Coleoptera: Anobiidae, Stegobium paniceum
When examined without the aid of a microscope or field magnifier, this pest of stored products can easily be misidentified as a cigarette beetle. The drugstore beetle is similar to the cigarette beetle in appearance but is slightly larger, more elongate, and has distinctly striated wing covers. The last three segments of the drugstore beetle antennae are shaped somewhat like a saw blade. When at rest, this beetles antennae and legs are pressed to its body, which enables it to go undetected without closer examination. It is cylindrical in body shape, is brown in color and is about 1/10 to 1/8 inch long. Its food is even more varied than that of the cigarette beetle, and it is said to feed "upon almost anything except cast iron."
Drugstore beetle eggs are laid singly in its food source. The larval period of this beetle can last from four to five months and the pupal stage lasts from two weeks to 18 days. The complete life cycle of the drugstore beetle takes about 7 months.
Its fondness for feeding on bread is why it was given the Latin name paniceum, but as we mentioned earlier, this pantry pest will feed on practically anything. The different products in which drugstore beetles have been found are many: strychnine, belladonna, aconite, strychnine-laced wheat, flour, breakfast foods (cold cereals, hot cereals, pastries, grits), meal, red pepper, oatmeal and spices, just to name a few! There have even been reports of this beetle sheet lead, tin foil and wooden game board pieces.
CONTROL: Control of this pantry pest begins with the location of the infested food. Once infested materials have been discovered and destroyed, a thorough clean up, using a vacuum cleaner to get into the cracks and crevices is required. Two products have been found to do an excellent job in drugstore beetle elimination: Suspend SC and Gentrol (Gentrol Point Source will do). Suspend SC contains Deltamethrin, a proven active ingredient in the control of pantry pests of all kind (as well as spiders, scorpions and large roaches!). Gentrol is beginning to be used by more state-of-the-art pest control companies, in conjunction with wettable powders such as Suspend SC. The combination of these two products is unstoppable! For more information on controlling drugstore beetles, go to our Pantry Pest web page.