Do Drugstore Beetles Bite? Truth Revealed

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Drugstore beetles are often confused with other bugs, like bed bugs which are notorious biters and bloodsuckers. But do drugstore beetles bite humans? Let us find out.

One of the foremost concerns for business owners when storing food products and packed goods is an infestation. 

Insects that attack stored food packages can destroy products in bulk. One such pest is the drugstore beetle. 

While it doesn’t bite, it possesses the ability to attack several food items. Females can lay up to 100 eggs at a time, endangering bulk products. 

Do Drugstore Beetles Bite

What Are Drugstore Beetles? 

Drugstore beetles, along with their cousins, the cigarette beetles, are infamous for attacking stored foods. 

They can destroy stored food products and cause extensive damage. 

Also known as the biscuit beetle in the United Kingdom, drugstore beetles are found all over the world. However, they are largely prevalent in regions with temperate climates. 

The female drugstore beetle often lays eggs in a food source such as grains. The drugstore beetle larvae feed on the grain as they transition from the larval stage into adulthood. 

Adult drugstore beetles have a lifespan of anywhere between 13 to 65 days. Their survival depends on the availability of a food source and warmer, humid climates.

What Do They Look Like?

Sized between 1/10 to 1/7 inches, the adult drugstore beetles are uniformly brown or reddish brown. While they do resemble cigarette beetles, there are a few physical characteristics to differentiate between the two. 

The wing covers or elytra of the drugstore beetles appear striated because of longitudinal grooves, while those of the cigarette beetles are smooth. 

Secondly, the antennae of drugstore beetles are segmented into three, unlike the serrated antennae of cigarette beetles. 

Additionally, they are more often found in temperate climates. They’re not as present in tropical climates, which are the favorite haunts of cigarette beetles.

Do Drugstore Beetles Bite

How Did Drugstore Beetles Get Their Name?

Drugstore beetles (or bread beetles) attack everything from bread, spices, flour, sweet food items, dry pet food, birdseed, garden seeds, corn, and more. 

They can even attack and eat non-food items such as leather, wool, and even metal. 

However, it gets its name because of its fondness for feeding on medicinal herbs and plants present in apothecaries. 

Drugstore beetles can often be found in drugstores, feeding on medicines or grocery items alike. 

A drugstore beetle infestation is extremely dangerous because they spread very fast and eat through the food quite quickly. Additionally, if you end up buying something infested by these tiny creatures, you can risk them spreading in your home as well.  

Do They Bite? 

Drugstore beetles are very small in size and do not bite or attack humans. However, they are annoying pests because they reproduce rapidly and can quickly cause infestation. 

They can attack and eat any dry food item and render bulks of produce unsaleable.

Do Drugstore Beetles Bite

Are They Poisonous?

Drugstore beetles do not pose any harm to humans, animals, or structures. However, their larvae eat their way through several plants, herbs, and dry foods, making them unusable. 

Hence, either way, you wouldn’t want this notorious pest anywhere near your food items.

Do They Spread Any Disease?

No, drugstore beetles are not known to be a host to any kind of disease. As such, they do not bite or attack humans and animals. 

Though they are not spreaders of any diseases, they ravage stored food items, rendering them useless, and causing massive waste. 

Why Are They Harmful?

Again, drugstore beetles are a nuisance because of their sheer number and ability to destroy stored food. 

They are often found in places where packed food is stored, flour mills, bakeries, drugstores, etc. They tend to lay their eggs in packaged items and can cause an infestation in your home if you accidentally buy the packet.

The drugstore beetle feeds on food as well as non-food items such as wool, hair, and metal, making them dangerous pests. 

Their presence contaminates food, and eliminating them can be tough because they reproduce quickly. 

They can be in any stage of their lifecycle inside a shipped or packed product, thus making tracking the numbers difficult. 

Do Drugstore Beetles Bite

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can drugstore beetles harm humans?

No, drugstore beetles do not directly cause any harm to humans because they don’t bite or attack. 
However, they contaminate food products, the consumption of which might evoke allergic reactions in humans (and thus cause harm). 
Additionally, they also tend to feed on non-food items, which makes them even more destructive. 

Why do I have drugstore beetles in my bedroom?

Drugstore beetles might come to your home either through an infested food packet or through agents like birds. 
They need warmer climates to survive, so they may be looking for an escape from the cold outside. 
The presence of a food source like metal, wool, or hair might also be the reason you’re seeing them in your bedroom.  

How do I get rid of drugstore beetles in my bed?

While it’s tough to get rid of drugstore beetle infestation, the first thing to do is to get rid of the infested product
You can then clean and vacuum the space to make sure they’re no more of them. Also, check for food crumbs or anything that might have attracted the beetles. 

Do cigarette beetles bite humans?

Cigarette beetles do not bite humans. They are, however, known to get into people’s hair and clothing. 
But they mainly cause massive damage to dry food products, medicines, and even books. 
They pretty much eat everything and anything that’s a dry product making them nuisance-causing pests. 

Wrap Up 

Drugstore beetles are infamously known for the damage they can cause to stored and packed food items. Their large numbers make it difficult to get rid of them. 

They are known to render large batches of food products unusable. Therefore it’s imperative to pay attention to any signs of their presence to prevent an infestation and loss.  

Thank you for reading this article.


  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. 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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