What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

What is this and how do I get rid of it?
January 12, 2010
For the past two months we have had these small bugs infesting our kitchen. We thought maybe they were just coming in from the cold, but now we cannot get rid of them.
They are small (less than 5mm), blackish-brown, I think they have 6 legs and 2 antena but it’s hard to tell. They are only on our countertops and occassionally we find them on the floor in our kitchen. They do not get into our cupboards. They do not jump, just crawl.
We have tried several sprays for ants, roaches, sowbugs, beatles, gnats, spiders, flies…pretty much everything that we could think of. Obviously we’re not getting the right kind of stuff.
Any help you can give in determining what kind of bug this is and how we can get rid of it would be great. Sorry the picture is not very helpful. I can’t get a closer shot that’s clear.
Let me know if you need any more information.
Thank you!
Holly Grant
Tonawanda, NY (north Buffalo near Lake Erie)

Grain Beetles

Grain Beetles

Hi Holly,
Earlier this morning, we posted another image of a tiny beetle that is infesting a home, but in that case, we are uncertain of the species.  Your beetles are either Merchant Grain Beetles, Oryzaephilus mercator, or Sawtooth Grain Beetles, Oryzaephilus surinamensis,two species in the genus Oryzaephilus.  These beetles will infest grains and according to BugGuide:  “larvae and adults feed on damaged kernels of stored grains: barley, oats, rice, sunflower seeds, and wheat, plus flour, pasta, breakfast cereals, cake mixes, and various other processed foods used for human consumption
Life Cycle  female O. surinamensis lays 45-285 white, shiny eggs singly or in small clusters in crevices in the food material during a 2-5 month period; eggs hatch in 3-17 days depending on temperature; larva passes through 3-5 instars and usually constructs a pupal cell or cocoon from food particles held together with sticky oral secretions; larva attaches anal end to some solid object to pupate; life cycle typically 30-50 days (range 27-375); optimal developmental conditions 30-35 degrees Celsius and 70 percent humidity; as many as 6-7 generations per year, depending on temperature and food supply; adults typically live 6-10 months but may live longer than 3 years.
”  BugGuide also indicates that they can be found:  “in containers or buildings where grain is stored; adult O. surinamensis cannot fly; adults of O. mercator are strong fliers but are not attracted to light.”  We would suggest that you inspect the pantry closely to identify the source of the infestation.  Extermination will not help unless all of your food is sprayed with pesticide, which is not a healthy option.

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

3 Responses to Grain Beetles

  1. SGraves says:

    To get rid of these guys you have to throw out infested foodstuff and wash down the shelving and cabinets wherever they are. Start over by storing all grains (i.e. flour, sugar, cereals, etc) in airtight containers. I also go a step further and freeze all flour, sugar, and rice for 24 hours after purchase prior to emptying them into their containers. Haven’t had an infestation since adopting this practice in years!

  2. Jean Kelly says:

    Hi there, I have something like this. Small, dark brown reddish oval bugs that appear on floors, walls and ceiling at the top of my stairs, bedroom and upstairs loo. They’re smooth and a single colour. They have wings but I’ve never seen them fly.
    Can you help?

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