This is actually a member of the same family as that of the furniture
beetle and tobacco beetle and that is Anobiidae. This has
as it's members The furniture beetle and the the cigarette beetle plus
a few others. To distinguish between the furniture beetle (otherwise known
as woodworm) and the biscuit beetle is quite difficult, this is why I
am mentioning woodworm on the stored product page. If you refer to the
picture below, you will see that the main differences are the 'monks cowl'
which covers the head of the insect.
more pictorial side-view
biscuit beetle has become adapted to a diet of starch-containing foods,
and the round exit holes made by the larvae of this insect are exactly
like the holes in timber made by the furniture beetle. The species has
become distributed to all parts of the world. In fact, these beetles must
have been spread by ships in former times, and the old habit of banging
the ship's biscuits on the table before eating them perhaps served to
drive out the beetle larvae. See the picture below of a ship's biscuit
with the emergence holes:
beetle larvae, like those of the wood boring beetle,
live inside their food and only emerge as adults.
Anobiidae, Stegobium paniceum
About 1/10 to 1/8 inch (2-3 mm)
The drugstore beetle is similar to the cigarette beetle and the furniture
beetle in appearance but is slightly larger, more elongate, and has distinctly
striated wing covers. The head is deflexed, but does not result in a distinct
humpbacked appearance, and the antennae have three enlarged segments at
the tip. The eggs of the biscuit beetle are pearly white, and are not
easily seen with the naked eye. When fully grown, the larvae are C-shaped
(grub-like) and about 3/16-inch long. The larvae can penetrate food packaging.
Cigarette beetle larvae are creamy white and covered with long, yellowish-brown
hairs. They have a brown head and legs. Drugstore beetle larvae are similar
but do not have the fuzzy appearance. The life cycle lasts 3-7 months.
last three segments of the antennae are like a saw. Its food is even more
varied than that of the cigarette beetle, and it is said to feed "upon
almost anything except cast iron."
cycle: Female drugstore beetles lay eggs singly in foodstuffs.
The larval period ranges from 4 to 5 months, with the pupal stage lasting
from 12 to 18 days. The complete life cycle requires 7 months. Larvae
form a little round ball or cell which becomes its cocoon, and in which
it pupates. Some have succeeded in rearing the beetle from egg to larvae
in 2 months, with 4 broods per year in warm summer months. In cool climates,
there is one generation per year.
of Damage and Habitat: True to their name, drugstore/biscuit beetles
feed on many drugs in the pharmacy, such as laxative teas and even strychnine.
They also infest almonds, peanuts, paprika, red pepper, alfalfa meal,
cornmeal, flour, milo, wheat, wheat bran, wheat germ, dry dog and cat
food, bread, birdseed, beans, coffee beans, fish meal, spaghetti, instant
chocolate, powdered milk, books, manuscripts, dried flowers, certain fillers
and fabric coverings of furniture, leather, museum specimens, and other
pattern of tunnels and holes in the bottom of a plastic bucket
by the larvae of the Drugstore beetle. The bucket had been filled
with powdered soup in which the larvae had developed.
Control of this pantry pest begins with the location of the infested food.
A thorough clean up, using a vacuum cleaner to get into the cracks and
crevices, will control this pest. Also be aware that if there are any
bread items which have been varnished and used for display purposes in
the kitchen, that these will be an ideal harbourage area.
in an industrial situation, things should not have got to the point
where there is a problem, vigilance at all times, and scrupulous housekeeping
is the only way to maintain a pest free environment.
to main Stored Product Insect page