and other black beetles. It kills the eggs and larvae of these pests.

Therefore, go ahead and give it a try. It may very well work for darkling beetles too.

7. Beauveria bassiana

Beauveria bassiana is a broad-spectrum insect pathogen that can be used for controlling darkling beetle populations organically.

You can purchase it as a spray-on product and apply it directly to areas where you see darkling beetles or their larvae. The fungal spores will come into contact with the beetles and infect them, ultimately killing them.

8. Remove Debris from the Garden

Darkling beetles thrive in dark, overlooked areas where they have plenty of places to hide and feed. Regularly rake up leaves, mulch, wood chips, and yard waste where the beetles can harbor.

Next, dispose of the debris to prevent the beetles from infesting other areas of your yard. Removing the shelter and food sources will make your garden, chicken houses, and surrounding areas less habitable for these pests.

9. Eliminate Hiding Places

To eliminate hiding places for darkling beetles in and around your home, caulk, weatherstrip, or repair any cracks leading to equipment or your home.

Also, keeping poultry litter as dry as possible is key. And as mentioned above, you may also want to remove outdoor debris like dead wood and leaf litter.

Cleaning up the garden and yard while also keeping the coop environment inhospitable to these pests is the best approach.

10. Essentria IC Pro

Essentria IC Pro is a natural insecticide concentrate made from essential plant oils. It is ideal for repelling and killing these critters and other flying and crawling insects.

Spray the solution directly on the beetles. This plant-based formula is also safe to use around schools and food preparation areas.

11. Bug Buster-O

Bug Buster-O is an organic pesticide you can use to eliminate darkling beetles, weevils, grain beetles, flour beetles, and many other insect pests naturally.

Dilute and spray Bug Buster-O directly on darkling beetles and larvae you see, as well as plants that they’ll most likely be a bother to.

However, it’s best to start spraying when the pest first appears. The good thing about this product is that you can use it on almost anything that you grow.


Whether you call them pinacate beetles, mealworm beetles, or darkling beetles, you can get an infestation under control without resorting to harsh chemicals. It may take some work, but staying dedicated to a natural approach will pay off.

Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see immediate results, keep at it and be patient. In a few weeks, you’ll start noticing less and less of the little critters around.

Sasha Brown

Sasha Brown is a blogger and lover of all things natural.

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