Insect pests and climate change
The Attagenus smirnovi project
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Attagenus smirnovi ZHANTIEV, 1973In the UK also know as the "Vodka beetle".
Attagenus smirnovi origins from Africa, and was first time observed in Europe in 1961 by E.S. Smirnov in Moscow. In Denmark the first observation was made in 1963.
The adult beetles are about 3-4 mm, with brown wings and a dark, almost black, front and head. The larva can be up to 8 mm long, golden-brown of colour and with a brush-shaped tuft of of hair at the rear end.
The optimum condition for this species is about 24°C, why observations in Northern Europe until now almost solely have been made indoors.
The larvae feeds on organic materials, such as dried plants, seeds, or animal material. Attagenus smirnovi has been reported to eat wool, feather, hides, and fur, and as such it is a museum pest.
The adult Attagenus smirnovi is a good flyer, and will actively move around. They can often be found in windowsills, as they sometime in their life cycle will seek light. In buildings the animals will be able to spread through-out rooms and between floors by moving through cracks in walls, ventilation ducts, etc. It is thought that at least during summer the adults may spread by flying from one building to another, but besides this the main route of spread have been as a stowaway in the transport of goods.
Photos of Attagenus smirnovi, from top:
Photos: Roberto Fortuna, National Museum of Denmark, © 2008.