Beetles Commonly Found In The Kitchen — Preventative Pest Control

Beetles Commonly Found In The Kitchen

When thinking of pests that cause Marylanders problems, we tend to focus our attention on things such as rats, mice, ants, and termites. However, we’ve heard from many customers who are reporting the discovery of beetles in their kitchen. Below, we’ll explain the types of beetles Marylanders are discovering and the preventative pest control measures you can take to help eliminate them.

The Larder Beetle

The larder beetle is one of the most common bugs found in pantries. These bugs are brown and tend to feature large bands on their back. Their diet consists primarily of meat and other animal products. However, the beetles are not solely attracted to foods intended for human consumption. Many larder beetles find their way into dried pet foods. They also find themselves drawn to leftovers, such as:

If you notice larder beetles but can’t find a food source, it could be indicative of a more significant rodent infestation. Because larder beetles feast on things such as pet hair or feathers, their presence could also indicate that rodents such as mice, squirrels, or birds are nearby.

The Grain Beetle

While larder beetles are attracted to meat, grain beetles will feast on bread-like products. This can include things such as yeast, flour, rice, and wheat. The beetles are typically only a few millimeters in length and have six legs. These beetles can multiply rapidly. Female beetles will lay their larvae in or around food. The larvae then make their way into the food and use it as the primary source to build their cocoon.

Did You Recently Discover Beetles In Your Kitchen?

If you’ve recently come across a beetle infestation in your home, we recommend that you first remove the food source. Not only should you throw away the food, but you should also then clean your cabinets with warm water and soap. This will help remove any trace scents that could attract the beetles back to the location.

Additionally, you’ll want to ensure that you’re storing food properly. Be sure to put any new food that you purchase into a glass or plastic container with a tight seal. You also may want to consider storing food in the refrigerator, since beetles will have a much more challenging time getting in. If these methods do not solve your problem, then you’re going to want to contact the trusted team at BugOut.

BugOut is the local preventative pest control company that you can trust. Our technicians will first determine the type of beetle causing havoc in your home. Then, they’ll figure out the best way to kill the bugs and prevent them from returning. We understand how traumatic it can be to find bugs in your food, pantry, and drawers. That’s why we’re with you every step of the way. Be sure to give us a call today to help

Facts, Identification & Control

Two of the most common flour beetles are the confused flour beetle, Tribolium confusum (duVal), and the red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum (Herbst). These are small beetles.
  • Size: The adults are about 3 to 4 mm long.
  • Color: They are reddish brown in color.

There are differences between the antennae of these two beetles. Since these insects are so small, it usually requires a magnifying glass to recognize these differences.

How Did I Get Flour Beetles?

Flour beetles feed on the broken bits and dust from grain that collect in bags of grains, flour, cereal, and pasta. The pests usually get inside packaging at warehouses or grocery stores and are then brought into homes inside these infested products. From there, flour beetles may spread to other pantry goods.

How Serious Are Flour Beetles?

Flour beetles are one of the most common pests found in stored products. They create a pungent odor and often contribute to the growth of mold in food. They also contaminate packaged good with shed skins and feces. In time, flour beetle infestations can render whole cupboards full of pantry goods unfit to eat.

How Do I Get Rid of Them?

Controlling flour beetles starts with a thorough inspection. Every infested package should be thrown away. Vacuum the pantry and cabinet shelves. This will remove food particles. Store new food products in sealed containers to prevent new infestations.

Insecticide application is the last step. The insecticide should go into cracks and crevices. The object is to eliminate any flour beetles that may be hiding.

Due to the difficult nature of these pests, it is advisable to contact your local Orkin branch office.

Signs of Flour Beetle Infestation

Sighting of small tubular beetles near stored products or in the product can indicate activity.

Adult flour beetles can crawl into packages that appear to be sealed. Infestations can easily spread from one product on a shelf to several different products. People can transport infested products from place to place.


As they eat, the beetles cause flour to become discolored and develop a disagreeable odor.

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Behavior, Diet & Habits

Flour beetles are pests of flour and cereal products. They are among the most important pests of flour and stored products.

Where do they live?

They are common in homes and grocery stores. They also infest mills and food processing facilities.

