Beetles

Stored Product Insects

Pests commonly found in food, also known technically as Stored Product Insects, covers a large number of insects. They can infest a variety of stored products in particular foodstuffs such as grains, cereals, dried fruit, nuts, seeds and even tobacco.

Stored grain insects are a health hazard in both private homes and businesses like food processing plants, warehouses, bakeries, stores, restaurants, mills, farms and silos. They can also cause enormous economic losses through damage and contamination of food products. Any contamination will make your food unfit for human consumption.

Identifying and removing the source of the infestation is a critical part of effectively controlling these pests. Businesses like food processing or grain storage can greatly benefit from an ongoing professional pest management program to contain and eradicate infestations along with high standards of hygiene and sanitation, including stock rotation practices in accordance with any applicable regulations.

Stored Product Pest Control Treatments for your business

Stored product pests often live within food for human consumption. In order to control insects within food, the food must be removed or destroyed in such a manner that it will not disperse the infestation, or treated in a way that presents no hazards in its end use.

Aerobeam Professional Pest Management can help your business with effective management, ensuring minimum disruption to your operation and full compliance with health and safety and any food legislation obligations.

Signs of a pests in food

Common signs of stored product insects include:

  • damage to store product, live or dead insects (small beetles and moths), larvae, pupae or silken webbing on food storage bins on shelves
  • infestation, holes, larvae or webbing on the outside of packets or bags
  • larvae, pupae or silken webbing in food harbourages in cracks and crevices around shelves or on machinery
  • larvae, pupae or silken webbing in food spillages
  • larvae, pupae or silken webbing on beams and window sills
  • Indications of the pests in insects traps or rodent stations

Where to find stored products insects

If you suspect a problem, it is also worth knowing where these pests may be hiding. Stored product insects can live in dried products such as:

  • Stored grain
  • Dried fruits
  • Milled and processed cereal products
  • Sweets
  • Cheese
  • Meat
  • Dry ginger
  • Dried fish and any other dried food

Australian Spider Beetle

Australian Spider Beetle identification
Covered in brown and golden hairs, the Australian spider beetle has a spider-life appearance and adults grow to an approximate 2.4 – 4mm in length.
Description

Larvae are often found feeding on miscellaneous debris, and the Australia spider beetle possesses the ability to bore into various inedible materials prior to pupation. Active in dark, damp places, the Australian spider beetle is often associated with bird nests.

Australian spider beetles live for up to 3 – 4 months at 20 - 25°C.

Distribution
Australia-wide
  • Australian Spider Beetle
    Australian Spider Beetle

Biscuit Beetle

Biscuit Beetle identification
Adult — 1/16" - 1/8 in length. Humped thorax. Fine hairs cover the body. Elytra (wing cases) have ridges with indentations. Larva — active in early stages of development. Bores into hard substances. They are able to detoxify some poisonous substances.
Description
Will often fly. Adults do not feed.
Life cycle — 200 days at 17°C, 70 days at 28°C. Adults live for 13 to 65 days.
Distribution
Australia-wide
  • Biscuit Beetle
    Biscuit Beetle
  • Biscuit Beetle
    Biscuit Beetle
  • Biscuit Beetle
    Biscuit Beetle

Broadhorned Flour Beetle

Broadhorned Flour Beetle identification
Adult — Size varies according to species. 1/16" - 1/8" long. Pale yellow–brown to dark brown in colour. Nymphs — very small, often appear transparent. No larval stages
Description
•Liposcelis bostrychophila — Common in homes. •Lepinotus patruelis — Common in factories and on pallets. Life cycle — 200 days at 17°C, 70 days at 28°C. Adults live for 13 to 65 days.
Distribution
Australia-wide
  • Broadhorned Flour Beetle
    Broadhorned Flour Beetle

Cigarette Beetle

Cigarette Beetle identification
The Cigarette Beetle is about 2-4mm in length. The adult is whitish in color, with the head dark brown to tan, and are densely haired. The cigarette beetle closely resembles the drugstore beetle. The cigarette beetle has the head bent down nearly at right angles to the body giving it a humped back appearance when viewed from the side. The larvae are about 4 mm long and somewhat bent.
Description

The Cigarette beetle is a very common commercial pest.

