Sawtoothed grain beetles are experts at getting into dry food products in production facilities or on store shelves. These insects quickly spread to other food items and, eventually, can move to other parts of a house. They live in grains, oats, cereals, dried fruits and many similar products. Large grain storage and processing plants can suffer from huge grain beetle infestations.
These beetles avoid cold locations; in northern states, grain beetles living in outdoor grain storage will stop breeding. Grain beetle larvae live in food containers until they reach adulthood. Once fully grown, they sometimes venture into other areas of the home or building. Merchant beetles can fly, so you might find them above cabinets or other unexpected places.
Because of their tiny size and habitat inside food packages, you might not notice an infestation until you find them in the food or see adults crawling on counters and in cabinets. By that time, there could be a large number of beetles and the infestation might have spread.
Grain beetles eat various grain-based foods. They feed on rice, pasta, sugar, tobacco and pet food, among other things. Merchant beetles prefer fatty foods that are high in oil, such as peanuts. These beetles can even infest flowers, wreaths and similar decorations.
Sawtoothed grain beetle larvae are tiny enough to enter the cracks of a single kernel of food and feed from the inside. Adult females lay their eggs within the food particles. One female can lay several hundred eggs in a year, though adult beetles often live less than ten months.
Eggs hatch and larvae emerge in less than two weeks. The larvae can then reach adulthood in as little as two months. This creates a rapid cycle of development and reproduction that can cause infestations to grow quickly and spread widely within a home.
Grain beetles are usually brought into a home accidentally, hiding in a product from a grocery store. Damaged packages on store shelves are easy targets for grain beetles. A large presence of these beetles in a store can go unnoticed while people buy the affected products and an entire neighborhood becomes infested.
Adult beetles sometimes move out of the pantry or cabinet and can be spotted on the floor or walls, searching for other sources of food. Any unsealed or slightly torn package of grain-based food is an attractive food source for sawtoothed and merchant grain beetles.
Grain beetle infestations can quickly get out of hand and ruin large supplies of food. Their rapid reproduction and inconspicuous activity make infestations difficult to discover and treat without professional help. The best way to control grain beetles is to call Aptive Environmental and let our pest experts remove the insects from your home.
You can also help prevent grain beetles from entering the foods in your cabinets and closets by following these tips:
Practice good cleaning habits: sweep up crumbs and wipe counters often. Make sure there is no spilled food in cabinets.
Store all loose foods and ingredients in tightly-sealed containers that won’t let tiny beetle larvae in.
Foods can also be frozen or refrigerated to keep them out of reach of beetles.
Buy smaller packages of food items so that they don’t sit unused in cabinets for long. Don’t buy any food that has damaged or opened packaging.
Call your local Aptive branch to discuss a customized grain beetle control plan.