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Little Food Beetles That Won’t Go Away!

By Chris Williams on June 24, 2016.

I’ve been told that I have a sawtoothed grain beetle infestation in my kitchen cabinets. For months, I’ve been finding these tiny, dark beetles and it’s driving me nuts. I’ll throw out one box of food only to have the beetles turn up again several days later. Help! R.W., Plaistow, NH

Sawtoothed Grain Beetles Are Versatile Pests

Sawtoothed grain beetles are extremely difficult to get rid of in your kitchen because they are very good at what they do (see Why the Sawtoothed Grain Beetle is a Top Pantry Pest). These tiny beetles are stored food pests that can feed on almost any type of boxed or bagged food in your kitchen. That means you can’t just do a quick inspection of what’s in the cupboard and hope to find a single infested food item.

One thing that can help you in your quest to find the source of sawtoothed grain beetles is that they really prefer foods that are old, damp, damaged or past their expiration date. In other words, you’re most likely to find them infesting foods that you wouldn’t want to eat anyway. This also means that you can start your inspection with those foods that have been shoved to the top shelves or to the backs of shelves, those foods that have been buried and forgotten for months. The beetles like undisturbed, dark areas in back corners of cabinets or pantries.

Even Sealed Packages Can Be Infested

But if you empty out the older food packages and don’t find any evidence of sawtoothed grain beetles, you’ll need to keep looking since the beetles may have moved into newer foods. See How to Check Food Products for Insects – Advice From the Pros. Don’t forget to check those bulk bags of dry pet food that may have been around for awhile.

The sawtoothed grain beetle is very tiny (less than 1/8-inch) and very flat so it can squeeze under flaps and between seams to enter even sealed boxes and bags. An emerging female beetle will lay her eggs in another (or the same) food item and hatching white larvae will feed in that food as well. The adult beetles feed on the same food, too.

If you’d rather not spend your time picking through food looking for tiny beetles, call us. Colonial Pest can help evaluate the seriousness of the beetle infestation and can work with you to make sure you get rid of the beetles for good!

Photo Credit : “CSIRO ScienceImage 2599 Sawtoothed Grain Beetle Oryzaephilus surinamensis ” | CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

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