The sawtoothed grain beetle is one of the most famous grain pests. It has a brown, flat, slender body that measures about one-tenth to one-eighth of an inch in length. It owes its name to the peculiar structure of the thorax, which has six sawtooth-like projections running along the sides of the middle part of its body.
But as innocent as they look, if sawtoothed grain beetles get into your kitchen, they can cause a considerable amount of damage. Thus, it’s important to eliminate them as soon as you notice any signs of infestation.
Keep reading to learn some helpful facts about these common kitchen and pantry pests.
Where Do Sawtoothed Grain Beetles Come From?
It is believed the sawtoothed grain beetle originated in Suriname. They usually find their way into goods during production in warehouses, or when they are being transported to stores that sell the goods.
When there are beetles on the shelves of grocery stores, they continue to breed and infest the products. As the beetles are quite small, they might be overlooked when they’re crawling on the products that you purchase and take home. And you may not even realize the pests are there until you start to see the damage they are causing.
Also, if you live on or near a farm, you may have an abundance of sawtoothed grain beetles indoors. They are common in farming areas because the grain is an easy source of food for them. The sawtoothed grain beetles can get into your house through the smallest crevices and cracks.
What Do Sawtoothed Grain Beetles Eat?
The name of this pest means “rice-lover from Suriname.” In your kitchen, though, they will feed on more than rice. They will attack, both in their larval and adult stages, all foods of vegetable origin.
Besides all sorts of grains and such grain products as flours being their favorite, they can also eat sugar, breakfast foods, table and dried fruits, tobacco, dried meat, spices, pasta, yeast, nutmeat, pet food, bird seeds, fish food, popcorn, raisins, macaroni, stock and poultry feeds, copra, candies, and even chocolate. The best way to look at it is, if food is accessible to these beetles, they will probably eat it.
Boxed foods and foods in plastic bags are not safe from these pests either. They can chew their way through these packages to get into the contents. You can only keep food safe from the beetles by storing it in solid, airtight plastic or glass containers. Otherwise, your cabinets will be an ongoing source of food for the sawtoothed grain beetles, and they will continue to reproduce.
Are Sawtoothed Grain Beetles Harmful?
These pests do not cause direct harm to humans or pets, meaning, they do not sting or bite, and they do not transmit or carry harmful diseases.
The harm they cause is related to the food and its packaging that they destroy. They can get through paper, cardboard, plastic, cellophane, and even foil. You may find packages that have been ruined and the food inside is infested with sawtoothed grain beetles. This results in the inconvenience and expense of replacing food. Obviously, you should never eat food that has been infested with any type of pest.
A good rule of thumb is if you see one beetle, there are other beetles and their eggs that you do not see. If you notice any torn food packages in your cabinets, check to see if there are any beetles. As the eggs are nearly invisible, it is a better idea to consult with a pest control professional who can check thoroughly for a possible infestation.
Where And When Do Sawtoothed Grain Beetles Lay Eggs?
On average, sawtoothed grain beetles live between 6 and 10 months, although they can live much longer than that. During a beetle’s life span, the female can produce between 43 and 285 eggs.
Female beetles usually lay their eggs in April. While the eggs take 3 to 5 days to hatch, the larvae themselves are harmful. They move around freely and can feed on any food they find on their path. In fact, a larva can cause more damage than an adult beetle. The larvae are much smaller and harder to detect, and they spend more time inside food packages.
Sawtoothed grain beetles can lay eggs in small cracks, crevices, and holes. However, if you have an infestation in your kitchen, they can lay the eggs in your food! If you open a package, you may find the beetles have laid eggs inside it. This can mean individual eggs or batches of eggs in the food you were going to eat.
It can also mean an increasing number of beetles as they breed rapidly. When this occurs, they will spread to other packages and foods in that particular area.
Do Sawtoothed Grain Beetles Fly?
Unlike many pests that can take over your kitchen, sawtoothed grain beetles cannot fly. While they do have wings, their body structure prevents the beetles from flying. So you do not need to worry that when you open your kitchen cabinet, a beetle will suddenly fly out at you. It is the way they can destroy your food and food packages that should be your concern.
Sawtooth grain beetles can be a persistent and destructive pest once they’re established in your kitchen and pantry. To break their life cycle, you need to first remove contaminated food and then proceed with a treatment. If your sawtoothed grain beetle infestation has got out of control, it’s best to get in touch with an expert.
Our team at American Pest Control in Georgia has all the experience needed to completely eliminate the infestation through our effective and affordable pest control services.