Drugstore beetles belong to a complex of families called Bostrichoidea, making them very difficult to identify even for trained experts. These reddish-brown beetles are about 1/8 inch long, with their heads almost entirely concealed when viewed from above. Their head is tucked underneath the prothorax, giving them a hunch-backed appearance when viewed from the side. The oval-shaped body is covered in tiny, fine hairs, arranged in rows on the wing covers. The larvae of drugstore beetles are creamy white grubs with a dark head capsule, forming a c-shape.
The lifecycle of drugstore beetles is dependent on food and temperature, lasting anywhere between two to seven months. Females can lay up to 75 eggs after mating, and the newly hatched larvae feed for two to twenty months. Pupation takes two to three weeks, and adults can live up to 65 days.
Drugstore beetles commonly feed on dried, stored products such as flour, dry mixes, chocolate, spices, dried herbs, cookies, stored grains, dried fruits, and vegetables. They have also been found to feed on wool, leather, horns, hides, books, and wood. These beetles are so adaptable that they can even eat drugs, toxins like strychnine powder, and tin cans, thanks to the symbiotic yeast in their digestive system that produces complex nutrients such as B vitamins.
Infestation and Treatment
Infestations of drugstore beetles can be difficult to get rid of if left unchecked. Watch for accumulation of beetles at windowsills and check stored food products regularly for adult beetles. Grubs are harder to detect due to their small size and secretive habits, but they can be found by checking for small shot holes chewed through the sides of boxed cereals, mixes, and grains, as well as small piles of dust and debris coming from containers and bags.
While pesticides are not generally recommended for drugstore beetle infestations, A1 Exterminators can help if the infestation is severe. Most infestations can be managed with diligence, such as careful shopping, cleaning, and food storage habits. By regularly checking for and removing infested products, you can rid yourself of pantry pest problems.