The Cigarette Beetle feeds off tobacco, dry stored food products, spices, seeds, grains and dried plant material. They have also been reported in rice, dried potatoes, paprika, raisins, grain-based mouse bait and dried straw flowers. Adult beetles often wander away from infested materials and may be found throughout the area.

The adult beetles live from 2 to 4 weeks and during this time the females may deposit between 10-100 eggs. The eggs are laid loosely on the infested material. The larval period usually ranges from four to five months, but under very favorable conditions the development from egg to adult may occur in 6 to 8 weeks. When the larvae are fully grown, pupation occurs and they remain in this resting stage for 12 to 18 days.

Distribution
Australia-wide
  • Cigarette Beetle
    Cigarette Beetle
  • Cigarette Beetle
    Cigarette Beetle

Confused Flour Beetle

Confused Flour Beetle identification
The confused flour beetle is 3-4 mm in length, the larvae are about 6 mm long. The adult is red-brown in color and the larvae are a light honey colour and about. It resembles the rust-red flour beetle, except for the antennae which is four segmented and gradually thickens towards the tip - another slight difference is in the shape of the thorax. The sides of the rust-red flour beetle are curved, whereas the thorax of the confused flour beetle is straighter. It has well developed wings but seldom flies.
Description

The confused flour beetle was named because of the confusion over its identity. It is a very common commercial and pantry pest.

Feeds off grain, flour, and other cereal products, beans, cacao, cottonseed, shelled nuts, dried fruit, dried vegetables, drugs, spices, chocolate, dried milk and animal hides. They cannot feed on whole grain, but can feed on broken kernels that are usually present.

Female lays between 400 - 500 eggs, with peak oviposition occurring during the first week. Adults may live longer than 3 years, and females may lay eggs for more than a year. Eggs are deposited directly in flour, other food material, or attached to the surface of the container. They are white or colorless and covered by a sticky material to which flour can adhere. Eggs hatch in 3 - 5 days at 32 - 35°C. Larvae burrow into kernels of grain but may leave their burrows in search of a more favorable food.

Distribution
Australia-wide
  • Confused Flour Beetle
    Confused Flour Beetle

Copra beetle

Copra beetle identification

Adults: 3/16" in length. The upper surfaces of the body are a shiny metallic bluish-green. The underside of the abdomen is dark blue. Their legs are bright reddish-brown or orange. The antennae are reddish–brown with a dark brown or black club at the tip.

Description

The Copra beetle is also known as the Red Legged Ham beetle.

The adults fly and can therefore easily disperse to new sources of food. They are destructive in both the larval and adult stages, although the larval stage is the most destructive. They are also cannibalistic, preying on their own eggs and pupae.

Females lay up to 30 eggs per day in cracks or crevices of cured fish. The eggs take between four and six days to hatch. The larvae will grow for 30 to 140 days, become less active and look for a dark place to pupate. The pupal stage varies between 6 and 21 days. An adult will mate soon after emerging from its pupal stage and can live for up to 14 months.

Distribution
Australia-wide
  • Copra beetle
    Copra beetle

Dermestes Beetle

Dermestes Beetle identification
Adult – 1/4"–3/8" in length. Black with a whitish band across the fore–part of the elytra. Larva – comet shape. Quick moving. Brown in colour and hairy. Migrate to pupate in solid material.
Description

Feeds on various animal products including cheese. Lives 2–3 months at 18–25°C.

Distribution
Australia-wide
  • Dermestes Beetle
    Dermestes Beetle

Drug Store Beetle

Drug Store Beetle identification
Approx. 3 - 4 mm long, red-brown, oval beetles. The larvae are small and white approximately 0.5 mm long. The drugstore beetle is a red-brown oval-shaped beetle.
Description

The drugstore beetle (also known as the Biscuit Beetle) gained its name because it was frequently found feeding on drugs in pharmacies many years ago. Now, they are customarily found infesting all types of dry stored food products, spices, seeds, grains and dried plant material.

It is not a major pest in stored grains but will attack spices, seeds, grains and dried plant material as well as packaging materials such as paper and cardboard. They have also been known to feed on leather, wool, hair and books. Their presence can be detected from pinhead holes in the infested items. Packaging materials such as paper and cardboard are also attacked. Since the drugstore beetle can fly well, the source of infestation can sometimes be hard to find. The drugstore beetle is not a major pest in stored grains.

