Sawtoothed grain beetles are a serious stored grain pest. Though they primarily infest warehouses, granaries, grain elevators and grain processing facilities, they can also infest homes.
The bodies of sawtoothed grain beetles are slender and reddish-brown to brown in colour. Since the pests only measure about 3mm in length, it is difficult to make out any distinguishing features with the naked eye. However, they do have distinct serrated edges with six prominent projections on their thoraxes.
Sawtoothed grain beetles are widely distributed throughout the world and Canada. They primarily infest granaries and warehouses, but can also infest people’s homes.
A notorious pantry pest, sawtoothed grain beetles primarily feed on damaged grains and processed grains such as cereal, oatmeal, rice, crackers, biscuits, flour and pasta. Non-grain based products infested can include candy bars, chocolate, nuts, spices, sugar, tobacco, dried meats and fruits.
Sawtoothed grain beetle larvae need to feed in order to grow, so the pests deposit their eggs directly into a food source. One female lays nearly 300 eggs in her lifetime and their development is dependent on surrounding temperatures. Under ideal conditions, it takes sawtoothed grain beetles about a month to complete their life cycle from eggs to adults. Adults can live up to 6 to 10 months.
Problems Caused by Sawtoothed Grain Beetles
While they do not spread disease or cause structural damage, these pests render large amounts of food inconsumable, causing significant economic losses in commercial settings.
Detection/Signs of Infestation
It is hard to tell if a package contains sawtoothed grain beetles simply by looking at it. Typically, individuals must inspect the contents for adult beetles or cocoon-like structures made with particles of the food material infested. Another obvious sign is seeing adults crawling around in close vicinity of the product or in the pantry.
Because of their small, flat body, sawtoothed grain beetles can easily enter imperfectly sealed containers and packages. Therefore, the best way to prevent an infestation is to store food in containers that the pests can’t easily penetrate. Glass and metal cases with tightly fitted lids work best. Additionally, homeowners should be sure to clean the storage bins thoroughly between uses.
Extreme temperatures can help kill off sawtoothed grain beetles living in packages of food, though homeowners should throw away infested products that cannot be salvaged. The only way to completely and effectively control active sawtoothed grain beetle infestations is to contact the experts at Orkin Canada for assistance.