Can Sawtoothed Grain Beetles Cause Damage In Your Kitchen?


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.


Why Do You Get Moths In Your Pantry?


Pantry moths are deplorable home companions and a nightmare in the pantry. While these little guests come out of the blue uninvited, there are reasons why they’re persistently ubiquitous in most home pantries.

In essence, you get moths in your pantry because they are attracted to the food that is stored there. Moths fancy dried processed food, including cereals, grains, bread, pasta, and flours, and since the pantry is the perfect storage place, you’ll mostly find them around there.

Moths are most destructive during the larvae stage and they bore through food and thin plastic. However, it’s hard to find them exposed to light due to their nocturnal nature, and larvae will bury inside dried food granules, only coming out at night when it’s dark enough for an open feast.


What Do Pantry Moths Eat?

Regardless of their stage of growth, pantry moths munch on any dried, starchy food items in the pantry. They bore through thin plastic and paper during their larvae stage to access dried, processed food.

You’ll also be surprised to find them in tightly sealed containers with dried food, where they’ll render it inconsumable.

Adult pantry moths usually lay eggs in open containers, and even after eliminating them, they leave behind eggs that hatch inside the sealed food packages.

The biggest downside for an infestation of these tiny creatures is that, in addition to degrading food, they also carry viruses and bacteria that can affect the health of humans and their pets.


What Are The Typical Signs Of Pantry Moths?

When pantry moths show up, they leave a clear trail behind. Whether you do regular pantry inspections or you occasionally scan through, it’s easy to spot the signs of a pantry moth infestation from afar.

Since every creature that feeds, must defecate or secrete, these insects are not an exception. From a closer look, you’ll notice your food clamping together, mainly when dry. Moth secretions are sticky, and they glue dry food particles together, forming clamps of varied sizes.

Besides, an unpleasant odor will top up the mess, and the food would be almost vile to eat. Another significant tell-tale sign of a pantry moth infestation is a trail of webs along with the corners of your pantry and a few toppings on the food.



Are Pantry Moths Harmful?

In addition to degrading food and making it unfit for consumption, moth secretions are a suitable breeding ground for bacteria that cause many diseases in humans.

Pantry moths also carry viruses that contaminate food, making it unhealthy to consume.

But the moths themselves are not harmful to people or pets. However, since they are ideal carriers of viruses and bacteria, it classifies them as both destructive and harmful. Pantry moths also cause losses for degrading fresh food purposed for long-term storage. For this reason, they can be harmful to your budget as they will force you to replace it with a fresher stock.


How Long Do Pantry Moths Live?

It’s challenging to agree on the exact lifespans of these tiny insects. However, pantry moths live through phases and undergo a complete metamorphosis spanning 7 to 12 weeks on average.

An adult pantry moth lives between 5 to 25 days maximum and can survive without food for two weeks. Moths in the house will consistently reproduce in areas with sufficient food and enough closure, unlike in the wild where breeding is seasonal. Thus, don’t expect them to go away after the lapse of their lifespans.


Where Do Pantry Moths Hide During The Day?

Pantry moths are nocturnal and typically come out at night to feed and mate. You’ll also spot them on LCD screens with blue light at night since it appeals to them. It, therefore, begs the question why are pantry moths out of sight during the day and where do they hide in your house?

Since they are active only after dusk, they usually find refuge in darker and shaded places in your home. They will perch on higher walls and ceilings, under furniture, and inside cabinets. They also hide in the webs they form on corners of your pantry and wait until it’s all dark and safe to emerge.


How Many Moths Is An Infestation?

Conventionally, it’s not typical for pantry moths to create an infestation in a home when conditions don’t favor them. However, the proximity to food sources makes it ideal to set up camp in your house.

Typically, a pantry moth infestation comprises 5 to 9 pantry moths, and any higher numbers define a severe infestation. Even if the problem doesn’t seem widespread, you shouldn’t be blind to the threat of pantry moths in your home. To prevent their populations from spreading further, inspect your home – or precisely, your pantry – and eliminate them immediately by killing them or using repellents.


If you’re already dealing with a serious moth infestation, your best bet is to call in the pest control professionals.

Our exterminators are specially trained to find even the smallest entry ways and hiding places for various pests in your home. If you live in the Metro Atlanta area, contact our team at American Pest Control for help to eradicate your pantry moth infestation.

We’ve made it easy for you – it’s convenient to schedule your free inspection by either calling or emailing us, or filling out the contact form on our home page, and one of our friendly customer service representatives will be happy to assist you!