The adult beetles live from 2 to 4 weeks and during this time the females may deposit between 20-100 eggs. The hatching larvae are 0.5 mm long and very mobile. The larval period usually ranges from four to five months, but under favorable conditions the development from egg to adult may occur in 6 to 8 weeks. When the larvae are fully grown, pupation occurs and they remain in this resting stage for 12 to 18 days.

Distribution
Australia-wide
  • Drug Store Beetle
    Drug Store Beetle

Flat Grain Beetle

Flat Grain Beetle identification
Adult — About 1/8" in length. Flattened body with very long antennae. Light red to dark reddish brown. Larva — yellowish–white. 0.5mm long growing to 4mm when mature.
Description

Adults are winged but rarely fly. Feeds on cereals, dates, dried fruits and other commodities.

Prefers warm damp conditions. 69–103 days at 21°C, 26 days at 38°C.

Distribution
Australia-wide
  • Flat Grain Beetle
    Flat Grain Beetle

Foreign Grain Beetle

Foreign Grain Beetle identification
The adult Foreign Grain Beetle is light brown and is about 2 mm long. They are similar in appearance to the saw-tooth grain beetle, but they lack the tooth-like projections and are somewhat broader. Larvae are initially white and gradually darken as they mature. They rarely grow larger than 3 mm and have no forked process at the tip of the abdomen.
Description

It is frequently associated with hot spots in farm-stored grain. Although primarily a fungivorous species. The presence of this insect in farm-stored grain is taken as a warning that the grain is beginning to spoil and become moldy.

The adults are long lived, fly well and run very rapidly. This species occurs on a wide variety of foodstuffs, including grains, cereal products, oilseeds and their products, dried fruit, and spices. It is a scavenger that feeds on molds, dead insects, and damaged foods. On cereal grains, the embryo is a suitable food material. However, when found in large numbers they are probably feeding on molds present in the food.

Adult females begin laying eggs around 3 - 4 days after emerging. Mated males and females have an average lifespan of 159 and 208 days, respectively. Eggs, which are laid singly or in clusters of two or three, hatch in 4 - 5 days. Larval development is completed in 11 - 19 days. When ready to pupate, the larva constructs a chamber of food particles cemented together. Pupation occurs after a prepupal period of 1 - 2 days, and adults emerge 3 - 5 days later.

Distribution
Australia-wide
  • Foreign Grain Beetle
    Foreign Grain Beetle

Fur Beetle

Fur Beetle identification
Adult — 3/16"–1/4" long. Elongate oval. One small patch of white on each wing case, otherwise red–brown to black. Larva — 1/4" long. Long orange tufts of hair on the last abdominal segment. Larvae have a banded appearance. Pupa — formed in the last larval skin.
Description

A common inhabitant of birds nests. Adults feed outdoors often on Spiraea plants. Larvae attack furs, skins, woollens, etc. and stored grain.

Mating takes place outdoors after which they fly indoors to lay eggs. Normally one generation per year but development may extend to three years.

Distribution
Australia-wide
  • Fur Beetle
    Fur Beetle
  • Fur Beetle
    Fur Beetle

Golden Spider Beetle

Golden Spider Beetle identification
Adult — 1/8" - 3/16" in length. Ovoid abdomen with a pinched waist. Whole body covered in golden-yellow hairs.
Description

Sometimes linked to the damage of textiles in the domestic home. Adults appear in greater numbers in June/July and October/November.

Lifecylce Adult — 1/8" - 3/16" in length. Ovoid abdomen with a pinched waist. Whole body covered in golden-yellow hairs. Larva — similar to Australian spider beetle.

Distribution
Australia-wide
  • Golden Spider Beetle
    Golden Spider Beetle

Khapra Beetle

Khapra Beetle identification
The male is about 2 mm in length and the female is slightly larger (up to 3 mm). Dark-brown beetle with yellow-brown to red-brown markings on the wing covers. They are also covered with fine hairs which may trap dust, giving a dirty appearance. The larvae are yellow to golden brown and reach a length of up to 5 mm. They are covered with thick, red-brown hairs with two tufts at the end of the abdomen.
Description

The Khapra Beetle is considered to be the world's most destructive pest of stored grain and grain products. If left uncontrolled, this beetle can cover the surface of stored grain making it appear alive with crawling larvae

It is also considered to be a dirty feeder as it breaks or powders more grain than it consumes. They also contaminate the grain with larval skins and setae which have been known to cause gastrointestinal irritation. Feeds on rice, peanuts, dried animal skins, as well as its preferred natural foods such as wheat and malted barley.

