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Insect Control

Stored Food Beetles

Are you finding insects in your grains and cereals?

Your stored foods such as cereal, flour and rice are favourite foods of stored grain beetles, particularly larder beetles, grain beetles and flour beetles.

How do insects get into my food?

Most infestations start by bringing home infested food from the grocery store. Often these insects are present as eggs when the supplier packaged the food. When you bring the food home, the insects have had time to complete part of their development.

Photo by Guttorm Flatabø under license CC BY 3.0

What do larder beetles look like?

The adult is 7 to 9 millimetres long and dark brown in colour. It has a grayish, yellow band with six dark spots across its back. Larvae are 11 to 13 millimetres long, light brown and hairy.

What do larder beetles eat?

Larder beetles prefer to eat protein. They eat cured ham, bacon, cheese, dried pet foods, stored tobacco, animal hides, and dead insects. Finding many larder beetles may mean you have a problem with a dead animal, for example a mouse or dead flies.

Photo by Sarefo under license CC BY 3.0

What do flour beetles look like?

The adult beetle is 3.5 millimetres long and flattened. It is shiny and reddish brown in colour. The larvae are white or yellow. They are slender and cylindrical in shape and are 6 millimetres long when mature.

What do flour beetles eat?

Flour beetles feed on flour, peas, beans, shelled nuts, dried fruits, spices and milk chocolate.

What do grain beetles look like?

The adult beetle is very small about two millimetres long. The grain beetle is reddish brown in colour. The larvae are about two millimetres long. It is yellowish white in colour with a brown head.

What do grain beetles eat?

Grain beetles feed on grains, cereals, macaroni, dried fruits, nuts, seeds, sugar, candy, tobacco and dried meats. It can easily get into packaged food.

How can I keep stored beetles from getting into my food?

When you get home from the store, place your food into a tightly sealed container. You can use either a re-sealable zipper storage bag or a container with a pop-off lid. Insects can crawl through the threads of a screw-off lid. If you did not notice the food was infested when you brought it home, at least the beetles will be confined to the container. Keeping food storage areas cool and dry also helps.

How do I get rid of stored beetles?

  • Look at all your dried food to find where the beetles are coming from.
  • Look for worm-like insects, molting skins or adult beetles.
  • Pay attention to areas where food crumbs collect.
  • Clean cracks and crevices, using a vacuum.
  • Throw out the vacuum bag when done.
  • If you have a particularly stubborn beetle infestation, there are several insecticides that you can use. Silica Aerogel and Diatomaceous earth are considered environmentally friendly. More traditional insecticides include those containing Pyrethrin and Propoxur.
  • Cover the shelves with wax paper once the chemical has dried. Read label directions carefully before using any insecticide.

Last update: March 15, 2021
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Winnipeg MB R2L 1V2
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