Beetle Mania: How Levelland Became Ground Zero for a Tiny Terror!

August 21, 2023
1 min read

The City of Levelland grapples with a burgeoning infestation of Red Flour Beetles, a situation confirmed by Hockley County Emergency Management Coordinator, Cole Kirkland. Alarmingly, residents of the Kauffman Addition reported a surge in these beetles as early as May 2022. Despite the early warnings, the city’s response was delayed, with a meeting convened only last week to assess the situation.

At a recent town hall, frustrated citizens voiced their distress over the persistent beetle problem. In a proactive move, code enforcement issued search warrants, leading Texas Agri-Life Entomologists to deploy pheromone traps in the Industrial Rail Park area. These tests revealed the presence of Red Flour Beetles in grain-hauling businesses, including Penny Newman, Titan Lansing, and Archer Daniels Midland.

Kirkland reassured residents, emphasizing the city’s commitment to resolving the issue and restoring normalcy. Awaiting an official report from entomologists, the city is gearing up to implement treatment protocols tailored for this beetle species. Notably, Red Flour Beetles emit a foul odor, making them more of an irritant than a direct threat.

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Kirkland candidly criticized the city’s oversight, expressing concerns about potential secondary and tertiary infestation sources due to the prolonged issue. He also hinted at future improvements, suggesting an after-action review to gather insights from both the council and the citizens. Residents are advised to seal their homes effectively to prevent further beetle invasions.

The Kaufmann Addition neighborhood, located just north of Highway 114, has been particularly hard-hit, with beetles infiltrating homes, pantries, and even beds. Stan Lee, a local resident, shared his ordeal, revealing that the beetle invasion has disrupted his daily life to the extent of considering relocating. Many residents, including Danny Rios, suspect the grain company across Highway 114 to be the primary source of the infestation.

Claudia Maldonado, leading the neighborhood’s efforts, highlighted a potential regulatory oversight, noting the grain company’s lack of permits to handle large almond hull piles. Interestingly, while almonds are the primary commodity, their hulls, considered waste, are a feast for the Red Flour Beetles. Kirkland admitted the city’s lapse in addressing the issue when initially reported and emphasized the need for thorough testing across all facilities in the industrial park.

The grain company, believed to be at the heart of the issue, has agreed to testing, provided it’s conducted across the entire industrial area. Immediate plans include visual tests to locate larvae, which could pinpoint the infestation’s origin. If the grain company is identified as the culprit, Kirkland suggests the city draft an ordinance regulating hull storage, ensuring such infestations are averted in the future.

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