Sawtooth Grain Beetles are a small black beetle that measures around 2/16th of an inch long when fully grown. They are among the most common of all pantry and cabinet infesting beetles and are easily mistaken for Red Flour Beetles or Confused Flour Beetles. However, upon closer inspection, most anyone can see that the Red and Confused Flour Beetles are more close lookalikes and the Saw Tooth Grain Beetle is quite different.
The pronounced difference is the “saw like” teeth on either side of it’s thorax. With any amount of magnification one can see the teeth; a trained eye can see them by looking carefully at them in their hand.
SAWTOOTH GRAIN BEETLE BIOLOGY
Though their biology is slightly different, these beetles can be just as much of a pest compared to other pantry pests. This article will describe some basic biology of sawtooth grain beetles and then detail what must be done to eliminate current and active infestations.
SAWTOOTH GRAIN BEETLE HISTORY
Sawtooth Grain Beetles have been around as long as other Flour Beetles. Their history dates back several thousand years.This is probably due to the fact most ancient civilizations used flour as a main food ingredient.
Sawtooth Grain Beetles thrive on flour dust though they will readily feed on just about anything found in the home intended for people or pets. Sawtooth Grain Beetles are cosmopolitan and can thrive in any part of the United States.
SAWTOOTH GRAIN BEETLES IN THE HOME
Once inside the home, they will readily feed upon pet food, cereal, pasta, spices, rodenticide, dried fruit and vegetables, eggs of other insects, nuts, grass seed and just about anything which can provide nutrition. Though they can be brought home in most anything bought at the grocery store, Sawtooth Grain Beetles are quite able to chew their way into any food they want.
Unlike most pantry pests, Sawtooth Beetles can find food which is well hidden and protected. Their strong chewing mouth parts will allow them access to food which is stored inside boxes and plastic bags. All that is needed is the scent of something worthwhile inside and they’ll make every attempt to find their way inside.
SAWTOOTH GRAIN BEETLE LIFE CYCLE
Sawtooth Grain Beetles live a long time. Average life span is over 3 years which is quite long for an insect so small. Adult females will lay a few eggs daily which will amount to over 300 during their her life. Eggs will hatch in a couple of weeks and start to feed immediately.
These new feeding larva will go through 2-4 molts which will occur over a 3-5 week period. After they get their fill, the larvae will spin cocoon’s where they’ll disappear for awhile. During the pupa stage, they’ll morph and eventually emerge as adults when their live cycle is complete.
All this will occur in under 2 months which makes this species of Grain Beetle one of the fastest developing species we have as a nuisance pest in and around the home. And since they will readily eat anything from bird seed to grass seed, they will almost always find something good to eat around any house.
SAWTOOTH GRAIN BEETLE TREATMENTS
Whether they’re brought home in cereal, pet food or pasta, Sawtooth Beetles are a nuisance once inside the home. Like most other pantry pests, there are a few things which must be done to break their cycle once established. Here is an outline of what you must do so you can get sawtooth beetle control.
1) First, empty all your kitchen cabinets, shelves and closets where they have been seen or thought to exist. Any food stuff which has them active must be discarded in sealed plastic bags. This will help contain them until the garbage is picked up.
If you are not sure if something is infested, store it in a plastic bag and check these bags every few days. If you find Sawtooth Beetles active, it will mean the item is infested and should be thrown away immediately.
Since this pest is temperature tolerant, don’t waste your time trying to freeze kill adults, eggs or larva. Though you will kill some, too many will survive fine and these will be able to continue the cycle.
Now once food stuff which is thought to have activity is discarded, you will be ready to prepare for a treatment. But before you treat, vacuum all closets, shelves and baseboards. This will help remove eggs which are usually too small to see. Sawtooth Beetles lay eggs with a glue like excretion which helps to attach them to surfaces where food is typically available. Vacuum to insure you don’t miss any during the cleanup phase.
SAWTOOTH GRAIN BEETLE AEROSOL SPRAY
2) Once everything has been removed from your cabinets and you’ve vacuumed them out, you can proceed with some treatments. The first product to use is DFORCE AEROSOL. This comes in a spray can that has a straw attachment making it ideal for applying to cracks and crevices where both adults and larva like to reside.
Be sure to treat as many cabinets as you have – not just where you think beetles may be hiding. Sawtooth Grain Beetles are small, fast and quick to hide when ever people are around disturbing where they’ve been feeding. Many will go unnoticed and missed so it is best to treat every cabinet to be sure you get complete coverage.
