Flour Beetle

Stored Product Pests

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Drugstore Beetle

drugstore-beetle-bug-book

Color

Mature larvae are white. Adults are reddish to dull brown.

Characteristics

The drugstore beetle was largely teased as a child for being a humpback, as his head and thorax are bent downward, concealing most of the head from above. The body is made up of a series of small basal segments followed by three much larger elongated segments that make up the outer half of the antennae. Pits on wing covers are in long rows. Mature larvae may be mistaken for very tiny elbow macaroni, as they are C-shaped. They are covered in short hairs and have well-developed legs with four segments.

Where Found

Everywhere, if you look hard enough (but you may need a magnifying glass). In your home, good places to look are kitchen light fixtures, as they are attracted to light.

Habitat

Females lay eggs in and near stored goods and foods.

Food

We don't know exactly what drug the drugstore beetle is going to get at the store, but he will eat it. He'll also eat the hair right off your head, museum specimens, leather, books and manuscripts. Don't think your own food is safe, 'cause it's not.

Biology

Females lay oval, whitish eggs in food, but don't mistake them for Parmesan cheese crumbles. In a few days, they hatch and go through 4-6 stages over the next 4-5 days in a silk cocoon with food particles (a snack) woven into it. Complete life cycle takes about 7 months, with 1-4 generations per year, depending on temperature.

Damage

Larvae are the more fearsome of their species, having strong jaws that easily bore through packaging materials of stored goods. The name may have come from their being a pest of stored herbs in apothecaries, or early 'drugstores'.

Invasion

The beetles get into stored items and infested foodstuffs. Adults can fly and are attracted to big lights in the sky.

Good Riddance

There are 6 steps to control stored product pests. 1) Prevention – inspect any incoming products, and reduce locations that insects may be entering through. 2) Good Sanitation – discard any spilled or damaged products. Vacuum the spilled products, especially in small cracks and crevices where they may accumulate. Completely empty storage areas and check all products carefully for signs of infestation. 3) Proper Storage – store products in sealed containers that will not allow insects to enter. Cardboard or paper containers are easier to penetrate by larvae or adults and should be discarded. 4) Stock Rotation – don't forget about the old products sitting at the back of storage rooms. These are vulnerable to infestations, as they remain undisturbed and possibly damaged. 5) Ventilation – many pests that invade stored products need a high level of humidity to survive, so reducing moisture content in stored products is essential. 6) Control – some stored product pests tend to pupate away from the infested products. Therefore it is important to treat prepared pantry storage areas. Summary – finding and eliminating the source is the best way to achieve long-term control. Using aerosol pesticides for flying adult insects will only provide temporary relief. When using any pesticide, be sure it is registered for the target pest/location. Read the entire label prior to use. Follow all label directions, restrictions and precautions.