The flour beetles include several species. Some of the other flour beetles are the black flour beetle, the false black flour beetle, the broadhorned flour beetle, the slenderhorned flour beetle, the depressed flour beetle, the smalleyed flour beetle and the longheaded flour beetle. These do not occur as often as the red and the confused flour beetles.

The red flour beetle originally came from Asia. In the United States it is most common in the South. The red flour beetle is a good flier. It sometimes flies from fields into buildings.

Red flour beetle vs confused flour beetle

Some people suspect that the confused flour beetle got its name from being confused with the red flour beetle. The confused flour beetle originally came from Africa. In the United States it is one of the most important pests of home pantries and grocery stores. Although it has wings,it typically doesn’t fly.

Reproduction & Life Cycle

Flour beetles do not attack whole grains. The female beetle deposits eggs directly on flour, cereal, dry pet food or other similar products. The females deposit a few eggs each day in the food that she is eating. The egg laying can last several months. The eggs are hard to see in flour or meal.

The larvae hatch and begin to eat the material where they hatched. The larvae are 4 to 5 mm long. Flour beetles can develop from egg to adult in as little as seven weeks. In warm environments, there can be four or five generations per year.

UConn Home & Garden Education Center

Several insects, commonly referred to as pantry or kitchen pests, infest dry or stored food products in the home. Most are either beetles or moths. In the case of beetles, both the adult and larval stages may be damaging while only the larvae of moths are destructive. Infestations may be noted when these insects are found in some products, but more commonly when the adults are seen crawling or flying about the kitchen or pantry.

Since most of these insects are of tropical or semi-tropical origin, they live and breed best under warm, humid conditions – conditions often found in kitchen cupboards. Since most do not hibernate, reproduction is continuous throughout the year and populations can build up rapidly if they are left undisturbed.

Source of Infestation

Pantry pests are almost always brought into the home in infested food packages. From here, they spread to other susceptible products. On occasion, adults fly in through open doors and windows. Pantry infestations of carpet beetles and larder beetles may be due to a change of habitat – from products containing wool, fur, or feathers to dried food products. Larder beetles are attracted to the fat in dry dog and cat food. Psocids, or book lice, like to feed on starchy materials and may infest dried food products after first feeding on non-food products.

Items most likely to be infested with pantry pests include grains, flour, bran, cereal, breakfast foods, dried fruits, nuts, crackers, cookies, matzos, macaroni, spaghetti, candy, chocolate, cocoa, cheese and dried meats. Also, they can be found in dry dog and cat food, bird and vegetable seeds, cornstarch, dried soup mixes and other dehydrated foods, and in spices – especially red pepper, paprika and chili powder.

Most Common Pantry Pests

The most frequently encountered pantry pests in Connecticut homes are the saw-toothed grain beetle, the Indian meal moth, and the rice weevil. A brief description and life history of each is as follows:

The Saw-Toothed Grain Beetle
The adult is a small brownish beetle about 1/10-inch long with six tooth-like projections on either side the thorax (that part of the insect just behind the head.). The worm-like larva is less than 1/8-inch long and dirty white in color. Both the larva and adult cause damage by their feeding. The adult beetle is often mistaken for a small ant when seen walking around. Because of its small size, it can readily penetrate tiny cracks and crevices to get into unopened food packages.

Clemson University — USDA Cooperative Extension Slide Series,

Eggs are laid in or near food products and hatch into larvae in a week or less. The larvae feed for two to three weeks and then pupate within a protective cocoon-like covering made by sticking small bits of food together. About a week later they emerge as adults. Infestations can build up rapidly if left undisturbed since adults can live and breed for three years.

Both larva and adult feed on a wide variety of stored products. These include grains, cereals, breakfast foods, flour, bread meal, corn meal, corn starch, cookies, crackers, dried fruits and vegetables, nuts, dried soup mixes, dry dog and cat food, garden seeds, bird seed, macaroni, spaghetti, yeasts, chocolate, candy, dried meats and similar products.

The Indian Meal Moth
The Indian meal moth is a small insect with a wingspan of about ¾ of an inch. Its wings lie flat along the body when at rest. The front wings are a light tannish color on the front third, while the back two thirds are reddish-brown with a coppery luster. The moth itself does no damage. However, when seen it is an indication that the larvae, which are worm-like in form, dirty white, and about ½ inch long when mature, are at work.

