• Call (800) 479-6583
  • Mon-Fri 8am-5pm
  • |
  • Sat 9am-5pm

How To Control Drugstore Beetlesdrugstore beetle

They may be called drugstore beetles, but that doesn’t mean it’s limited to just your local pharmacy. Drugstore beetles can become a problem anywhere there are food goods stored away. The drugstore beetle has a very wide appetite and isn’t too picky.

Oval-shaped, brown in color and between 2.5 to 3 mm long, drugstore beetles closely resemble the cigarette beetle, another pantry pest. The main difference that distinguishes the two bugs are that the antennae of the drugstore beetle has a distinct three segmented club structure compared to the cigarette beetles serrated antenna and their wings have deep grooves.

Drugstore beetles are also called biscuit beetles or bread beetles. The drugstore name came from the olden days when these beetles were prevalent in invading pharmacies, contaminating various drugs and herbs that were stored away. However, the most common place they invade are households. They enjoy a broad range of dried stored foods but can also eat non-food items such as paper from books and wool, fur, leather and museum specimens. Drugstore beetles are rather strong in that they can drill through wood to get to food they are craving.

If your pantry has been invaded by drugstore beetles, we at Solutions Pest and Lawn have the tips and high-quality products for you to wipe them out of your home once and for all.


Why Buy These Products

How to Get Rid of Drugstore Beetles: Solutions' 4 Step Process:

The fortunate news when you have a drugstore beetle infestation is that they are actually quite easy to get rid of compared to other pantry pests. We here at Solutions Pest & Lawn recommend a control approach which includes a combination of pantry and kitchen sanitation, applying chemical pesticides and discarding all contaminated food. Check out our 4 step process below to learn how to properly dispose of invading drugstore beetles in your pantry.

Step One: The first thing that must be done to address the drugstore beetle problem in your pantry is to first identify the food that has been contaminated or infested by the bugs. The best way to do this is to basically clean house. Clear out your entire pantry of EVERYTHING. Check all your stored food items, once you find the item crawling with bugs, toss it. Toss any old or expired food as well and do your best to reduce clutter in your pantry. Any items that have already been opened, we recommend placing in airtight hard plastic containers.

Step Two:  Once you have decluttered your pantry and removed unwanted foods and foods you feel are infested, vacuum and clean the shelves and surfaces of the pantry. If necessary, use caulking on the cracks and crevices of the shelves and apply fresh paint.

Step Three: Apply a residual insecticide spray. We recommend using a simple aerosol spray such as Novacide Flea & Tick Killer among other options of insecticides. These are both excellent safe to use sprays and provide long-time control. We also suggest applying an Insect Growth Regulator Gentrol Point Source IGR, which is also available in an aerosol spray and has a crack and crevice tip for easy application.

Step Four: Finally, use pheromone specific traps to catch drugstore beetles that are moving around in your home and then regularly clean the pantry of any spills and clutter. By capturing the adults you will prevent them from laying eggs and creating a new generation of contaminators.

Following these steps carefully and being thorough in your approach will ensure that drugstore beetles will no longer be a problem. Browse our drugstore beetle products below and as always you can contact us if you are in need of suggestions or advice, we are always available either via live chat, phone or email.


drugstore beetles

Learn More About The Drugstore Beetle

Drugstore beetles are a small pantry pest which usually between 1/10th to 1/4 of an inch long and are typically colored brown. Adult drugstore beetles have the ability to fly and they are drawn to areas where there is light.  


Drugstore beetles can often be confused with the cigarette beetle due to its oval shape. However, if one were to look closely and compare the two, they would notice to key differences that can distinguish the two. The first is that the drugstore beetle has a three-segmented club on their antenna while the cigarette beetle has a jagged or serrated antenna. Secondly, looking at the wings of the drugstore beetle, one would notice deep grooves or pits whereas the cigarette beetle will not have such traits on their wings.


While the drugstore beetle and the cigarette beetle have the same tendencies of invading food storage areas and store shelves, drugstore beetles eat a larger variety of foods and materials than the cigarette beetle.


No matter the case, if you have drugstore beetles in your home, it would be very necessary to take action immediately to not only get rid of the active infestation but to also stop their eggs from hatching out the next generation of destructive drugstore beetles


Behavior and Tendencies of the Drugstore Beetle

Drugstore beetles are a common problem in every part of the world. While their name suggests that they are typically a problem in drugstores and pharmacies, drugstore beetles mostly infest and invade residential homes.


Drugstore beetles go through a full metamorphosis meaning they start out as eggs, hatch into larvae, then go through the pupation phase before reaching adulthood.


