What Are These Weird Looking Beetles In My Cereal?  

saw toothed grain beetle identification in Knoxville TN.

With fall arriving and colder weather with it, we don’t anticipate finding insects in our homes anymore, especially beetles in our cereal!  Summer is the season for insects, and many people believe that the chill of winter eliminates most insect problems. However, this simply isn’t true. Pantry pests, like the saw-toothed grain beetle, commonly invade homes in fall and winter.

What are saw-toothed grain beetles?

No one wants to find insects in their pantry items, but if you do find bugs in your cereal, understanding how to identify what pest infestation you’re dealing with is important. Saw-toothed grain beetles are small brown beetles with long flattened bodies that get narrower at the tip. These small insects are pantry pests and get their name from the six saw-like protrusions on either side of their thorax.

How do saw-toothed grain beetles invade?

Saw-toothed grain beetles are most often found in stored-food products such as cereal, pasta, flour, nuts, baking mix, bread, sugar, and a wide range of other dried goods. Most infestations begin in grocery stores or food-processing facilities. If you find saw-toothed grain beetles in your home, it’s almost always because you bought an infested food item at the store by mistake. While it is more common to encounter adult saw-toothed grain beetles in your home, it is actually the larva that does most of the damage. Saw-toothed grain beetles don’t bite or cause harm in any physical way. Instead, these insects cause problems by contaminating food items with their bodies, eggs, and larvae.

Pantry Pest Prevention Tips

There are many prevention tips you can try that will reduce your risk for an infestation, but prevention tips will never be as effective as professional pest control. To keep saw-toothed grain beetles and other pantry pests out of your home this fall, follow these helpful pantry pest prevention tips from the National Pest Management Association (NPMA):

  1. Inspect dried goods before purchasing. If a bag or box has small holes, it could mean that saw-toothed grain beetles have already gotten inside.
  2. Inspect the interior bagged food items themselves once you arrive home. If there are signs of larva or eggs inside, throw the infested product away.
  3. Store pasta, flour, and other dry foods in hard plastic or glass containers that can’t be chewed through.
  4. Only purchase items that show no sign of damage.
  5. Check expiration dates on baking ingredients before use.
  6. Keep kitchen counters, floors, and sinks clean because crumbs and spills quickly attract pests.
  7. Dispose of garbage regularly in sealed receptacles.
  8. Seal cracks or holes around the stovepipes and water pipes.
  9. Eliminate all moisture sites, including leaking pipes and clogged drains.

If an infestation has already occurred, you shouldn’t try to handle it alone. Pantry pest problems can get out of hand quickly if they aren’t dealt with right away. It is recommended to contact a pest professional if a pantry pest infestation is suspected.

Tis The Season For Pantry Pests

Tis The Season For Pantry Pests

Well, the holiday season is approaching fast, and soon we will be gathering in kitchens to prepare fantastic feasts and delicious desserts for ourselves and our loved ones. There is so much more cooking and baking to do than usual as you pull out the treasured recipes again, and it is especially fun creating food traditions with children. You will want to plan ahead, not only for the menus and recipes but for the ingredients too. You may already have everything you need in your pantry, but some of those ingredients might have been there awhile and might contain some nasty pantry pests. Nothing could be worse than reaching for some important ingredients only to find it has been contaminated with pests, causing you to delay your baking for another day.

You should always check your pantry before you plan to use any food that has been stored there. These foods include all dry cereal, pasta, flour, spices, crackers, seeds, nuts, and fruit. Foods stored in paper are particularly at risk for contamination from pantry pests. Some of these pests are grain moths, Indian meal moth, rice weevils, drugstore beetles, tobacco beetles, and flour beetles. Sometimes these pests come into homes already inside the packaged foods, but they can also come in from outside sources. Even if your house is spotlessly clean, pantry pests can still become a problem. Usually, the early larval stage of the pest will spend much of its time in the stored food. During the pupal stage, they will stay close by to the source in cracks, corners, and packaging. The adults will venture further away from the food source, and in favorable conditions, breed and create several generations each year. Once you have discovered an adult pantry pest it’s almost certainly too late, your food will have already been contaminated and will need to be thrown away.

In order to avoid pantry pests this holiday season you will need to:

  • Inspect food on a regular basis
  • Keep food in containers with tight lids
  • Clean your kitchen and pantry shelves regularly
  • Buy foods that have packaging that does not have rips or holes
  • Keep old and new food separate
  • Throw away old and contaminated food
  • Thoroughly clean empty containers before putting new food in them
  • Keep kitchen and pantry food areas dry

Now is the perfect time to consider year-round pest control to eliminate the possibility of spoiling the holidays. DIY pest control can certainly make a difference in many cases, but with the holiday rush and the challenge of eliminating every last pest that could lay eggs and begin the process all over again, consider an alternative that will free you up to focus on the joys of the season rather than the pests in your seasoning. Russell Pest Control in Knoxville and Eastern Tennessee offers effective pest control solutions for household pests including pantry pests. We are a full-service pest management company and know how to apply proven solutions in a personalized treatment plan. Just give us a call today for more information about our year-round pest control program, and how we can solve your pest problems and prevent them from ever being an issue again.