What Happens If You Eat A Drugstore Beetle?

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What Do Drugstore Beetles Eat

Drugstore beetles can infest your kitchen and eat through almost anything in your house. But what happens if you eat a drugstore beetle hiding inside your food?

Drugstore beetles are a type of pantry pest with a tiny round head and reddish brown color. Due to their tiny size and features, some might even call them cute. 

But, these small creatures can cause massive losses to people and businesses by damaging food and pharmaceutical products. 

Also, since they love to infest different food items, you may end up munching on one or two of them while eating your favorite breakfast cereal. 

But what happens when you accidentally eat these pests? Are they poisonous or dangerous? Let us find out. 

What Happens If You Eat A Drugstore Beetle
Drugstore Beetle

What Are Drugstore Beetles?

Drugstore beetles are tiny pantry pests that are also commonly known as biscuit beetles, bread beetles, or flour beetles across the UK. 

These troublesome pests most probably originated in South Africa

The drugstore beetles show an average growth of 1/10 to 1/7 inches in length and have reddish-brown bodies. 

They can consume a massive list of food items, including cereals, nuts, grains, rice, dry mixes, pet food, cookies, pharmaceuticals, and more. 

At times they also consume inedible products like leather, paper, wool, cardboard, hair, furniture stuffing, and more. 

The drugstore beetles look similar to cigarette beetles, but they are a list of differences between the two. 

They have three sectioned antennae, while the cigarette beetles have sawtoothed patterns in the antennae. 

The female drugstore beetles usually lay eggs in a warm area with an abundance of food nearby as they highly depend on the temperature and food for their growth. 

The larva is like a white grub with tiny hair growing over the body. 

Are They Edible?

It is ok to eat a few of these insects accidentally, but not in large quantities. 

Apart from attacking and feeding on prescribed drugs, they usually feed on almost everything edible. Therefore such accidents can and do happen. 

However, food infested heavily by drugstore beetles should not be consumed. But why? Let us find out in the next section. 

What Happens If You Eat A Drugstore Beetle

Are They Harmful if Eaten?

Drugstore beetles, like most pantry pests, are not harmful if eaten in small quantities. 

However, it is not a good idea to consume food that is heavily infested by these insects, as they may contain pathogens that can make you ill. 

What If I Accidentally Ate One?

As mentioned above, they usually attack a lot of edible things like rice, cereal, nuts, and more. Therefore you might swallow one or two by accident. 

If that happens, there is no need to panic, but if the quantity is greater, there can be some problems. 

The feces of these beetles might create irritation in your throat, mouth, and stomach if you accidentally eat them.

Can Their Eggs or Larvae Be Eaten?

Like most pantry bugs, the drugstore beetles can be consumed in all stages. 

Since they infest food products and medicines as well, you are likely to come across drugstore beetle larvae and eggs in your food. 

As long as you don’t eat highly-infested food, you will be fine. 

Are The Poisonous?

Drugstore beetles are not poisonous, and like most pantry beetles, they do not bite or sting humans. The only problem is that these beetles will attack food sources and other valuable items like leather, wool, paper, and more. 

Do They Transmit any Diseases?

Drugstore beetles are not carriers of any disease. 

However, a drugstore beetle infestation can cause massive losses to business owners in the food and pharmaceutical sector by contaminating their products. 

This will ultimately ruin the reputation and cause substantial financial losses. 

What Happens If You Eat A Drugstore Beetle

How To Remove Drugstore Beetles From Food?

Removing drugstore beetles from your food can be tough, especially since these beetles are tiny and hard to detect, but you can easily remove them by either heating or freezing the food. 

If there is a small infestation in a food source, you can heat it at 140°F for two hours to get rid of the pest. For freezing, store the food at 20°F for around 48 hours for the same results. 

How To Get Rid of Drugstore Beetles?

Mentioned below are a few ways to get rid of drugstore beetles:

Pheromone traps

These traps entice the beetles to fly into sticky traps using pheromones. Once these beetles get trapped, you easily get rid of them. 

You can use pheromone traps to capture pests like drugstore beetles, Indian meal moths, and more. 

You might have to keep replacing these traps every few days to get all the beetles out of your pantry.


The use of pesticides is not usually preferred to deal with pantry beetles, but as a last resort, you can use them. 

Choose selective insecticides that are particularly labeled to be used for controlling drugstore beetle infestations.

What Happens If You Eat A Drugstore Beetle

Vinegar traps

Vinegar mixed with soap solution can work as an effective repellent for pantry beetles. 

Create this mixture and spray it around the area where these beetles are likely to be found. 

This is a good natural and budget-friendly way of dealing with these pests.

Bug Control Recommendation Tool

What type of pest are you dealing with?

How severe is the infestation?

Do you require child/pet/garden safe treatments (organic)?

Are you willing to monitor and maintain the treatment yourself?

Frequently Asked Questions 

What happens if you eat a pantry beetle?

If you eat one or two pantry beetles by mistake, it won’t cause you any harm as these insects are not poisonous, and they do not carry any harmful diseases. 
The only problem is that they attack and damage stored food. If they are present in large numbers, it is better to throw out the food completely.

Are cigarette beetles harmful if eaten?

Like most pantry beetles, cigarette beetles are not dangerous for humans if eaten, as they usually don’t bite or sting. 
These tiny pests are not poisonous, and they do not carry any harmful pathogens that may cause illnesses. 
However, you must be careful as these insects can cause massive damage to stored food.

Can you get sick from accidentally eating weevils?

No, weevils are not poisonous, and they do not carry any harmful disease-causing pathogens. 
If you eat accidentally eat a weevil by mistake, it won’t cause you any harm. On top of that. they usually do not bite or sting humans.

Do drugstore beetles bite?

Drugstore beetles usually don’t bite or attack humans. These beetles are tiny in size and are not poisonous. But don’t let the size fool you. 
These pantry pests can cause extensive damage to edible and inedible products in your house.

Wrap Up

Accidentally eating a drugstore beetle or two won’t cause any harm to you. They are not poisonous, and neither do they carry diseases.

However, know that they can contaminate your food, and consuming the fecal matter of these insects can lead to severe throat irritation. 

Therefore make active efforts to keep these pests at bay and use the information given in the article to the fullest. 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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