One of the more common pantry insects, Saw-Toothed Grain Beetles
and Merchant Grain beetles adults are small, slender insects which may occur in both food
products in the pantry area and in other adjacent rooms. These are scavenger
feeders which means that you are not likely to find them in whole grain products.
Foods that may be infested include hot and cold cereals,
flour, pastas, dried fruits, dried meats, chocolates and other similar products. As with other pantry insects, it is the larvae
do most of the damage, yet it is the adult that is most commonly found by consumers.
Due to the adaptation of teeth on the sides of the pronotum
(the area behind the insect's head - see photo at top), the adult can enter sealed
cardboard boxes and soft plastic packages.
There is a very slight difference in appearance between these two
insects, but the Merchant Grain Beetle flies while the Saw-Toothed Grain beetle does not.
How to Deal With An Infestation
Control of these insects involves inspection and removal of
infested food products. Remember to check even unopened packages. Once
inspected, it's a good idea to transfer product into impervious containers such as
Tupperware©, Rubbermaid© or other plastic, glass or metal
containers or tins.
Vacuuming the corners of shelves using a crevice tool is also
suggested followed by sealing and disposing of the vacuum bag.
Finally, application of a residual insect spray such
Permacide P-1 to the corners of cabinets using a
pin-stream (jet) application, will help stop the cycle of these insects.
Many people express concern about applying insecticides where
food or foodstuff is stored. Since the sprays are applied selectively
to corners only and are permitted to dry before any food products are returned,
these items are not at risk of being contaminated by the insecticide
application. Remember too, that food products are almost always in containers and don't actually contact
treated surfaces. Even with plates and dishes, only the bottom of these items touch
the treated areas. Please read our commentary,
and Safety, for more information.
If you have any other questions or concerns regarding these
insects pests or any other related question, please
write to us at by clicking here or call us toll free, weekdays at 800-433-1128 or locally at 845-356-2837 between 8 am and 4 pm EST/EDT. Our fax number is 845-746-9018.
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