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.
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.