Alien in the pantry

Asked September 6, 2017, 6:43 PM EDT

Found these guys raiding the cereals, grains, and pasta boxes. We also found one on my desk, not near food sourcesThey are about 3/16" (2-3mm) long.Besides getting rid of contaminated foods and thorough vaccuming, any other suggestions for decontamination? Any idea where they lay their eggs, second wave effect, etc?

Montgomery County Maryland

1 Response

This is a drugstore beetle. Got its name because they get in herbs, which used to be used a lot in pharmacies. A life span (egg, larvae, adult beetle) can take up to 7 months, but can be less. There can be up to 4 generations a year. This species is one of a number of insects that get in food items. They are known as 'pantry pests.' Drugstore beetles can also get into drugs, items made from hair, horn, leather, books and other papers.
Food items include most commonly bread, flour, breakfast foods and condiments including red pepper.

Here is our webpage on pantry pests, which includes cleaning methods. Vacuuming and washing cracks and crevasses is especially important. Since your insect is not confined to one food product, you'll want to inspect everything and dispose of it, freeze it, or put it in tightly sealed containers.

Pantry pests are a common problem. Buying large quantities of food is popular now and food can remain around for long periods, it's always a good idea to use up items as quickly as possible.