Drugstore Beetles

Facts, Identification & Control

Latin Name

Stegobium paniceum

General Information

The drugstore beetle, is a pest of stored products. The scientific name, paniceum, comes from the Latin word for bread. Some people suspect that the drugstore beetle’s common name came from its tendency to infest the herbs that early druggists used as medicine.

Appearance

What Do They Look Like?

Drugstore Beetle picture
Drug Store Beetle image licensed under CC

  • Color: It is brown in color
  • Size: The drugstore beetle is a small insect. The adult is about 2 to 3.5 mm long.
  • Wings: The wing covers are lined with parallel rows of deep pits or punctures. The adult beetles can fly, and they are attracted to light.
  • Body: The pest is oval-shaped. Viewed from above, the head is not visible, so the beetle appears to be “humped.”

How Did I Get Drugstore Beetles?

Drugstore beetles live inside stored foods and many other items that are kept in unsecured containers. Kitchens and pantries are common targets, especially areas prone to spills and crumbs. They can also survive for weeks without food. If the pests are not completely removed, they are likely to reemerge from their hiding places and start a new infestation.

How Serious Are Drugstore Beetles?

Their common name is derived from the insect actively infesting items previously common in drugstore infestations. Although not nearly as common in drugstores now, they are reported to consume some prescription drugs in addition to foods and other materials. They can even bore through aluminum foil, so prevention is difficult.

Contamination
The main concern with drugstore beetles is contamination of the products they infest. The pests do the most damage in their larval form as they live, eat, and excrete waste within the products they’ve infested.

Signs of a Drugstore Beetle Infestation

Signs of drugstore beetle are the adults seen buzzing around or resting on surfaces. Other signs include holes in packaging where the beetles have emerged and debris deposited next to infested items as the larvae feed. It can be difficult to find infestations in other parts of the home. A flashlight will help with the inspection.

How Do I Get Rid of Drugstore Beetles?

What Orkin Does
Controlling drugstore beetles begins with a thorough inspection. It is important to find everything that they have infested.

Insecticide application is the final step. It should be applied only in cracks and crevices. The object is to help eliminate any beetles that may be hiding without contaminating surfaces. Incomplete treatment can allow survivors to re-infest.


What You Can Do
One of the most important drugstore beetle controls is to keep spilled products and old, outdated packaged items they like to eat cleaned up and thrown away. Also, be sure to clean pantry and cabinet shelves with a vacuum.

Behavior, Diet & Habits

What Do They Eat?
Drugstore beetles infests many food products including:

  • Flour
  • Cereal
  • Spices
  • Chocolates

They also infest non-food products like:

  • Books and manuscripts
  • Fur
  • Leather
  • Horn

Drugstore beetles have even been found in products that are poisonous like strychnine.

Where Do They Live?
Homeowners often discover adult beetles in the pantry or near the kitchen windows. Because they can infest such a variety of materials, they can become a problem in more than one part of a home.

Reproduction

The adult beetle lays eggs on the food. When the larva hatches, it eats and grows. The larva stage lasts for several months spins a silken cocoon when fully grown. Inside the cocoon, it takes more than two weeks for the larva to change to an adult. In a warm climate, drugstore beetles can produce as many as four generations per year.