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Clemson University — USDA Cooperative Extension Slide Series,

Female moths can lay from 200 to 400 eggs. Upon hatching, the larvae disperse and feed in or near a tunnel-like case of debris and silk that they web together. When the larvae reach maturity, they leave their case and food supply and wander about looking for a place to pupate. It is during this wandering that they are most likely to be seen. When a suitable place is found, the larvae construct a white silken cocoon, pupate and later emerge as adult moths. The Indian meal moth can complete its life cycle in 27 days under ideal conditions but it probably takes much longer in most cases. The larvae will feed on most foods that are attacked by the saw-toothed grain beetle.

The Rice Weevil
The adult weevil is a small, black snout beetle about 1/8-inch long with four reddish or yellowish spots on its back. The larva is legless and has a short, stout, whitish body and tan head.

This pest is largely confined to whole grain products such as rice, wheat, kernel corn, table beans, nuts, seeds (especially sunflower seeds), etc. Normally a householder does not know these weevils are present until the adults are seen crawling about because they feed inside the whole grain and plug their entrance holes so that the grain looks normal. The rice weevil can also be found in solidified milled products such as macaroni and cake flour.

The female beetle eats out a cavity in a whole grain product large enough for an egg, lays the egg in it and seals over the cavity. The egg hatches and the larvae feeds inside and remains there until it transforms to an adult. The entire life cycle can be completed in as little as 32 days.

Less Common Pantry Pests

Other pantry pests less frequently encountered include the granary weevil, Angoumois grain moth, bean weevil, and lesser grain borer. These insects are largely internal feeders on whole grain products like the rice weevil and therefore are seldom seen until the adults emerge from the grain.

The rest of the stored products pests are either external feeders or scavengers who feed on grain only after the seed coat has been broken either mechanically or by some other insect, or secondary pests that feed only on materials which are out of condition, damp, or have some mold on them. These pests include the Mediterranean flour moth, confused flour beetle, red flour beetle, cigarette beetle, drugstore beetle, spider beetle, black carpet beetle, larder beetle, cadelle, yellow mealworm, grain mite, psocid, and others.

Control of Pantry Pests

Always keep in mind that many pantry pests are strong fliers and that their larvae can crawl some distance from a source of infestation. The source of infestation is usually limited to a small area such as the kitchen, or a single cabinet, or a single susceptible product. Before you attempt control, find out this source and eliminate it.

This is not always an easy job. Check all the materials mentioned as susceptible products. Do not overlook the fact that a sealed container may be infested because the lid may be loose enough to allow pantry pests to escape from it.

It is possible to kill pantry pests by putting lightly infested packages in the refrigerator freezer compartment for two or three days.

Periodically clean all shelves in storage areas. Many pantry pests can breed in food particles that spill or sift from packages and accumulate in cracks and corners. The insects can then infest food packages on the shelves later.

Buy only small quantities of foods susceptible to infestation, especially in the summer. Carefully examine these foods when you get them to be sure they are free of pests.

Whenever possible, dry foods can be stored in clean glass or metal containers with tight fitting lids. (Empty coffee cans with plastic lids make excellent storage containers.) Clean containers thoroughly before placing fresh food in them. Never leave them undisturbed for long periods of time.

Are not recommended for use against pantry pests.

Pheromone Traps
Pheromone traps are only available for Indian meal moths and they just attract male moths. They are generally used after the source of infestation has been found and contained to detect any remaining moths rather than as a control measure. If more moths are found, inspection and cleaning should continue.

Despite good cultural practices, pests and diseases at times may appear. Chemical control should be used only after all other methods have failed.
For pesticide information or other questions please call toll free: 877-486-6271.

Flying pests

This category includes mosquitoes, different fly species and wasps. Here is a brief summary of those 3 species:

Flies are well-travelled, cosmopolitan pests and are particularly prevalent in farms and homes.

Houseflies can transmit intestinal worms and are potential vectors of diseases such as:
• Dysentery
• Gastroenteritis,
• Typhoid
• Cholera
• Tuberculosis

They feed indiscriminately on any liquefiable solid food, which may equally be moist, putrefying material or food stored for human consumption.

Flies have rapid, prolific breeding habits and high mobility. Control measures are aimed at breaking the life-cycle by either controlling the larvae or the adults.

