Saw-Toothed Grain Beetles: A Home Owner’s Nightmare

Pantry pests or stored product pests can cost the average business owner about $36,000 each year, which turns out to be more than double the cost of a typical pest infestation conducted by highly-skilled experts, such as our technicians at Pestco Professional Services.

Also known generically as Stored Product Pests (SPPs), this term covers beetles, weevils, moths and mites that infest food in storage areas anywhere within the expansive food chain that ranges from the farm to the average kitchen (both commercial and residential).

The sawtoothed grain beetle is a major pantry pest that attacks stored food products in both homes and commercial facilities. 

Its scientific name, Oryzaephilus surinamensis (L.) translates into: rice-loving from Suriname, which reflects the fact that the very first specimens of this insect were discovered in Suriname. 

This beetle is a scavenger and it does not infest whole grain. Rather, its flat body allows it to creep into dry, stored food products via tiny cracks where it infests broken kernels. 

While they will attack any type of dry food, they favor: birdseed; cereals; cornmeal; cornstarch; chocolates; dried fruits and nuts; flour; raisins; cake mix; bran; pastas; pet foods; popcorn; nuts; tobacco; sugar; bread and and yeast.

Their bodies are slender, flat and brown, and adults range in size from about a bit over 1/6 of an inch to 1/8 inch long. 

Six tiny projections (saw-like teeth) on each side of the thorax (middle section) give the beetle its descriptive moniker, albeit they are very difficult to see without a magnifying glass. 

These beetles avoid the light of day and do not fly. 

The female beetle uses cracks in ground food, such as flour, as.a nest in which to deposit as many as 300 eggs over a period of three to four weeks. 

When they hatch, the larvae feed and grow. and when they are ready to emerge as adults, they construct a web that is comprised of food particles.

Sawtoothed grain beetle adults usually live about 6 to 10 months, with some surviving as long as 3 years. 

If the ambient climate is warm and humid, the entire life cycle of these beetles can take about two months, which if the infestation is not arrested by the pest-control and pest-management specialists at Pestco, results in the creation of several generations every year.

What Kind of Damage Do These Beetles Incur?

Saw toothed grain beetles do not pose any direct danger to humans, but any foods they have infested should be immediately discarded because they are contaminated. 

It would be difficult to imagine anything more horrifying than opening a pantry and finding these beetles crawling around inside. Their eggs are very small and sometimes tucked inside a tiny piece of grain. 

They are almost invisible to the naked eye until they hatch and grow into larvae and begin making webbing in the food resembling a cocoon, It is usually only then that the professional pest-control and pest-maintenance specialists at Pestco are called in to save the day, so to speak. (It’s far too late to save the food.)

The scariest thing about saw tooth grain beetle infestations is the amount of damage they can incur in a home before they are even discovered. 

Estimates can run into hundreds or even thousands of dollars worth of ruined food stuffs. 

In addition, food that is ruined before it can be eaten is tantamount to flushing money down the toilet. 

The damage inflicted by saw-toothed beetles compounds itself rapidly, especially if a home owner does not immediately address the root of the problem upon discovery of an infestation.

After coming upon a saw-toothed grain beetle infestation, the next steps present their own little horror tale. Investigation generates questions, and for the harried home owner, they are usually similar to the following:

How long have these pests been living in my home? 

What have they been doing since they got inside?

What are they doing now?

All pantry pests, including the saw-toothed grain beetle, have three modes of ingress. 

They can find their way via exterior walls; hitchhike inside food packages or spread from one food package to other stored foods.

Sealing exterior entry points helps, but usually pest control measures, such as sealing off tiny holes and installing a door sweep on the bottom of the pantry door, are necessary to support vulnerable areas. 

In all cases, the damage to ruined food products is both formidable and unforgettable.

Adults and larvae are external feeders, avoiding whole grains and feeding on finely divided food particles. 

Large populations can develop quickly, forcing adult beetles to seek new food sources.

