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Pest Information

Lesser Mealworm

Lesser Mealworm

  • Latin Name: Alphitobius diaperinus
  • Common Name: Lesser Mealworm
  • Latin Family Name: Tenebrionidae
  • Other Names: N/A

Pest Details

Lesser Mealworm
Lesser Mealworm


This beetle is found throughout the world, as a minor pest of stored food products.


The lesser mealworm prefers grain based foods that are in damp, moldy condition, often a condition of animal feeds in agricultural settings. It also infests poultry and other bird droppings, and may be present in structures where bird populations, such as pigeons, have left large accumulations of fecal material. In chicken ranches the beetles can occur in enormous numbers in the piles of fecal material under the chicken barns, where they may serve a benefit in the increased composting of the feces through the beetle activity there.


Larvae have a typical appearance for this family, whereby they are elongate, cylindrical, and shiny, although their color is a darker yellow brown than the yellow mealworm larva. They are without hairs, they have 3 pairs of prominent legs, and they are very active. Adults are medium sized beetles, being up to about 6 millimeters long and a shiny black color. It is more compact than the yellow mealworm adult, and also has fully developed elytra but cannot fly. Antennae are filiform and without a terminal enlarged club.

Characteristicts Important to Control:

The presence of these beetles indicates either stored food in a deteriorated condition or the possible presence of accumulations of bird or mammal feces. Cleanup and removal of these undesirable materials is needed, and an application of a residual pesticide may be used to intercept remaining insects.

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