An adult drugstore beetle typically lays their eggs directly on to a food item which the larvae will enjoy eating. Once the egg hatches, the larvae will emerge and have a ferocious appetite. Drugstore beetle larvae will consume any food that is accessible and within their vicinity for the next 3 to 5 months.


At one point, it was believed that drugstore beetles mainly enjoyed flour since they were often found in bread items. Further research and observation of the pest showed that drugstore beetles can practically live on just about anything found in the home which doesn’t necessarily have to be a food we humans typically eat.

Aside from flour, meal and grains, drugstore beetles have been found to consume condiments like ketchup and mustard, spices, coffee, various kinds of beans, books, fabric, wood, furniture, wallpaper and even rodenticides and other poisons which have been laid out to kill rodents.


In fact, the types of food that drugstore beetles would consume is so vast that entomologist have been quoted as saying that “they’d eat practically anything that isn’t cast iron”.


The Drugstore Beetle Life Cycle

After drugstore beetle larvae have hatched from their eggs and have begun to feed, they will continue to devour foods until they have been nourished enough to transition into the next phase of their development, the pupation phase.


This is where the drugstore beetle will use webbing to spin out a cocoon for itself and then house itself into the cocoon to become a pupae and stay in this position until they reach adulthood. The process typically takes 2-4 weeks and once complete the adult drugstore will emerge and the cycle continues as the beetle looks to mate and lay eggs.


Adult drugstore beetles are good fliers and will go so far as to fly away to other parts of the home in search of an acceptable place to lay their eggs if foods have been properly sealed or removed from the area. For this reason, a drugstore beetle can be a particularly difficult problem to overcome since they won’t stay confined to one place in the home.


The average drugstore beetle life cycle takes around 6 months to complete but in warmer conditions like the southern part of the United States, the life cycle may take a year to complete.


The Damage and Impact of Drugstore Beetles

The drugstore beetle devours such a wide variety of foods and material that nothing is really off limits for this pantry pest. They are not picky when it comes to food. While drugstore beetles have earned their name from their tendency to consume prescription drugs and tablets in pharmacies they have infested, the drugstore beetle also likes to consume flours, dried foods, breads, cookies, chocolates and other sweets, and spices.


Inedible materials the drugstore beetle likes to eat include wool, hair, leather, horn, and museum specimens. Drugstore beetle infestations have been reportedly found in pigeon nests and they have been also been observed drilling their way into books, wooden objects, and, in rare instances, tin or aluminum foil and lead sheets.


The larvae phase of the drugstore beetle life cycle is responsible for greatest amount of damage. Drugstore beetles have been also found in museums and herbariums where dried flowers were on display and have damaged valuable items.


Drugstore beetles harbor symbiotic yeasts which develop B vitamins. These yeasts are deposited on the eggs and are consumed by the larvae during the egg hatching process. Thanks to these yeasts,the drugstore beetle is able to survive and thrive on a variety of foods materials which don’t provide good nutrition for their development.


How to Manage a Drugstore Beetle Infestation

To stop the cycle from continuing, it is vital for a homeowner to carry out a solid drugstore beetle control program. In order to be successfully, there are three main tasks needing to be carried out for the desired result: 1) Remove or treat any contaminated food or other items which drugstore beetle larvae or adults have infested 2) Treat the pantry or infested areas to make sure hatching larvae are unable to survive via cleanup and sanitation 3) Apply insecticidal products and install pantry traps to catch unsuspecting adult drugstore beetles before they are able to mate and lay eggs in a different area of the home.


When it comes to the first step, it is imperative to search your food items to locate the main food item or items they are found in and are eating. Most drugstore beetle adults will emerge from cocoons which are located very close to where larvae has eaten. If you have discovered adult drugstore beetles in the pantry then you most likely have some type of cereal, spice, flour, cookie, grain, bean or some other item which are actively eating


What we recommend is to initially clear out everything you have stored in your cabinets and toss them out so you leave nothing to chance also as a timesaving measure or else you would have to go through every single item to check if they have been infested which can be quite time consuming. When checking boxes and containers, be sure to inspect them carefully for white worm-like larvae, adults and empty cocoons (empty cocoons is evidence that adults have hatched).


Any item which clearly has drugstore beetles or that you find suspicious should be discarded immediately; if there are items which you don’t wish to throw out, you can store them temporarily in a plastic bag to see if adults being to crawl out from the food. If 2-3 weeks pass and you do not find any adults crawling out, you can safely assume the item is not contaminated, otherwise, throw it out.


