Drugstore Beetle Life Cycle: How Long Do These Pests Live?

Did you spot some small insects in or near your pill box? These are likely to be drugstore beetles. Let’s learn all about the drugstore beetle life cycle.

While a good number of beetles and pantry pests attack and infest food sources, there are some that attack things like paper, cardboard, leather, and more. 

One such beetle is the drugstore beetle. These tiny little creatures are often seen creeping around books in a library or medicines stored in your pill box. 

Drugstore Beetle Life Cycle

They can also be found in places where you least expect them, munching away at nonfood items like wood, leather, and even metal.

In this article, we will try to understand the life cycle of these beetles, which can help to control their population. 

What is Drugstore Beetle?

The Drugstore beetles are tiny insects that belong to the family of anobiids. These beetles are also commonly known as biscuit beetle across the United Kingdom. 

They get their name from the peculiar trait of infesting and attacking the prescribed drugs that are usually stored in a pharmacy. 

Adult beetles can show an average growth of 1/7 inches in length and have reddish-brown colored bodies. 

If you look closely, you will notice that these beetles have fine hair on their wings patches which is a little similar to the cigarette beetles

However, the antennae in both the beetles are different; the cigarette beetle has saw-tooth patterned antennae, while the drugstore beetle has regular 3-sectioned antennae. 

Do Drugstore Beetles Bite

Drugstore Beetle Life Cycle

The growth of drugstore beetles highly depends on the temperature of the place and the food sources available nearby. 

The female drugstore beetles can lay up to 75 eggs in a warm place that is near a food source. 

These drugstore beetle eggs take around 6-10 days to hatch. Once they hatch, the larva comes out. 

The drugstore beetle larvae have a white grub-like appearance. They have short hair on their body and some markings on their heads. 

It takes around 35-70 days for the larva to grow. During this time, they usually avoid light and prefer to eat a lot. 

Once they develop entirely, they move into the pupal stage, and within 1-3 weeks, they emerge as adult drugstore beetles. 

The entire life cycle ends in less than two months, but in some cases, they can live up to 7 months


As mentioned above, these beetles highly depend on the temperature and the availability of food for their growth. The lower the temperature, the slower the growth. 

Therefore these beetles are more abundant in areas with warmer temperatures. 

They might have originated from the regions of South Africa, but now they are well divided across different parts of the world. 

They are also highly common in the UK, and they make regular appearances in food storage premises over there.

What Does it Feed On?

As the name suggests, the drugstore beetle attacks and consumes stored pharmaceutical products. 

They also consume food products like dry mixes, cookies, pet food, coffee, cereals, nuts, rice, and other grains. 

Apart from food items, they also attack other things like leather, hair, wool, cardboard, herbs, furniture stuffing, rice, seeds, pet food, dried fish, and much more.

One of the major concerns regarding these common pests is that they are a significant threat to museums as they destroy books, mummies, and animal remains. 

Drugstore Beetle

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to get rid of drugstore beetles?

To quickly get rid of drugstore beetles, you can either heat the infested food source or freeze it. 
Doing so will kill the beetles present in the food. When heating the products, maintain a temperature of 140°F for two hours to get the best results. 
If you are freezing the items, maintain a temperature of 20°F for around 48 hours. However, it takes a while to get rid of an entire infestation of drugstore beetles.

Is it hard to get rid of drugstore beetles?

Yes, getting rid of big drugstore beetle populations can be extremely tricky. The main reason behind this is the fact that they are tiny, which makes them harder to track. 
On top of that, the female can lay a lot of eggs at a time which drastically increases the population in a short period of time. 

How often do drugstore beetles lay eggs?

Female drugstore beetles can lay up to 100 eggs in one lifetime. They usually lay eggs in an area that is a little warm and have an abundance of food nearby. 
The eggs take around 6-10 days to hatch. Due to the high capacity of laying eggs, it is tough to control the populations of these beetles. 

Where do drugstore beetles lay eggs?

Drugstore beetles usually lay eggs in areas that are warm and have a good amount of food available nearby. 
They do so because the growth of drugstore beetle highly depends on the temperature and food availability. The lower the temperature, the longer it takes them to grow into adults. 

Wrap Up

Drugstore beetles are an extremely dangerous species for food and other household items. 

These insects consume a wide variety of edible and inedible items in the house, creating a lot of problems. 

Moreover, these bugs can even fly!

Since they highly depend on the temperature and availability of food, you can use this piece of information to eliminate a significant proportion of their populations in or near your house. 

Thank you for reading the article.


  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

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  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

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