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Satisfactory hygiene is necessary to limit potential breeding sites and food sources. Domestic refuse should be covered, farm manure should be kept dry as possible, and potential entry points screened, sealed or covered.

For best results, use insecticidal control measures coupled with good hygiene. These measures include using larvicides in the manure and surface sprays, space sprays and insecticide baits to control the adults.

Mosquitoes are pervasive insects. Depending on the species, they breed in all types of water from heavily polluted to clean water and from small collections of water in tin cans to pools, ponds or streams.

In tropical climates they are major vectors of disease including:
• Malaria
• Filariasis
• Yellow fever
• Encephalistis
• Dengue fever

Control measures can be directed to the larvae or adults.

Minimise larval breeding sites by sealing drains, removing receptacles that accumulate water and ensuring water drains away from a building. Where these physical measures aren’t possible, apply larvicides regularly to the water to kill the larvae before they pupate.

Adult mosquitoes are killed indoors using an aerosol, minimised by using repellents or treated bed nets, mosquito coils etc. Vector control programs may use indoor residual surface sprays to control mosquitoes that come inside and rest on walls etc. Alternatively, space sprays such as thermal fogging or ULV applications can be used to rapidly reduce adult mosquito populations indoors or outdoors.

Wasps are regarded as beneficial insects. As the nests develop during the spring and early summer, workers collect insect larvae, scraps of meat and even fish to feed to larvae, helping to control insects.

Workers prefer high energy carbohydrates obtained from fruits and the nectar of flowers. They could act as pollinators although are unlikely to be as efficient as honey bees.

Generally, wasps are regarded as nuisance pests and a threat to health. They feed on fruits like apples, pears and plums, and extend the damage caused by other pests and diseases. Collecting wood to construct nests, they also damage the wooden fabric of buildings, fences and garden furniture.

However, it’s a wasp’s ability to cause painful stings that concerns most people. Typically, a wasp is not an aggressive insect but the sting is employed by the social wasps to defend their nests.

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Biscuit Beetles

The Biscuit beetle (Stegobium paniceum), also known as the Bread beetle or Drugstore beetle, is a tiny, brown beetle that can be found infesting a wide variety of products, and is among the most common non-weevils to be found there. Fans of the Hornblower books will be familiar with these beetles for when the sailors complain of maggot infested biscuits it was the larvae of this beetle they were seeing.

In recent years Harrier Pest Control has seen an increase in biscuit beetle infestations associated with children’s cuddly toys imported from the far east as they are stuffed with wheat or rice which provides the ideal breeding grounds.

Professional Control

The most effective method of ridding a home of these pests is to try to discover the source of the infestation.

Once this has been found, efforts can be made in removing the root of the problem, which is usually related to bird nests, food and high humidity levels. Therefore steps will have to be taken in removing any birds nest from the premises (if this is the situation then ideally specialist advice should be sought), food residues and any food which has been left open; these steps should be followed by adopting measures to decrease the humidity levels; perhaps by way of a dehumidifier.

Once satisfaction has been reached in removing the main cause of the infestation, the immediate area of the outbreak should be cleaned thoroughly with a vacuum cleaner, paying special attention to small cracks and crevices; ideally the area should be treated with an effective insecticide, too.

More about the Biscuit Beetle

These beetles have a worldwide distribution and can be more commonly found in warmer climates. They are similar in appearance to the Cigarette beetle (Lasioderma serricorne), but are slightly larger (adults can be up to 3.5 mm in length). Additionally, Biscuit beetles have antennae ending in 3-segmented clubs, while Cigarette beetles have serrated antennae (notched like teeth of a saw). The Biscuit beetle also has grooves running longitudinally along the elytra, whereas the Cigarette beetle is smooth.

Their larvae are small, white grubs, and they can be distinguished from the grubs of the Cigarette beetle by their shorter hair. The female can lay up to 75 eggs at once, and the larval period lasts up to several months depending on the food source. It is the larvae that are responsible for most of the damage that this species can cause.

The Biscuit beetle lives in obligatory symbiosis with a yeast fungus, which is passed on to the offspring by covering the eggs with it.

As their name suggests, Drugstore beetles have a tendency to feed on pharmacological products, including prescription drugs. They will also feed on a diverse range of dried foods and spices, as well as hair, leather, books, and museum specimens. They can bore into furniture, and in some cases tin foil or sheets of lead.

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