Deddington homes invaded by beetles

Insect expert, George Fenemore, in Wimborn Close Deddington, where beetles have been settling in the evenings. NNL-180506-165842009
Insect expert, George Fenemore, in Wimborn Close Deddington, where beetles have been settling in the evenings. NNL-180506-165842009

A number of homes in Deddington have been suffering an invasion of beetles.

But the unhappy residents have been reassured the critters are harmless.

The insects have been swarming around areas of the village for a fortnight, encouraged by the warm weather.

Residents of Wimborn Close are among those affected and have been using ant powder, scrubbing doorsteps and brushing the walls of their homes to get rid of them but their efforts are not making any difference because of the sheer volume of them.

Clifton farmer and entomologist George Fenemore said: “The beetles are in their final stage, having spent at least two years underground as larvae.

“They are not a pest, they don’t sting or bite but they are a nuisance because of the numbers in the houses. They will disappear in the end.”

Mr Fenemore said claims it had been caused by farmers spraying land were not true.

“These are not agricultural pests. What is being sprayednow is fungicide, not pesticide. The only pesticide capable of killing these was banned four years ago.”

Residents say the beetles are at their worst at dusk when they swarm around outside lights and land on outside walls ‘in their thousands’.

“The external walls of all our houses are crawling with them. It sounds like it’s raining but it’s beetles falling off the walls,” said one on Deddington Community Notice Board.

Annie Freeman, who called the Banbury Guardian, said she had found ten in a load of wet washing after they had got into the machine.

Cherwell District Council’s environmental officers have had examples identified as meal worm beetles. The council said in a statement yesterday, Wednesday:

• Attracted to light, at night they will head to a light.

• Hatch period is from late spring to early summer, so in greater numbers during this period.

• May have come in off the fields.

• Feed on rotting materials, can come from birds nest.

• Infestation can last from a few days to a week,

• Would recommend using a standard household insect spray to kill them.