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Foreign Grain Beetle

Foreign Grain Beetle is a common pest in Kentucky during mid- to late summer and is often found in tremendous numbers inside buildings.

Foreign Grain Beetle

Foreign Grain Beetle

The reddish-brown beetles are small, only 3/32 inch long which is slightly more than half the length of the familiar red flour beetle. The shape is similar to that of the flour beetle, but the most noticeable difference, in addition to the smaller size, is the presence of tiny knobs or bumps on the front corners of the thorax. A good magnifier is necessary to see this distinguishing character. The beetles are strong fliers and they are attracted to lights.

These beetles have been nicknamed “plaster beetles” by home builders, because they appeared inside rooms of new buildings that had just been plastered. The foreign grain beetle is more properly known as a fungus beetle because it is attracted to and feeds on fungi and molds. Foreign grain beetles are often found in damp stored grain, spilled grain, and musty cereal products in grain mills and food processing plants.

Both adults and larvae feed on cured meats, dried fish, cheeses, raw skins, hides, furs, feathers, hair, fish meal, dry dog and cat food, stored tobacco, stuffed animals, dead insects in wall voids, museum specimens, abandoned bird nests, dead rodents in wall partitions or chimneys, dead beehives, and even rat or mouse poison baits. Infestations are often hard to locate because beetles and larvae can migrate far from the original food source.

Foreign Grain Beetle

Foreign Grain Beetle

Life Cycle : Eggs, which are laid singly or in clusters of two or three, hatch in 4-5 days. Larval development is completed in 11-19 days. When ready to pupate, the larva constructs a chamber of food particles cemented together. It then attaches itself to the substrate with a brownish substance from the anal aperture. Pupation occurs after a prepupal period of 1-2 days, and adults emerge 3-5 days later. Thus, the development cycle is about 30 days under favorable conditions. Females begin laying eggs 3-4 days after emergence.

Most oviposition bouts last 20-30 days and alternate with periods during which no eggs are laid (5-23 days). Daily oviposition rates are 1-4 eggs but can be as high as 8-12 eggs. Peak oviposition occurs 15 days post emergence and 90-105 days post emergence.The insects do not breed when the relative humidity is below 65% in most foods; in some foods this is true below 80%. Mated males and females have an average lifespan of 159 and 208 days, respectively. Unmated beetles live considerable longer – males 275 days – females 301 days.

Low humidities are unsuitable for both larval development and oviposition. Larval development times increase with decreasing humidity so that the mean period from egg to adult increases from 19 days. prepupal or pupal stages. Most larvae have 4 instars, however, as humidity decreases, the proportion with 5 instars increase.

Damage : Foreign grain beetles may appear in newlyconstructed homes by the thousands. Typically, the female is attracted to poorly-seasoned lumber or wet plaster and wall board that supports fungal growth. Foreign grain beetles can also be associated with plumbing leaks, condensation problems,or poor ventilation. Eggs are laid on these materials as the house is being built and larvae feed on the molds. In the late summer, adults become obvious when they emerge from the wall voids and are attracted to lights.

Foreign Grain Beetle larva

Foreign Grain Beetle larva

The foreign grain beetle does not damage stored grain. Its presence in a bin is in response to mold growth on the grain. The real problem in the grain bin is poor management. When grain is placed in storage and not monitored periodically,moisture can accumulate in the bin and molds then develop. This can occur even if the grain was originally dried below thirteen to fifteen percent moisture. The presence of molds and insects in the grain can result in rejection of sale or reduced market value

Management: The first step in controlling larder beetles is looking for the source of infestation. If you find an infested product or item, do not throw it away before destroying the infestation. To kill insects in a package that you intend to throw out, place the package in an oven at 125 to 140°F and heat for 30 minutes to fully penetrate the package. Other means of destroying the pests is to place the package in a freezer at -20°F for a week, or spray with an insecticide. Only then should you discard the infested package. This will keep the pest from spreading.

There are several insecticides available to control larder beetles at home. To avoid confusion, it is best to purchase a brand that lists larder beetles or “general household pests”. Some options include resmethrin, cyfluthrin, tetramethrin, and permethrin. These are for crack and crevice treatment only and provide residual protection. There is no need to spray walls, ceilings or floors because the insects usually hide in cracks and crevices, or in food packages. Purchasing an aerosol spray can with a small 5 inch extension tube is handy for getting insecticides into cracks and crevices.

Apply the pesticide to corners and edges of storage areas with a small paintbrush.A good job of vacuuming removes dust or debris from cracks or crevices, permitting better penetration of insecticides. The vacuum cleaner bag should be put into a plastic bag and sealed before disposal to prevent insects from spreading.

Foreign Grain Beetle damage

Foreign Grain Beetle Damage

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