Adults are short-lived, completing their adult life in one to two weeks. Mating occurs almost immediately after adult emergence, with oviposition for one to six days following. In ideal conditions the life cycle can be completed in as few as 30 days. The female lays up to 125 eggs loosely in the infested material. Eggs hatch in five to seven days. The larvae undergo 4 - 7 molts, resulting in the shedding of numerous cast skins.

Distribution
Australia-wide
  • Khapra Beetle
    Khapra Beetle

Larder Beetle

Larder Beetle identification
Adult — 1/4"–3/8" in length. Black with a whitish band across the fore-part of the elytra. Larva — comet shape. Quick moving. Brown in colour and hairy. Migrate to pupate in solid material.
Description

Feeds on various animal products including cheese. Lifecycle –3 months at 18–25°C.

Distribution
Australia-wide
  • Larder Beetle
    Larder Beetle

Leather Beetle

Leather Beetle identification
Adult — 1/4"–3/8" in length. Uppermost is black, underside is white. Larva — as D. lardarius but with an orange stripe running down the length of the back.
Description

Feeds on various animal products and dried fish. Pupates in solid material, e.g. wood. The quantity of white on the underside may vary according to species. Adults fly readily. Lifecycle 2–3 months at 18–25°C.

Distribution
Australia-wide
  • Leather Beetle
    Leather Beetle

Lesser Grain Beetle

Lesser Grain Beetle identification
Adult — 1/4"–3/8" in length. Uppermost is black, underside is white. Larva — as D. lardarius but with an orange stripe running down the length of the back.
Description

Feeds on various animal products and dried fish. Pupates in solid material, e.g. wood. The quantity of white on the underside may vary according to species. Adults fly readily. Lifecycle 2–3 months at 18–25°C.

Distribution
Australia-wide
  • Lesser Grain Beetle
    Lesser Grain Beetle

Lesser Mealworm

Lesser Mealworm identification
Adults - 1/4" long. Newly moulted adults are reddish-brown turning black. Larvae - 5/16" long. Slender, segmented and worm-like with three pairs of tiny legs on the thorax and one abdominal proleg at the rear.
Description

The beetles are attracted to poultry operations, which have ideal conditions for their development. The damage to insulation is carried out by lesser mealworms seeking a safe place to pupate because the darkling beetles prey on the lesser mealworms.

Females can lay up to at least 110 eggs a month and eggs hatch in 4-7 days. Larval development takes up to 7 weeks. Mature larvae seek a sheltered place to pupate for between 7 and 11 days. An adult beetle may live up to two years.

Distribution
Australia-wide
  • Lesser Mealworm
    Lesser Mealworm

Merchant Grain Beetle

Merchant Grain Beetle identification
The adult beetle is dark brown. Length is approximately 2.5mm to 3mm. It has a slender, flattened body. The adult can fly (although it rarely does).
Description

Merchant grain beetles are found in pantries or in food processing areas or warehouses.

Both larvae and adults will feed upon grain. Weevil-damaged grain can be readily recognised by the presence of large holes which are the exit holes of the emerging adults.

The females lays about 300 eggs in her lifetime. Eggs are dropped loosely among grain kernels or tucked into a crevice in a kernel. The tiny eggs are slender and white, and hatch in three to five days when environmental conditions are optimal . The larvae emerge and crawl freely about the grain to feed on broken kernels. Larger larvae may tunnel into kernels to feed. Total development from egg to adult requires about three to four weeks.

Distribution
Australia-wide
  • Merchant Grain Beetle
    Merchant Grain Beetle

Rove Beetle

Rove Beetle identification
Adult – 5/16"–3/8". Body colour is an alternating black and red
Description

They are common in habitats with large numbers of fly larvae, e.g. decaying fruit or seaweed, compost. The larvae and adults are general predators of small insects and other arthropods, including pests of crops.

Eggs laid singly on moist substances and typically develop in 3–19 days. The larvae pass through two stages before reaching adulthood. Adults are most common in spring and early summer.