Recommended Spray Item For Drugstore Beetle Control

If the drugstore beetle problem is confined to just the kitchen pantry, we recommend using Novacide Flea & Tick Killer. This fast working aerosol will rapidly kill all drugstore beetle activity and it also comes with an applicator tip which will allow the insecticide to penetrate all cracks and crevices where eggs might be tucked away in or where adult drugstore beetles are hiding.


Just one application of Novacide will take out drugstore beetles from all phases of development if the infestation is limited to a small area. This is especially true if you’ve done a good job of cleaning up and sanitizing your pantry before applying control products.


One can of novacide should suffice a kitchen or pantry. You may need to treat 2-3 times after the initial application if the drugstore beetles are persistent but that should be enough to eliminate the problem.  Re-apply the spray after 2 weeks.If you see activity again after this time, treat once again.


If the infestation has traveled outside of your kitchen pantry to other parts of the home, you may need two cans. Spray baseboards, molding, etc. where beetles might be hiding. Again treat every two weeks until you no longer see any traces of drugstore beetle activity.


Total Home Treatment Option for Drugstore Beetles

If drugstore beetles are being discovered all through your home, it could be safe to say that these pantry pests are consuming something more than the typical food items in your pantry. In that case, you will need to expand your treatment area to include furniture, fabric, carpet, books or other home items


For this task, we recommend using CB PCO Insect Fogger. This is a fogging aerosol which can resolve persistent problems and are especially convenient when the drugstore beetle problem is active in areas of the home other than just the pantry..


CB PCO Fogger acts like a fumigant so you will have to leave the home for a period of time as the insecticide sprays and penetrates all the cracks and crevices of your home where drugstore beetles may be hiding. Make sure to cover and stow away sensitive items.


Depending on how large your home is, you may need to purchase a couple of these foggers and then set them off and quickly exit the home. After a few hours you can return to your home and open the doors and windows to let your home air out before resuming your normal activities.


Using Insect Growth Regulator to Eliminate Drugstore Beetles

For an extra layer of protection, we recommend using an insect growth regulator such as Gentrol Aerosol Insect Growth Regulator and Gentrol IGR Insect Growth Regulator. IGRs are known as a juvenile growth hormone. It doesn’t actually kill drugstore beetles, it merely stunts their growth and prevents eggs from hatching into adults.  A single application of either of these products can last you 3 to 6 months.


Gentrol is a non-repellent product in that it won’t be noticed by foraging drugstore beetles. Another feature it has is that the IGR can translocate, meaning if you spray an area in one room the Gentrol will effectively move up the wall and cover a much larger area thus ensuring some beetles will cross over it.


An extra suggestion is to mix Gentrol IGR with a insecticide product like Reclaim IT as this will pack a double punch that will kill all phases of the drugstore beetle life cycle. Use this option especially if you don’t wish to use aerosols or to address a severe infestation of drugstore beetles.


Trapping Drugstore Beetles With Pheromone Traps

Once you’ve gotten rid of contaminated food and treating your pantry and/or the rest of your home with the pesticides which we’ve recommended above, the last thing we recommend you do is to install drugstore beetle traps to capture any drugstore beetles that survive the treatment or are lingering around.


We recommend Pro-Pest Pantry Moth & Beetle Traps. These traps work by using powerful pheromones to attract adult drugstore beetles to the trap which contains a sticky glue. Once they are lured toward the trap, the glue will capture and hold the drugstore beetles and they will be unable to escape.


This is a key part of the drugstore beetle control program because via capturing adult drugstore beetles you will prevent further egg laying and thus further development of a re-infestation.


While the kitchen, pantry and cabinets may be the prime areas to place traps, you may need to place traps in other parts of the home such as windows. As we mentioned earlier, drugstore beetles are attracted to light and will gather up on window sills. If this is happening, setting a trap near your window will successfully capture these stragglers.


Once installed, make sure to inspect the traps once a week because they may fill up with captured beetles and may need to be changed out with a fresh trap. Keeping a fresh trap on the regular is a must if you want to capture any remaining drugstore beetles and put an end to the infestation.


Finally, make sure to at least one of these drugstore beetle traps in every room you have seen activity so the adults can be intercepted and captured before they start laying eggs on books, fabric or furniture in an attempt to repopulate their nasty infestation.



Drugstore beetles are a pest which can be quite difficult to control because of their flying habits and tendency to move throughout the home. If you’ve found some in your home, Solutions Pest & Lawn has everything you need to get rid of them once and for all.

Contact Us