What Do Drugstore Beetles Eat? Surprising Things Drugstore Beetles Eat

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How To Get Rid Of Pantry Beetle

Pantry pests are notorious for getting inside kitchens and eating away grains and cereals, but what do drugstore beetles eat? Is it just food items, or can it be other things too? Let’s find out.

Drugstore beetles are major pests around the house since they enjoy infesting a wide variety of food items and pharmacy products.

They love munching on almost anything they can find in the kitchen or in your pill box – be it bread, biscuits, cookies, cereals, etc.

These tiny creatures also eat non-food products like leather, fur, paper, wool, and more.

What Do Drugstore Beetles Eat

So, if you find a drugstore beetle wandering around your house, drive it out immediately before it can procreate and make a big problem for you.

To learn more about these household pests and what they can eat, read on.

What Do Drugstore Beetles Look Like?

These bugs are a type of reddish-brown beetle with three-segmented (oval-shaped) bodies and prominent antennae.

They resemble cigarette beetles. However, drugstore beetles have a more noticeable bump on their heads, making its face invisible from a human’s perspective.

Adult drugstore beetles grow up to 1/7th of an inch and have wings. Thus, they can both crawl and fly, which allows them to venture easily into homes and new places.

The larvae grow up to the length of 1/8 inch and resemble white grubs with c-shaped bodies.

The human eye cannot detect the larvae, which is why a drugstore beetle infestation is even more troublesome.

Do Drugstore Beetles Bite

What Do They Eat?

The female drugstore beetles start laying eggs in any of the several food sources we mention below, which becomes the primary food for the larva.

As soon as the egg hatches, the larvae immediately start feeding. It is an activity that continues throughout the beetle’s life – these bugs are voracious eaters.

They can feed on a wide variety of food products, and this is why they are counted as an extreme nuisance in the pantry or kitchen.

Here’s a list of some food sources drug beetles enjoy infesting.

  • Flour
  • Cereal
  • Bread
  • Pet food
  • Bird seed
  • Spice
  • Chocolates
  • Cookies
  • Seasonings etc.

Due to the wide variety of foods they enjoy, they have been given several names, such as biscuit beetles, bread beetles, and flour beetles.

These fascinating creatures are also capable of eating non-food products like:

  • Paper
  • Fur
  • Wool
  • Leather
  • Plant material
  • Prescription drugs
  • Plant products
  • Animal products
  • Horn etc.

Apart from the above food and non-food items, these beetles can also be found in museum artifacts and specimens such as mummies, making them extremely dangerous.

They are so bad they can even infest some poisonous products like strychnine!

Can They Fly?

Adult beetles have a pair of wings that help them fly quickly. They are decent fliers, but this also means that they can easily venture into a new location to launch an infestation.

And the fact that they are so tiny makes it difficult to catch them, let alone get rid of them.

Do They Bite?

Adult drugstore beetles do not bite, but they are still a nuisance for humankind due to their eating habits.

The beetles can easily crawl or fly into your kitchen and infest the food and non-food products, and they can do so for a long time!

Drugstore Beetle

How Long Do They Live?

Adult drugstore beetles can live up to 3 to 4 months, but their complete life cycle takes about seven months (depending on the humidity and temperature) to complete.

It starts with the female beetle laying eggs in a food source. When hatched, larvae immediately start feeding on the food item and continue growing for the next 4-5 months.

During this time, it can crawl into new food storage.

Next, it enters the pupal stage, which takes about 12 to 18 days to pass, and finally, the pupae become an adult drugstore beetle.

The beetle wanders around for the next few weeks and lays eggs for the cycle to start again. The adult beetle does not eat but is attracted to light to lay eggs.

Where Do They Live?

Drugstore beetles usually live in stored food products, such as flour, biscuit, bread, cookies, cereals, etc.

Thus, you can find them in stores, restaurants, pantries, and your kitchen. You can detect them in plastic containers, cabinets, rail cars, shipping boxes, etc.

These beetles can also fly into bedrooms, living rooms, and other areas with light. Yes, they are attracted to light for better guidance and the possibility of finding food.

What Do Drugstore Beetles Eat

How Do They Come Inside Homes

Drugstore beetles are common in households because they thrive in warmer environments and also love to munch on stored food items.

Since every house stores food items like bread, biscuits, cereals, cookies, etc., in their pantry or kitchen, these beetles find their way inside through packaging or flying in.

They can also come inside packaged foods in the form of eggs or larvae. This is because the beetles make holes in food products to lay their eggs.

These eggs can go undetected at a food processing plant, so even a perfectly packaged food item might have an infestation in it.

While the drugstore beetle larvae spend all their time living in food items, the adults can easily crawl and fly to new locations.

The adult beetle is also attracted to light sources since they equate it with the possibility of finding more food to munch on.

This is why you can also see these beetles in the bathroom, bedroom, living room, office, and spaces with a lot of light.

If you keep your porch lights or outdoor lights on during the evenings in summer, these bugs can fly in from outside the home through cracks in windows and door seals.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I have drugstore beetles in my house?

Drugstore beetles enjoy eating everyday household items, such as biscuits, bread, cereals, chocolates, etc., and thus, infest pantries and kitchens. They all munch on leather, fur, paper, and other non-food products that can be found in every home.

How long does a drugstore beetle live?

A typical adult drugstore beetle lives for three to four months, but its entire life cycle is for seven months or more, depending on the humidity and temperature of the region where the female lays eggs.

Why do I have drugstore beetles in my bedroom?

Drugstore beetles are attracted to bedrooms because they infest food items like bread and butter, fur, leather, wool, etc. It is possible it came into the room through your clothes and food package. They may also be attracted to the light in your room.

Are drugstore beetles harmful?

Drugstore beetles do not bite humans, so they are not dangerous, but they are a nuisance since they infest everyday household items like bread, biscuits, chocolates, wool, fur, leather, etc.

Wrap Up

Drugstore beetles are fascinating creatures, but they are a menace to a neat and clean pantry. They can multiply quickly and destroy your food, as well as several other items.

So, if you come across a drugstore beetle infestation in your space, get rid of it immediately.

Thank you for reading!


  • 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.

    View all posts
  • 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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