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Pantry Beetle Facts & Information

Protect your home or business from pantry beetles by learning techniques for identification and control.

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Order: Coleoptera
Reddish brown to black
2 to 5 mm


How do I get rid of pantry beetles?

What Orkin Does

Pantry beetles refer to a large group of beetles that infest stored products in both residential and commercial settings.

Different species of pantry beetles have different behaviors, habitats, and diets. Therefore, an accurate identification of the infesting beetle by a pest management professional is crucial to successfully controlling an infestation. Their knowledge, experience, and effective use of equipment and products will help control the population of damaging insects. If you discover a pantry beetle, don’t procrastinate – the problem is likely to get worse before it gets better.

Orkin can provide the right solution to keep pantry beetles in their place…out of your home, or business.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Behavior, Diet & Habits

Understanding Pantry Beetles

What do pantry beetles look like?

Pantry beetles refer to a large group of beetles that infest stored products in both residential and commercial settings.

  • Color: Coloring varies by species, but typically ranges from reddish-brown to brown and black.

  • Size: Most species measure between 2 to 5 millimeters in length.

What do pantry beetles eat?

Diets vary greatly depending on the species of pest. Many of the common foods infested by pantry beetles are:

  • Beans

  • Cereals

  • Dried fruits

  • Flour & Grains

  • Nuts & Seeds

  • Pasta

  • Pet foods

Pantry Beetle Feeding Categories

Stored product infesting beetles are broadly categorized based on their feeding behavior. The four categories of pantry beetles are internal feeders, external feeders, secondary feeders, and scavengers.

Internal Feeders

Internal feeders are beetles that complete their larval (grub) stage inside the seed, kernel, or beans they damage. Some of the commonly encountered internal feeders are:

Weevils are relatively easy to identify since they have a long snout that sticks out from their head and has its functional mouthparts at the tip of the snout. Many experts consider the rice and granary weevils to be the world’s most important stored grain pests.

External Feeders

External feeders complete their life cycle outside the grain. However, external feeders will feed on and damage both whole grains and processed products from whole grains. Some commonly encountered external feeders are:

Warehouse and cabinet beetles will feed on animal hair, taxidermy skins, dried fruits, milk, and dead insects. These beetles will infest the attic space of a home where they may be feeding on a dead rodent or a bird’s nest.

Secondary Feeders

This category of pantry beetles infests old, wet, and moldy stored products that may be damaged by other groups of stored product insects. The secondary feeders often do not directly feed on the product itself, but feed on the mold and fungus growing on the products. Some commonly encountered secondary feeders include:

One of many possible causes of a secondary feeder infestation is old rodent baits set out, but not gathered up after the rodent problem was solved. The mealworm beetle infests old products, but is also a valuable insect since its larval stage is raised and sold as fish bait and food for pets like lizards.


This group of pantry beetles cannot infest whole grains or kernels unless the product was damaged by an external or internal feeding beetle or in the harvesting or storage process. The more common and damaging pantry beetles in this group are:

The most likely situations causing a scavenger beetle infestation are broken pieces of whole grains, grain product, or processed products made from a particular type of grain.

How to Prevent Pantry Beetles

As with any effective pantry pest control method, the best way to get rid of pantry beetles is to prevent them in the first place. While there are many types of pantry pests, bugs in kitchen cabinets and pantries can be a real nuisance. In order to make sure your dry goods and baking ingredients are safe and clean, it’s important to take immediate action if you discover a pantry beetle infestation. If you’re looking for some tips on how to prevent weevils from invading your pantry, here are some easy steps you can take:

Proper Storage

  • It’s important to know how to store dry foods to prevent pest infestations. Using containers with secure lids can protect your items from bugs.

Add a Bay Leaf

  • Place a bay leaf in your packages or containers of dry goods like rice, flour and sugar, as the pungent smell of bay leaves can help to repel pests.

Check Dates

  • Make sure to check expiration dates on any ingredients before use and toss out anything that may be expired.

Clean Often

  • Don’t let spills or crumbs sit for a long period of time — clean up immediately and wipe things down.

  • It’s a good idea to do an annual pantry cleaning by removing everything and wiping down the shelves, containers, floor and walls and then vacuum the corners and hard-to-reach areas.

Use Traps

  • Pantry beetle traps are great for monitoring pest activity by trapping any rogue bugs on a sticky surface.

How to Get Rid of Pantry Bugs

If you’ve stumbled upon beetles in your pantry, it’s time to thoroughly inspect the rest of the area. The best way to do this is to fully empty your pantry and adjacent cabinets and drawers. Run a vacuum over the floors, corners and shelves and then thoroughly wipe down the space with warm, soapy water. We don’t recommend using harmful cleaning chemicals as they could potentially come into contact with food. Before you return any containers or items to the pantry, inspect each package for damage or contamination.

To help get rid of pantry beetles, make sure to call your Orkin Pro for effective pantry beetle treatment. Call your local Orkin branch for pantry pest control.

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