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Drugstore Beetle

Drugstore beetles come from a large beetle complex of families called the Bostrichoidea. its name by feeding on pharmaceutical drugs.

Drugstore Beetle

Drugstore Beetle

The drugstore beetle, Stegobium paniceum, is a common pantry pest. The adult is a 1/8-inch long, red-brown beetle with grooves in its wing covers and clubbed antennae. The drugstore beetle larva is a small, hairless white grub. Another common pantry pest, the cigarette beetle, closely resembles the drugstore beetle. The cigarette beetle, however, has sawlike antennae and smooth wing covers.

Drugstore beetles will feed on many drugs, including poisonous substances such as belladonna and strychnine. They infest almonds, peanuts, paprika, red pepper, alfalfa meal, cornmeal, flour, milo, wheat, wheat bran, wheat germ, dry dog food, bread, beans, coffee beans, fish meal, spaghetti, instant chocolate, powdered milk, books and manuscripts, dried flowers, and certain fillers and fabric coverings of furniture.

Drugstore Beetle

Drugstore Beetles

The larval or grub stage of the Japanese beetle is a “C” shaped white grub that lives in the soil. Its primary food source is grass roots, but it is known to feed on the roots of corn, beans, tomatoes, and strawberries. All “white grub” species are similar looking but vary in their life cycles, so identifying the grub to species is important for the proper timing of pesticide application. Grubs can be identified to species by the pattern of hairs on their brown hind ends (raster). Using a 10-power hand lens, you can see that the hairs on the raster of Japanese beetle form a small “V” shape just below the anal slit.

Life Cycle : Female drugstore beetle lays eggs singly in almost any dry organic substance. The eggs are oval and white and hatch in six to ten days after deposited. Small white grubs emerge from the eggs and then tunnel through these substances. The larvae have six to nine instars and are about two-tenths inch long when fully developed.

The larvae form a small cocoon of silk and food material in which they pupate. Although the entire life cycle can be completed in from forty to fifty days, there is generally only one generation per year in stored grains.

Drugstore Beetle larva

Drugstore Beetle larva

Life of adult beetles is relatively short under high temperatures and long under low temperatures . Studies with Japanese beetles under captivity have shown variations as wide as nine to 74 days in males and 17 to 105 days in females; the generally accepted range is 30 to 45 days.

Damage : The drugstore beetle is a cosmopolitan, junk food junkie. A more appropriate name would be the kitchen sink beetle, or the pig beetle, or better yet, the goat beetle, because they eat everything! It got its name because it can be found infesting prescription drugs. Drugstore beetles commonly feed on dried, stored products like: flour, dry mixes, chocolate, spices, dried herbs, cookies, stored grains and dried fruits and vegetables.

Other edible items that this beetle has been found feeding on include: wool, leather, horns, hides, books, and wood. More amazing food items include drugs, toxins, such as strychnine powder, and tin cans! Much like wood-eating organisms, drugstore beetles contain symbiotic yeast that helps them digest these ‘food’ items. This yeast can produce complex nutrients such as B vitamins that make it possible for this beetle to eat junk

Management: Pesticides are not generally recommended or needed to remedy a drugstore beetle infestation. If the infestation were bad enough to warrant an insecticide, it would be worth calling a professional. Most infestations can be managed by diligence. Careful shopping, cleaning and food storage habits will rid you of your pantry pest problems

If free-living adults are found, look for potential food items in your pantry. Once the food item is found, throw it out if it is heavily infested. Closely inspect other food items. Questionable food items can be temperature treated by freezing them for a few days or heating them to 120-130o F for a few hours. Heat to 180oF for faster results. Take care in temperature treating food items; you may ruin the product. Do not store dried food items exposed. Food items should be stored in airtight containers. Clear plastic Tupperware containers are good to use to monitor future beetle infestations. This storage practice should be used when buying bulk food items that will be around for a while in your pantry.

Drugstore Beetle Damage

Drugstore Beetle Damage

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