1/10 to 1/8 inch (2-3 mm).
The adult is a small, active, brown beetle, 2-3mm long, with a flattened body and six saw-toothed projections on each side of the thorax. The larva is yellowish-white, about 2-3mm long, with a brown head.
The Sawtoothed grain beetle is common in stored-food products such as cereal, cornmeal, cornstarch, popcorn, rice, dried fruits, raisins, flour, pet foods, bran, macaroni, sugar, and bread. They are capable of chewing into unopened paper or cardboard boxes, through cellophane, plastic, and foil-wrapped packages. Once inside, populations build up rapidly often spreading to other stored foods and into food debris accumulated in the cupboard corners.
The Sawtoothed grain beetle is a scavenger and cannot fly. Adults and larvae are external feeders, feeding on finely divided food particles and not whole grains. Large populations of this beetle can develop quickly, forcing adult beetles to seek new food sources. They have been known to invade every package or food stored near an infested food product. Sawtoothed grain beetle adults usually live about 6 to 10 months, with some living as long as 3 years. Females usually emerge in April and lay an average of 300 eggs. Egg laying begins about 5 days after emergence and continues up to 3 to 4 weeks. Eggs hatch in about 8 days, larvae mature in 37 days, and pupa about 67 days. They prefer cereal-based products.
Adults and larvae are external feeders, feeding on finely divided food particles and not whole grains. The Sawtoothed grain beetle is common in stored-food products such as cereal, cornmeal, cornstarch, popcorn, rice, dried fruits, raisins, flour, pet foods, bran, macaroni, sugar, and bread.
Sawtoothed Grain Beetle Prevention Tips
- The simplest and most effective control measure is to locate the source of infestation and quickly get rid of it. Use a flashlight or other light source to examine all food storage areas and food products carefully.
- Dispose of heavily infested foods in wrapped, heavy plastic bags or in sealed containers for garbage disposal service, or bury deep in the soil if permitted, practical, and regulations allow. If you detect infestations early, disposal alone may solve the problem.
- At the time of purchase, carefully examine foods, such as flour, pancake flour, cornmeal, cereals, raisins, dry dog and cat food, spices, candy, dates, dried meats and fruits, rice, and macaroni. Check the packaging date to establish freshness. Examine broken and damaged packages and boxes to avoid bringing these stored-product pests accidentally into the home.
- Purchase seldom-used foods in small quantities to prevent long storage periods of one month or more, especially during the warm summer months.
- Store susceptible foods in insect-proof containers of glass, heavy plastic, or metal, ideally with screw-type lids, or store in a refrigerator or freezer. Use older packages before newer ones, avoid spillage in cabinets, and always keep food storage spaces clean.
- Properly ventilate the storage area to discourage these moisture-loving stored-product pests. Lightly infested or suspect foods with questionable infestations can be heated in a shallow pan in the oven at 120 degrees F for 1 hour or at 130 degrees F for 30 minutes, placed in a deep freeze at 0 degrees F for 4 days, or heated in a microwave oven for 5 minutes.
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