It’s hard to say just how many pounds of adult insect, eggs, larvae and
pupae the average American has eaten in a lifetime, but it is safe to say it
has been more than we would like to believe. Stored insect pests include
many in the beetle family and moths.
Have you ever seen small moths flying or small beetles crawling in the
kitchen or areas where food is stored? If so, you have probably
encountered stored product pests. Stored product pests are a challenge to
control because many times the pests that emerge in the home are brought
into the home by the homeowner in food products, dried flower
arrangements, wreaths, pet foods, and even stuffed animals. Today’s article
will focus on two of these stored pests, also called external feeders, mainly
the cigarette beetle and the drugstore beetle.
The cigarette beetle and drugstore beetles share the same taste in food
products. As expected, these beetles can be found in tobacco products, but
their food source does not stop there. Cigarette and Drugstore beetles also
feed on pet foods, cereal products, dried peppers, spices, raisins, seeds,
flour and even inside upholstered furniture.
A Drugstore beetle can lay 75 eggs in her lifetime. A Cigarette beetle can
lay 30 to 40 eggs in a lifetime. Both species lay eggs on/in products. As
larvae hatch out of the eggs, they feed on products eating from the outside
to the inside until they spin into a cocoon. After a fairly short period of time,
they emerge as adults and the process starts all over again.
Nothing can be much more aggravating than having bugs crawling across a
kitchen floor. They are crawling toward a light source such as a window or
permanent light source. Here is the tip! First, find the source of the
problem. Look inside packages containing suspect food products for
insects or telltale signs of their presence like webbing or larvae. Remove
the products if any are found to be contaminated or place the products in
the freezer for 3 days at zero degrees Fahrenheit which will kill all stages of
the insect’s life cycle. Any dead insects can be consumed with the product
as a bit of extra healthy protein. Vacuuming, cleaning and even the
application of labeled pesticides may be used if done according to label

directions. If the source is not found, stored product pests can prove to be
an aggravation for weeks or months in your home.