Sawtoothed Grain Beetle Facts & Information

Everything you need to know about the sawtoothed grain beetle

Sawtoothed grain beetles have a flat body and are brown in color. The adults grow to be about 1/10-1/8 of an inch in length. Sawtoothed grain beetles do not fly and are not attracted to light. They have six distinctive “saw-like” projections coming off the side of the segment (prothorax) located just behind their head – hence the name! These grain beetles are typically not found in grain products, but instead like to attack cereals, cake mixes, macaroni, cookies, and chocolate. Can’t really blame them.

Both the larval and adult stages of the merchant grain beetle attack all foods of vegetable origin; their preferred foods are oilseed products such as nuts and sunflower seeds. The adults of the sawtoothed grain beetle cannot fly and must be introduced from contaminated grain. Once there, they can do serious damage which is why proper identification and then beetle extermination methods should be used.

How did I get sawtoothed grain beetles?

All grain beetles come from a dried food item that was infested at the local grocery store or the processing facility where it was packaged. Tainted items on grocery store shelves can lead to a mass infestation in the local area. Nothing you are doing is causing the introduction of sawtoothed grain beetles. Once you have them though, you want to make sure to dispose of the infected product in a tightly sealed trash can. Vacuum and clean the area of infestation thoroughly but make sure to clean out the vacuum bag or they could crawl out and infest another box of cake mix! They will also feed on pet food so make sure once you open that 10 lb. bag of cat food, you put it in a tightly sealing container.

Where do sawtoothed grain beetles live?

Although broken kernels are the preferred food of both species, sound kernels will sometimes be penetrated and fed on. So, they basically live wherever their food sources are. Adults live an average of six to ten months, but can live as long as three years. The females lay between 43 and 285 eggs during their lifetime. Eggs are dropped loosely among grain kernels or tucked into a crevice in a kernel. The tiny eggs are slender and white, and hatch in three to five days when environmental conditions are optimal (80° to 85°F).

The larvae emerge and crawl freely about the grain to feed on broken kernels. Larger larvae may tunnel into kernels to feed. Larvae mature in about two weeks, and construct cocoon-like coverings by joining together small grains or pieces of grain. Within these structures the larvae pupate. the pupal stage lasts about a week. Total development from egg to adult requires about three to four weeks.

Problems caused

Sawtoothed grain beetles do not pose any direct damage to humans, but they do pose a danger to your wallet! Should they get into your pantry or food storage areas any food they are in is contaminated and must be discarded. These beetles attack such foods as cereals, breakfast foods, biscuit mixes, sugar, macaroni, flour, rice, dried meats, and dried fruits. Sawtoothed grain beetles are primarily found where dry foodstuffs are stored. The bite out of your wallet or bottom line is reason enough to have beetle treatments done at your home or business. We can help with beetle control.

Not the beetle you have?

How can I prevent sawtoothed grain beetles?

Prevention needs to begin at the food processing plant or silo where the grain is being stored. Preventing them at your home is a different story entirely and is difficult to do. Since they are usually inadvertently brought in on infested packaged food, you won’t know it until you open it up. If you do purchase something infested with sawtoothed grain beetles, make sure to report it to wherever you bought it and avoid that brand going forward. Good sanitation practices and keeping dried foods in sealed, air-tight containers will help keep the infestation from growing, but keeping them out entirely is not an easy task.

Why OPC?

We’re passionate about keeping sawtoothed grain beetles out of your home or business because we live and work here – it’s our neighborhood, too. We’ve been keeping homes and businesses in Kentucky, Indiana, and portions of Ohio safe from pests since 1972. OPC Pest Services has the experience you can trust.
  • Expert pest control since 1972

  • Quality Pro certified company

  • Satisfaction guarantee

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“They always want to make sure the customer is satisfied. I have been with OPC for over 10 years. Highly recommend!”

Donna R.
Louisville, KY