Drugstore Beetle

Common Name: Drugstore Beetle

Latin Name: Stegobium paniceum

Common Family Name: Drugstore and Deathwatch beetles

Latin Family Name: Anobiidae

Other Names: Bread beetle

Origin: This beetle is found throughout the world as one of the most common and most destructive pests of food in storage. It is easily transported and spread in infested materials.

Biology: The Drugstore Beetle is perhaps the most common food pest in the U.S., infesting an extremely wide range of food materials. Virtually anything made from grains or vegetable materials is subject to attack, and an especially vulnerable area is spices and peppers. The adult beetle does not feed, but larvae may be found in flours, baked goods, pet foods, spices, coffee beans and chocolate. The larvae have strong enough jaws to easily bore through packaging materials, including plastic jars, and into wooden materials such as cutting boards. It is related to some serious wood-boring insect pests, and has been found in books, wooden shelving, and other wood objects in structures. The period from egg to adult insect takes less than 2 months, and there can be up to 6 generations per year.

Identification: This is a very small beetle, usually about 2.5 mm in length and with an elongate, cylindrical shape. It is a dull brown to grayish brown color, and under high magnification it can be seen that the exoskeleton is covered with large pores, giving it this dull appearance. When viewed from above the head is nearly hidden under the overhanging prothorax. It is very similar to the Cigarette Beetle, which is more reddish and shinier, but the antenna of the Drugstore Beetle consists of a series of small basal segments followed by 3 much larger segments that make up the outer half of the antenna.

Characteristics Important in Control: Preventing the pest from getting a foothold is extremely important, given the rapid reproductive rate and wide varieties of foods attacked. Proper stock rotation and storage practices are needed, including storage in a cool, dry condition if possible to slow down the reproductive rate of beetles that do enter. Monitoring commercial accounts with pheromone traps will help to discover when adult beetles enter, and help isolate the possible infested product.