The sawtooth grain beetle is a non-flying insect. It likes to infest stored food products like grain-based products, dried fruit, spices, drugs, herbs, candy, chocolate, and pet good. Once the sawtooth grain beetle infests a food product it becomes unsalable and inedible. The sawtooth grain beetle chews through unopened boxes, plastic wrapping, tinfoil, and paper packages. Sawtooth grain beetle populations burgeon inside stored food, surrounding food, and food debris that have been left in crevices, corners, and cracks in pantries and cupboards. All the life stages of the sawtooth grain beetle, including eggs, larva, pupa, and adult, can often been found.
The majority of damage these pests do is through contamination. They actually spoil more food than they eat.
Sawtooth Grain Beetle Identification
The sawtooth grain beetle is red-brown in color and 1/10 of an inch in length. This particular pest gets its name from the six sawtooth-like projections on its midsection between the head and wing covers. The sawtooth grain beetle’s eyes are exposed, which differentiates the sawtooth grain beetle from its near twin the merchant grain beetle. It has a triangular head. There is a tooth on the hind leg of the males along the femur, which does not exist on female sawtooth grain beetles. They are ambulatory, which means they have running legs similar to cockroaches.
The eggs of the sawtooth grain beetle are white in color, microscopic in size, and have an elongated shape. Sawtooth grain beetle larvae are usually about 1/8 of an inch in length. The larvae are mostly off-white with yellow plates along their backs and brown heads. Each larvae has six legs. Food fragments make up a capsule, which the larvae use as pupal cases.
Sawtooth Grain Beetle Habitat and Food Source
Sawtooth grain beetles are found in warm climates. They can be found throughout the United States, the United Kingdom, India, and like the Surinam Cockroach, in Surinam.
Cereal-based products are the sawtooth grain beetle’s preferred food. Sawtooth grain beetles, both adults and larvae, feed on very fine food particles, not whole grains. They will leave the contaminated food to make their way around the house.
Sawtooth Grain Beetle Life Cycle
The sawtooth grain beetle likes to lay eggs in small batches or singly in food packages where it completes its entire life cycle. Adult sawtooth grain beetles can live 6 to 10 months or up to 3 years and 3 months. The female sawtooth grain beetle emerges in April and lays about 300 eggs. The female starts laying eggs 5 days after she emerges and keeps on laying eggs for up to 3 to 4 weeks. After 8 days, the eggs hatch. Larvae mature in around 37 days with pupa maturing in 67 days. In Washington D.C., the life cycle of the sawtooth grain beetle can be completed in 27 to 35 days. In other areas it takes 51 days. In warm conditions of 85 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit and 70 percent humidity, the sawtooth grain beetle can produce 6 to 7 generations of progeny with less generations produced during the winter. Adult sawtooth grain beetles are actively feeding during the cold season.
Sawtooth Grain Beetles and Humans
The sawtooth grain beetle do not cause harm to people or pets through stinging or biting. They do not spread disease, nor do they damage homes or the furniture in them.
Sawtooth Grain Beetle Control
Sawtooth Grain Beetle Identification: A professional exterminator can be called in to identify pests and locate areas of infestation.
Bait andInsecticide: An exterminator can lure the sawtooth grain beetle to a an area with a gelled food oil base containing pheromones onto a glue board trap. Or a professional pest control expert may use a residual pryethrin aerosol sprayed into cracks and crevices in order to kill adult sawtooth grain beetles. Two to four treatments spaced around 3 weeks apart are needed because of the nature of the pests’ life cycles. This will kill adults and larvae, but eggs and pupa may survive treatment. Consult your pest control professional when using insecticides around food storage areas.
Removal of Sawtooth Grain Beetles: Because eggs and pupa may survive insecticide, vacuuming and sanitizing the area is vital after treatment is important.
DIY and Green Solutions for Sawtooth Grain Beetle Control
Throw it out! The most effective way to control a Sawtooth Grain Beetle is to get right to the source of an infestation. With flashlight in hand, take a close look in the pantry and all food stored there. Remove all infested food products, wrap them up, place them in tightly sealed containers or heavy plastic bags, and throw into your outdoor garbage cans.
Bury it! Another option, if permissible in your area, is to bag and bury contaminated food deep in the ground.
Don’t let them hitch a ride! When shopping for groceries, look closely at food before purchasing, especially pet food, dry pancake mix, flour, cornmeal, dry cereal, raisins, spices, dates, candy, fruit, rice, macaroni, and dried meats. A quick check of expiration dates on foodstuffs should help insure freshness. Broken or damaged goods should be examined especially closely to keep sawtooth grain beetles from coming into the home at all.
Store it! Buy food products that aren’t often used in small quantities so they aren’t sitting on the shelf for more than a month, this is most important during hot summer months. Store the above mentioned foods in containers made of metal, heavy plastic, or glass with screw-top lids or better yet, sore them in the freezer or refrigerator. Rotate food in the pantry by using older packages first. Clean up spillage on shelves immediately. Make sure to keep food storage areas properly ventilated and moisture free.