Drugstore Beetle Facts & Information

Everything you need to know about drugstore beetles

Drugstore beetles are about 1/10 to 1/8 inch long, cylindrical, and light brown to red brown. Adult drugstore beetles are very active and can be identified by their rapid skittering movement. Their bodies are covered with fine, silky pubescence, and they have distinct grooves in their wing covers. Drugstore beetles have antenna that end in three enlarged segments.

Female drugstore beetles lay as many as 100 eggs or more at a time. The eggs are pearly white and difficult to see. They are deposited in a suitable food source and typically hatch after about 10 days. The newly hatched larvae are cream-colored grubs shaped like the letter “C” and are very small – not even measuring a 1/4 inch in length. After pupating for 12 to 18 days, immature drugstore beetles emerge as adults. The typical lifespan of an adult drugstore beetle ranges from 14 to 65 days.

Be sure not to mistake them for cigarette beetles. You can tell the difference because drugstore beetles do not have the humpback appearance. Also, drugstore beetles have very distinct vertical lines on their wings – cigarette beetles do not. The larvae can be mistaken for white maggots. This is when a Board Certified Entomologist comes in handy. An Entomologist will properly identify your beetle so that the correct professional beetle extermination tactics are used.

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How Did I Get Drugstore Beetles

Commercial sites like cereal and pet food manufacturing facilities provide ideal conditions for drugstore beetles looking for warmth and food. They are also commonly found in flour mills, bakeries, confectioners, distribution centers, food warehouses, retail stores, and homes. These pests are expert fliers, attracted to both light and a variety of food sources, like grains, seeds, flour, pet foods, spices, books and manuscripts, leather, wool, hair, and even drugs. It doesn’t seem difficult to get these pests in your home or business. Female drugstore beetles can lay more than 100 eggs at a time, usually depositing them in a suitable food source on which the larvae can feed when they hatch after 10 days. So, once you have drugstore beetles, they can quickly become an infestation. Immediately disposing of infested foods and doing a deep clean of the pantry or wherever they may have taken up residence will help keep them under control.

Where Do Drugstore Beetles Live

Although they prefer to live in warmer environments outdoors, drugstore beetles can survive just about anywhere heated shelter is available. Various commercial sites provide ideal conditions for the pests, including cereal and pet food manufacturing facilities, storage warehouses, and flour mills. And home pantries are just as attractive to these pests. The drugstore beetle is an expert flier and attracted to light, making home invasions both possible and likely.

Drugstore beetles eat a variety of different foods. While they cause the most damage to stored grains, seeds, and flour, the insects maintain a diverse and relatively indiscriminate diet that also includes pet foods, spices, books and manuscripts, leather, wool, hair, and even drugs, hence their common name. Known to even bore through wooden objects, the pests are capable of penetrating through tin, tin foil, and lead sheets, making stored foods virtually unprotected.

What Problems Do Drugstore Beetles Cause

Years ago, drugstore beetles were a major pest concern in pharmacies, feeding on herbs used in medicines. Today, they still feed on drugs but also, many dry stored products like the cereal, breads, cookies, chocolates, sweets, seeds, grains, pet foods, spices, red pepper, and flour so they are an equally destructive pest in businesses as they are in homes. They are considered omnivorous because they infest such a broad range of vegetable and animal products. They will also feed and damage nonfood items like books, book bindings, wool, fur, and leather. The excrement these beetles leave behind can irritate the mouth, throat, and stomach if ingested. Foods infested by drugstore beetles are not fit for consumption and cannot be sold. It sounds like they will eat almost anything so bring in someone to do proper beetle treatments for ultimate beetle control.

How Can I Prevent Drugstore Beetles

Drugstore beetles can perforate wood in order to get to a food source so keeping them out is pretty difficult. Drugstore beetles can even bore through wood, as well as inorganic materials, like tin, tin foil, and lead sheets, making stored food products virtually unprotected. Don’t store exposed foods on shelves or in pantries. Instead sore foods in glass or plastic containers with tight-fitting lids. If you do see evidence of drugstore beetles, clean and vacuum shelves, bins, and storage areas well. Make sure to empty out the vacuum bag well so that you don’t end up having the crawl right back into your pantry. Rotate food stock and do not mix old and new products. Keep food storage areas dry and clean. When food items show signs of infestation, heating small quantities at a time in an oven may successfully eliminate the insects. However, this method of drugstore beetle removal proves less than sanitary and may still render the infested food inedible.

Why Waltham for Drugstore Beetles

We’re passionate about keeping drugstore beetles out of your home or business because we live and work here – it’s our neighborhood, too. With our 130 years of experience keeping homes and businesses in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island safe from pests, Waltham has the experience you can trust.
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