Grain beetles are somewhat common in Hawaii because of our temperate climate and the shelf life of some foodstuff that gets shipped here. The two main types are rice weevils and cigarette beetles, or pasta bugs as I like to call them. Cigarette beetles can be found in any food item, not airtight meaning if you press on a bag, the air is held inside the bag. For boxes, pasta’s with no bag is susceptible to pasta bug infestations.
Grain Beetle Identification
Cigarette beetles are very small, dark brown a little smaller than a pencil eraser head. They fly, but you’ll generally just see them crawling around the inside of a cabinet where food has been contaminated.
We had one customer with a new kitchen, totally empty except an unopened container of oatmeal. Upon further inspection, there were holes in the bottom of the cardboard container where the beetles were coming out. You see, these pests’ eggs are already in the food, given the time and Hawaii’s climate, they will eventually hatch after a few months. That’s why staples, such as flour, pasta, chocolate, and other baking goods can’t be kept for long periods of time (months) without either being frozen, contain desiccants (silica gel), or infused with nitrogen to kill the pests when they hatch.
Grain Beetle Inspection
The good news about these pests is that a thorough inspection will reveal the infested food (look for a whole lot of bugs and/or “dusty” food that’s been consumed by these pests). Once the infested food has been found and discarded, pesticides generally don’t need to be used as long as any other baking goods are not accessible to the lingering beetles. The key is to discard ANY food you may even think has been infested, to get a thorough restriction on their food source.
One more thought about cigarette beetles is that they belong to the Anobiidae family of pests and look quite similar to powder post beetles that bore into foreign woods (usually bamboo) and can cause damage to the wood it infests. They are very difficult to get rid of, so make sure that’s not what you’re dealing with. Give us a call and we can usually walk you through an identification over the phone.
Green Pest Control Elimination
This is one of the few pests that we can help identify and control without the use of pesticides, which is what we prefer to do.
Rice weevils are controlled in the same way. Just throw out the infested food and any “open” rice or food nearby, and that should take care of the problem. The other pests will die off quite naturally and soon without having a food source.
Although rare, we have found cigarette beetles in such random products as Nori, decorative beans, and even dried flowers on a wall. It’s the natural food that they are after, so beware, and let us know if you need help. We’re just a phone, text, or click away.