There are a number of insect pests in the world that gravitate toward human food sources. Anybody who has ever eaten outdoors during the summer months knows first hand how sugar-loving insects can ruin an otherwise pleasant day outdoors. While everyone is familiar with the bees, wasps, gnats, flies and mosquitoes that ruin picnics, very few have ever heard of beetles being attracted to human food sources. However, the drugstore beetle is well known for being a pest to stored food items. These beetles infest kitchen cupboards containing packaged food items as well as warehouses where large stockpiles of food products have yet to be shipped.
Unfortunately, drugstore beetles are distributed all over the world, but they are most abundant in temperate regions during the summer season. As it turns out, this beetle is aptly named due to its tendency to feed on prescription drugs in addition to food items. These beetles have a particular liking for any food items that contain flours, dry mixes, breads, cookies, chocolates and they even consume the spices that are commonly kept in kitchen cupboards. What makes drugstore beetles unique among insect pests is their tendency to access processed and packaged food items. This is why the beetles are often found infesting wholesale food distribution centers, food processing plants and even supermarket shelves. Drugstore beetles even have a taste for pet food, as they are commonly found within packaged cat and dog food products.
In addition to feeding on processed and packaged food of all kinds, drugstore beetles feed on non-food items as well. For example, drugstore beetles are often found feeding on wool, hair, leather, and specimens kept in museums and herbariums. Drugstore beetles bore through books, wooden objects and even tin or aluminum foil and lead sheets. The larvae of drugstore beetles are sometimes found on library shelves tunneling through the pages of books. Placing UV lights within food storage areas has proven effective at luring the beetles away from food items.
Have you ever found an insect within a packaged food item?