Now if you want something odorless, PT-PHANTOM would be a better choice. It’s used just like the Dforce but has virtually no odor. Additionally, it goes on “dry”. This makes it ideal for sensitive areas like cabinets and other kitchen areas.
Phantom Aerosol: http://www.bugspraycart.com/insecticide/aerosol/pt-phantom-17-5oz
Another product to consider is TOPIA AEROSOL. This aerosol is relatively new but works just like the Dforce or Phantom. The big difference is that it uses nothing but plant oil as the active and because of this formulation, it’s what the government considers to be a “low risk” spray. Such formulations are exempt from needing a federal registration because they’re not able to pose a hazard to people or pets.
So if you’re looking for something “organic”, Topia would be your choice. Just remember it won’t last long like the Dforce or Phantom. Maybe only 1-2 weeks per application. But it’s the only product we have that states on it’s label “Safe for use around children and pets” so for people that have concerns about what they’re applying in the home, Topia would be a good option that actually works.
Regardless of which aerosol you choose, be sure to let the treatment dry for 1 hour and after this time, all dishes and food stuff can go back without any hazard presented to people or pets.
SAWTOOTH GRAIN BEETLE LIQUID SPRAY
3) Now that the cabinets and pantry areas have been treated with one form of aerosol, you may have to treat other areas of the home if the beetles have been seen around the house. Laundry rooms, garages, basements and other areas where pet food and grain products like grass seed are stored will be prime locations for Sawtooth Beetles to hide and nest.
One or two rooms like this will be easy to treat with an aerosol but if you have several areas needing treatment, get some PERMETHRIN or DEFENSE SC. Both are concentrates so you’ll be mixing up what you need and be able to treat larger areas more cost efficiently and overall, more effective.
Permethrin 10: http://www.bugspraycart.com/insecticide/liquid/permethrin-10
Apply the mixture with a PUMP SPRAYER which will allow you to get good coverage. Focus on baseboards, moldings and floor joists if accessible. And remember, since rodenticide is one of their favorite foods, be sure to check any bait block or bait pack placements you may have done in the last couple of years.
Pump Sprayer: http://www.bugspraycart.com/good/pump-sprayers
Attics are common areas where Sawtooth Beetles thrive and if they’re living up there, they can easily find their way inside living areas. And we have found many people using rodenticide in their attic which in turn, can lead to this problem.
SAWTOOTH GRAIN BEETLE TRAPS
4) Now that you’ve treated all cabinets, pantries, rooms and baseboards where adults may be hiding, install some SAWTOOTH BEETLE TRAPS where you have or suspect activity. These traps use strong pheromones or sex attractants to lure adults.
Once they crawl or fly into the holding tray, the thick catching oil will hold them for good. Set these traps in the back of any shelf or cabinet area. Because of their size, they’re quite discreet and easy to conceal. However, the beetles will find them.
Be sure to place some in any cabinet or closet where activity has been seen and as a general rule, try to get at least one trap per shelf. Expect the traps to remain active for 1-2 months but you will need to replace them if they fill with insects.
Now if you’ve been seeing activity out in the open, the XLURE TRAP will be better suited for such areas. The Xlure trap has a protective, hard plastic body and the catching gel, bait and pheromone is located inside out of sight. Sawtooth beetles will readily find their way inside and get caught but because of it’s design, the Xlure traps are best suited for trap placements that need to be done out in the open.
Sawtooth Grain Beetles can be a persistent pest once established in the home. To break their life cycle, you’ll need to remove any food which is has activity.
Next, clean and vacuum all cabinets or closets where you’ve seen activity. Treat with one of the aerosols listed above to kill off hatching larva and migrating adults. This treatment will provide several weeks of protection should any new eggs hatch or if any new adults come into the area.
But if you have them throughout the home, treat with Permethrin to get better coverage.
Finally, set out some traps in any cabinet, pantry or where activity has been noted. Be sure to keep the traps fresh so they can help solve the problem by catching adults before they mate and try to reproduce. This treatment program will help break their life cycle so that eventually it will run it’s course and disappear.
Give us a call if you need further help. Our toll free is 1-800-877-7290 and we’re open Monday through Thursday, 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM. On Friday, 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM and on Saturday, 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time).
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