They have the capacity to chewing into unopened paper or cardboard boxes, cellophane, plastic, and foil-wrapped packages. 

Once inside, populations build up rapidly, often spreading to other stored foods and into crumbs and other related debris accumulated in the cupboard corners.

According to Copesan Director of Technical Support and Regulatory Compliance Bennett Jordan: “There are expenses associated with all aspects of stored product pest problems… There is no upper limit on the costs…While the dollar-and-cents involved in stored product pest damage and contamination is very real, there are less-direct expenses that can be an even greater threat to food producers, including FDA intervention or recall, consumer complaints and litigation, audit failure, brand damage, and loss of product.”

In the case of home owners, expenses couldn’t be more personal, as the waste of money and destruction of stored foods from a pantry pest infestation psychologically takes a toll on the human spirit, wallet and anxiety levels.

Some Tips To Prevent A Saw Toothed Grain Beetle Infestation 

Once an infestation has taken root, it is best to have a professional, such as the pest-control and pest-management specialists at Pestco, utilize their standard protocols and products to both contain and eradicate the problem. 

They are the only company in the nation that actually manufactures the sustainable products they use. 

If a residence has not yet been infested, home owners can significantly reduce the chances of falling prey to an invasion by heeding the following precautions.

All Stored Food Products Should Be Checked

Make sure all food products brought into the home are properly sealed and that there are no openings anywhere. Pantry pests can hide in unopened boxes or containers. Be wary of holes or damaged seals.

Empty And Thoroughly Vacuum Clean Cupboards Or Shelves 

Home owners should pay particular attention to cracks and corners. Vacuums suck up hiding insects and spilled or infested material. As an extra precaution, empty the vacuum cleaner or discard the bag after use to prevent re-infestation.

Avoid Insecticides

Insecticide sprays are not recommended for controlling insects in cupboards. In addition, Pestco experts warn that washing shelves with detergent, bleach, ammonia or disinfectants will not have no effect at all on stored food pests.

Protect Against Re-infestation By Resealing Susceptible Foods

As a precaution, homeowners should use sealable glass, metal or heavy plastic containers for stored food products, which will also serve to prevent other pests from getting in and infesting stored goods. Or at the very least, store in the refrigerator or freezer until the infestation has been addressed and is over.

Use A Fan Or DeHumidifier In Food Storage Areas

A home pantry should always be free of moisture because a dry environment is not palatable to saw-tooth grain beetles.

The Very Best In Pittsburgh Pantry Pest Control

More than seventy years ago, a family-owned and operated commercial pest company called Pestco began its long and arduous climb to prominence throughout Greater Pittsburgh, Western PA counties and the surrounding tri-state areas.

In continuous operation since 1948, our unwavering mission over the course of time has remained the same: to provide experienced, responsive and uncompromising service to all of its customers.

We are focused entirely on the needs of homeowners and businesses, and we offer the best integrated pest control and pest management services to be found anywhere in Pittsburgh and western Pennsylvania.

Each infestation is unique and Pestco is all about versatility. 

Our pro-active approach entails an extensive and thorough examination of the affected residence and the sealing up of any cracks and crevices that might permit ingress. Inspections are ongoing throughout the year.

Pestco Pest Control Pittsburgh

All of our technicians are licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and attend monthly workshops to help keep them always a few steps ahead of the pests that are damaging homes and causing distress among family members.

Located on Alpha Drive RIDC Industrial Park, our ultimate goal is to offer eco-sensitive strategies and solutions to permanently eliminate pest populations. 

We are equipped with the most cutting edge and cost-effective pest control strategies. 

All of our pest control solutions, air fresheners, odor control products, ambient scent systems, fragrances, washroom and hygiene products are made locally in their 85,000 square feet suburban Pittsburgh facility.

In Conclusion

Call our teams today and transform your home into a residence free of saw toothed beetles tomorrow!

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