Grain beetles are a common household pest in both private homes and businesses. Chances are you have a few in your home right now in your pantry. If you ignore them, they will proliferate and contaminate everything in your cupboards. Plus, one species is flight-capable and you could soon have ugly little bugs flying all over your kitchen.
While it is hard to completely avoid bringing grain beetles into your home,you can control them. There are grain beetle control and treatments for the home that are simple and easy to do. Here are some tips to get rid of grain beetles, what they look like,and how they get into your home in the first place.
Grain beetles are tiny insects who eat most sources of grain. Two species of grain beetles are common in the United States: Sawtooth and merchant grain beetles. Both types of beetles are extremely similar. One key difference separates them. Merchant beetles can fly, but sawtooth beetles cannot. Also,merchant grain beetles have larger eyes.
Other than those two differences, both species are very similar. The rest ofthe differences are too minute to see with the naked eye. Both are about1/8-inch long with flat brown bodies. They also have similar life cycles, and both lay eggs in food.
Grain beetles get into food as it is being produced and packaged. They alsoget into foods at the grocery store. They likely entered your home when you brought in your groceries. Most people don't notice them because they often live deep inside the contents. Their eggs and larva may be difficult to see.They usually go unnoticed until they become well established.
A severe infestation is not difficult to detect. You will see actual beetles either crawling around near your food or in your food. You can easily see adults in some foods such as in a sack of white flour or baking mix. Grain beetles can also chew into soft packaging and paper, so you may see their entry holes. They can also squeeze their way into boxes. Merchant grain beetles mayfly up as you open your cupboards or drawers.
One of the biggest things that worsen an infestation is poorly stored grainsand messy cabinets. Flour sacks and spilled flour provide an excellent foodsource for both species of beetles. Open cereal boxes and mixes are also anexcellent food source. They will even feast on dried pasta, fruit and rice ifpossible.
You may also be inadvertently making an infestation worse in other ways.Even if you take precautions by putting food in bug-resistant containers, theycan still proliferate. If you keep topping off the contents, rather thancleaning the container each time you run out of contents, then the beetles willcontinue breeding. Failure to clean your cupboards regularly also makes things worse.
To rid yourself of grain beetles, you must be diligent about keeping them out of your food and at a minimum. Here are some tips to get rid of grain beetles and keep them away.
1. Check your food when purchasing. Look for any infestation inside the packaging.Spices may also be infected.
2. Throw out infected food. Once you see any beetles, toss the food out completely. If you see adults, then you are guaranteed to have eggs and larva.
3. Clean your cupboards. Remove everything in your cupboard or drawers and sweep the shelves and bottom. If you can vacuum the area, then that's even better.
4. Store your grains properly. Make sure you use air-tight containers and clean them often. Also, store your grains in the refrigerator or freezer. The cold temperatures will prevent eggs from hatching and larvae from turning into adults.
5. Use traps. Many pantry insect traps are on the market that could reduce the number of beetles contaminating your food.
6. Treat your cupboards and drawers with pesticides. Make sure any sprays you use are safe for food areas. Herbs, such as bay leaves, may be a more eco-friendly way to keep pantry insects at bay.
7. Don't let trash sit. Once you've cleaned out your pantry, throw out the trash immediately.
The good news is grain beetles are not known to cause any health issues in human beings. Still, they look gross, and you wouldn't want them in your food regardless of their harmlessness. Also, the same conditions that attract grain beetles attract other pests. While you can manage these pests on your own, a severe infestation needs professional help. A licensed professional can examine and treat your grain beetle problem.