Distribution
Australia-wide
  • Rove Beetle
    Rove Beetle

Rust Red Flour Beetle

Rust Red Flour Beetle identification
The Rust-red flour beetle is red-brown in color. 3.0 - 4.0 5mm in length. The antenna of the rust-red flour beetle is distinctly club-like, with a three segmented club and it has grooved wing covers. The Rust-red flour beetle has well developed wings and has been observed to fly. The larvae are a light honey color and about 6 mm long. The head and a distinctive forked process at the tip of the abdomen are slightly darkened.
Description

Is a very common commercial pest infesting a variety of grain and food materials. The rust-red flour beetle is frequently found in stored products in Australia.

When agitated or crowded, they may secrete chemicals called quinones. These chemicals can cause the infested feed to turn pink and have a pungent odor. They have been reported in grain, flour, and other cereal products, beans, cacao, cottonseed, shelled nuts, dried fruit, dried vegetables, drugs, spices, chocolate, dried milk and animal hides. They cannot feed on whole grain, but can feed on broken kernels that are usually present. In general, fungi may play a significant role in the nutrition of rust-red flour beetles.

The female lays approximately 400 - 500 eggs, with peak oviposition occurring during the first week. Adults may live longer than 3 years, and females may lay eggs for more than a year. Eggs are deposited directly in flour, other food material, or attached to the surface of the container. They are white or colorless and covered by a sticky material to which flour can adhere. Eggs hatch in 3 - 5 days at 32 - 35°C. Larvae burrow into kernels of grain but may leave their burrows in search of a more favorable food. Larvae are fairly active but generally hide within the food, away from light. Development time from egg to adult varies with conditions, however the average is 26 days at 32 - 35°C and >70% relative humidity.

Distribution
Australia-wide
  • Rust Red Flour Beetle
    Rust Red Flour Beetle

Saw Toothed Grain Beetle

Saw Toothed Grain Beetle identification
Adult is brown and is approximately 3 mm. Mature larva is yellowish white. Adult has a flattened body. Wings are present, developed, but they do cannot fly.
Description

The saw-toothed grain beetle is one of the most common insects in stored grain and cereal products.

The larvae develop in flour, cereal products, and many other dried foods, including grains, cereals, bread, pasta products, dried meat, dried fruit and nuts, sugar, chocolate, candy, tobacco products and drugs. A common pest not only in grain bins, but also, mills, processing plants, warehouses, and kitchens. In grain bins, it feeds on broken kernels and grain residues. The beetles can chew through sealed packaging such as cardboard boxes, plastic bags and foil wrappings.

The female lays eggs singly or in small batches in the food product. She lays about 200 eggs in her lifetime. Eggs hatch after about 8 days. The life cycle takes about 35 days and the larvae feed in the top few centimetres of the food stuff. Adults usually live around 6 to 10 months.

Distribution
Australia-wide.
  • Saw Toothed Grain Beetle
    Saw Toothed Grain Beetle

Shiny Spider Beetle

Shiny Spider Beetle identification
Adult – 1/32"-1/8" long. They are shiny red-brown to black. The body is hairless, and lacks the general spider beetles characteristic restriction at the waist.
Description

Shiny spider beetles are tolerant of cool conditions and can stay alive for long periods without food. If disturbed, they will act as if dead.

Females lay up to 120 eggs either singly or in batches during early summer. The eggs hatch within 16 days, and remain in the larval stage for up to 6 weeks. Adults emerge after 20-30 days of the pupal stage and may live for up to 12 months. At the optimum temperature for development (33°C) it takes about 45 days for the life cycle to be complete.

Distribution
Australia-wide.
  • Shiny Spider Beetle
    Shiny Spider Beetle

Warehouse Beetle

Warehouse Beetle identification
1.5-4.0mm long, and oval in shape. Mostly dark brown in colour, with mottled lighter brown markings.
Description

This pest has recently been introduced into Australia. May be found in many organic materials such as seeds, grains, most types of packaged foods, snail baits, dog biscuits, stock feeds, old rodent baits, grain remnants in sacks, bee and wasp nests, rodent carcasses, dead insects, animal droppings etc. The hairs dropped by larvae may cause human problems such as asthma, skin problems or gastric disorders.

Lifecycle usually lasts between 1.5-6 months. The larva is up to 10mm long, and pale cream with indistinct dark brown markings. The larva has 3 pairs of legs and is very bristly.

Distribution
Australia-wide.
  • Warehouse Beetle
    Warehouse Beetle

Having trouble with stored product pests?

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