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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Does any have a good, go-to pest identification guide? I have my training materials for when I studied for my structural/health-related pest control license, but it really only covers the major pest species, and features black-and-white photos. We are normally referred to the Cooperative Extension Service for tricky IDs, but I'd like to have something handy to browse at home as well.

I was hoping for a comprehensive field guide-type manual, which tells you precisely how to identify something based on anatomical details under a microscope. My company provided the microscope, but not a guide...

When I did field research for a university, we had an arsenal of such field guides for plants. But I can't seem to find such a thing for pest professionals.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yeah, the dichotomous keys I have only get you to the taxonomic Order. That there looks like the guide I need. I'm currently trying to identify an inconspicuous beetle proliferating in a meat department. I was hoping a microscope and a good guide would tease it out for me.
 

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Maybe a larder beetle. Just a guess. With beetles as stored product pests I have not found that you really need to know which you are dealing with. Sure, there are weevils and a few other species that are easily identifiable that are pretty specific on food source and knowing those can help a little sometimes. Mostly it gives you confidence about whether or not you need to keep looking. If you find weevils in the dry peas you're pretty well done.

Identifying beetles down to the family level can actually help quite a lot and get you basically where you need to be. A book like the NPMA field guide will show you the basic beetle pests and you can probably figure it out from the pictures. A jeweler's loop can help if you want to go cheap on the scope. Or one like this from bioquip http://www.bioquip.com/Search/DispProduct.asp?pid=6394

I've used those and they are ok. Will get the job done if you don't need it all the time. They aren't great or anything.

I got a real field scope a couple years ago. A good family level key is the textbook An Introduction to the Study of Insects, Borror, Triplehorn, and Johnson. Go with the newest version as the groups change.

I would practice before spending a lot of money as identification with a key and a scope is not particularly easy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I have a scope like the one you linked. I suppose it's not usually crucial to identify it down to the species level, since insecticides aren't that specific. But I thought identification might help with figuring out what the food source is, or what conditions are favorable to them. Are they coming from the drains? The product? Are they occasional invaders or is it a real infestation?

They are much smaller than larder beetles. I'd say 2 mm or so, but they do have some distinguishing features (shiny bronze thorax) that I thought would be helpful in narrowing it down to species, with the right key. Then I could find information on their behaviors/life cycle.
 

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Can you post a picture? I have found that my phone camera can take pictures through the microscope lens. The main thing with beetle infestations is to find the source. That usually answers your questions. From your description it sounds like standard "pantry beetles". Which would be flour beetles, cigarette beetles, etc. They are all pretty similar and the same control techniques work. Their food sources can be extremely varied so figuring out which one you are dealing with can be of little help. Their food sources may overlap only a little, but when they will each get into 50 different things, you're going to have to basically check everything anyway.
 

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NPMA field guide is the best thing to use
Double that one. Also your town / city has some extension with an entomologist who for a good bottle of whiskey and a genuine interest on your part would spend hours discusing bugs. Lastly there are bug registries online with pictures. You can also call an exterminator and ask hehehe
 
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