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Drug Store Beetle

Drug Store Beetle
Class: insect
Other Names: Biscuit beetle, bread beetle
Color: Light to reddish-brown
Size: 1/10 to 1/7 inch long
Legs: 6
Diet: Flour, meal, cereals, spices, seeds, pet foods, pasta, chocolate, wool, hair, paper, leather, horn
Hazard: Can infest food and damage books and museum specimens
Interesting Fact: Drug store beetles got their name from their habit of feeding on drugs in pharmacies. They can even live on poisonous drugs like belladonna and strychnine.
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Drug Store Beetles Have Moved Beyond Pharmacies

The drug store beetle may have been first noticed in drug stores, but it has expanded its territory well beyond these locations. Today they live in:

  • Homes
  • Libraries
  • Museums
  • Pigeons’ nests

The beetles are light brown to reddish brown in color, cylindrical and measure from 1/10 to 1/7 inch long. They are covered in fine, silky, dense hairs and appear to be humped.

Adults can fly and they are very active.

Indiscriminate eaters

Drug store beetles have a varied diet. They eat flour, meal, cereals, spices, seeds, pet foods, raisins, chocolate and bread, to name a few. But they also feed on things that humans don’t consider edible, like paper (they can destroy books and manuscripts in libraries and museums), wool, hair, leather and horn. They might even go after certain types of fabrics and fillers in your sofas or chairs.

Female drug store beetles lay up to 75 eggs at a time and it takes anywhere from four to 20 weeks for the larvae to change into adult beetles. Their entire life cycle is usually less than two months but it can extend up to 7 months.

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Eliminating the nuisance

Since they like so many different types of foods, drug store beetles can make their way into your home in a variety of ways. Although they pose no health hazard to humans, it’s not pleasant to think about them living in your pantry or in your furniture.

To remove drug store beetles:

  • Vacuum any infected areas thoroughly
  • If the beetles are inside food, locate the source of the infestation and wrap it tightly in plastic before disposing of it to prevent adults from flying off
  • Place any foods you’re unsure about in the freezer for several days to kill any beetles or
  • Heat food at 160 degrees Fahrenheit  for 16 to 24 hours

To prevent further infestations, store food in airtight glass, metal or plastic containers with tight-fitting lids.

If dealing with the drug store beetle is giving you a headache, don’t reach for the aspirin! Give Brody Brothers a call and we’ll prescribe the right methods of getting these pests gone for good.