Foreign grain beetles are red-brown or black in color and minute in size, a mere 1/12 of an inch long. What sets this beetle apart from other insects are its club-shaped antennae. The adults also have knob shaped projections on the front corners of the pronotum, which is the upper surface of the prothorax (the first segment of the thorax). People often confuse the foreign grain beetle with flies or gnats because they fly in the same manner, but these beetles have hard shells and do not have clear wings. Foreign grain beetle larvae are off-white in color and worm-like in appearance. The foreign grain beetle is most active in early summer to late fall when humidity levels reach their peak. They can only survive if relative humidity is above 70%. Once humidity in an area drops below 60%, foreign grain beetles die off on their own.
Normally, foreign grain beetles stay outside scavenging on plant and animal debris with their accompanying fungus. They can also easily enter the home through window screens and seals around doors and windows, and through walls near pipes or electrical outlets. When in the home they show up around bathtubs, sinks, and other moist areas. The larvae will often appear on the floor around baseboards where adults are laying eggs. Foreign grain beetles are most often found eating mold or fungi on spoiled grain. Aside from grain, they also like to infest cereal products, oilseeds, dried fruit, beans and spices. They are likely to infest food if the products have attained mold due to storage in a moist environment. Foreign grain beetles cause the most trouble in new homes because of the fungus and mold that tend to grow on new lumber or wet wallboard.
Foreign grain beetles do not bite or harm people or pets in any way. They do not ruin furniture, clothing, or other property. They are only after old food that is already infested with fungus and mold. Very rarely are they found in dry food products.
Foreign Grain Beetle Control
These tiny pests are unsightly and can be difficult to flush out of your home. A professional pest control service might be your best option.
Interview: A professional will first interview you to find out areas of infestation.
Clean up: The first step to getting rid of foreign grain beetles is to clean, dry out, and sanitize the areas they like best, especially bathrooms.
Insecticide: Finally, the professional will use a pesticide containing pyrethrins or synthetic pyrethroid to kill the foreign grain beetles.
Foreign Grain Beetle DIY Pest Control
To win the battle against these pervasive pests, look in damp areas around your home. Foreign grain beetles like to set up shop around all sinks, bathtubs, spoiled food, and other moist areas. Here’s how to kick them to the curb:
Fix it! Repair any areas of your home that might be causing fungus and mold to grow in your walls. Fix those leaky pipes and ventilate your home. Repair anything that is causing moisture buildup.
Spray it! Use an aerosol with pyrethrins or use dry residual dust around baseboards and spaces between electrical outlets and walls. This discourages foreign grain beetles them from entering the home.
Dry it! Use a dehumidifier to dry out the walls of your home and kill mold and mildew. Damp areas in new homes can take up to four years to dry out. A dry home is a foreign grain beetle-free home.
Vacuum it! Suck up the pests with a vacuum cleaner when you see them. You won’t be able to get to the beetles hidden within your walls, but it will control the visible pests around your home.
Foreign Grain Beetle Green Pest Control Solutions
If you want to banish these foreign grain beetles in an environmentally friendly way, follow these green tips for getting rid of them.
Spot them! Identify infested food products, seal them up in a bag and immediately remove them from your home.
Freeze them out! Foreign grain beetles can be terminated by freezing them at 5 degrees Fahrenheit or below for 2-3 days. They can then be removed from infested grain by using a sieve. To insure that eggs are killed as well, freeze the product for 3 weeks or longer.
Bake them! To kill eggs, larvae, and adults, spread out the infested food in a thin layer on a baking sheet in the oven. Bake at 120 degrees Fahrenheit for 2 hours. Dried fruit can be saved from foreign grain beetles by submerging in boiling water for a minute. Make sure to allow the fruit to dry out again before re-storing.
Don’t invite them in! The best way to prevent infestation is to make sure bags of food are stored in plastic containers with lids that seal. Flour and other grain products should be stored in the freezer. When shopping, look closely at food products for broken bags or containers. Tagging along on groceries is the most common way foreign grain beetles enter your home, don’t let them hitch a ride. Don’t pour new food on top of old food in the same container. Clean out an old container before putting new food in it.