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How to Control Grain Borersgrain borer

There are a large variety of insects that like to target our pantry and stored food products and one particularly irritating bug is the Grain borer. These little irritants derive their name from the fact that they like to “bore” or drill into grain and grain products they want to feed on. Grain borers can do a lot of damage to stored food which can be costly to replace.

There are two types of grain borer that are notable: the lesser grain borer and the larger grain borer.  Both of these species look similar and have similar biological traits, the main difference is their size. They have 3 large segments on their antennae and are usually reddish in color. They also have a humped thorax which covers the head and their front has teeth like indentions. Lesser Grain Borers are about 1/8 of an inch long; Larger Grain Borers are about 1/4 of an inch long. Both species enjoy the same types of food they find in homes.

Grain borers may enter the home by being accidently pre-packaged at commercial food packing facilities which they invade to feast on grains. Once in the home they will move around looking for things to eat and places to lay eggs. While they enjoy grains, they aren’t picky with their diet and will eat just about anything, from furniture to fabrics and paper.

If you have grain borers in your home, you have to take action fast or risk significant damage and contamination. At Solutions Pest and Lawn, we carry everything you need to control this pantry pest and also offer free how-to advice so you can confidently conduct DIY pest control.

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How to Get Rid of Grain Borers: 3 Step Solution

Like most other pantry pests, getting rid of grain borers can be a simple task which involves a detailed cleanup of infested areas, laying out traps and spraying chemical pesticides that will kill grain borers and repel them from your home. Check out our easy-to-follow guide below and recommended products and you will be able to eliminate those frustrating grain borers from your home in no time.

Step One: Start by emptying your cabinets of all of your stored food products and look for the source of the grain borer infestation. Once the infestation is found, immediately discard the item in a sealed plastic bag. Also at this point in time, we recommend removing any food item that you don’t intend on eating or is expired. Decluttering your food storage of excess food is an important part of reducing the threat of grain borers or any other pantry pests.

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. We also recommend vacuuming any other part of the house, including closets which you suspect may also have grain borers present and the potential of any eggs they may have laid

Step Three:  Once all your infested food items have been thrown out and areas have been cleaned, it will be time to treat with insecticides. We recommend applying 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, we suggest installing pheromone traps to catch grain borer bugs that are moving around in your home. These pheromone traps contain an attractant that lures grain borer bugs and other pantry pests and are a good tool to monitor future insect activity in your pantry once the population has been eradicated.

Follow these steps as we have laid out and your grain borer problem will be no more. Browse our granary grain borer products below and if you ever have any questions or concerns, we have pest control experts standing by to assist you via email, phone or online live chat.


Learn More About The Grain Borer

As we have mentioned earlier, there are two main species of grain borer known respectively as the lesser grain borer and the larger grain borer. Both types of gain borers, like their name describes, enjoy eating grains and like to burrow or “bore” there way into gain packaging to satisfy their appetites.

The difference between the two is mainly in terms of size and appearance, other than that, they behave essentially the same and cause frustration wherever they are present, be it on harvest farms where grains are being grown or in storage areas.

The boring tendencies of the grain borer can get so bad that often you will find your grains totally hollowed out, with nothing but empty shells left behind. Grain borers have been found in bins of grain, storage bags, boxes of grain in a number of different settings.

Grain borers are a common problem found at food processing areas, which makes it quite common for grain borers to be packaged in your favorite grains and cereals and shipped to your local grocery store where you may grab a box off the shelf without knowing that they are in there. Next thing you know, you’ve brought them home and they will then have a smorgasbord of options in your pantry to move on to next.

The presence of a grain borer should be of great concern to a homeowner and as a result, measures should be taken quickly to control the infestation immediately to prevent the spread of grain borers in the home.

Grain Borers At A Glance

Grain borers are a worldwide problem for both people and agricultural businesses. A close relative of the powder post beetle, grain borers have a wide and varied appetite aside from grains like wheat, corn and oats. Grain borers also like to eat non-food items which contain cellulose such as  books, cardboard boxes, furniture and anything made from wood.

Lesser and larger grain borers resemble one another and share the same behaviors. The main difference between the two species of grain borers is size. Lesser grain borers are about 2-3 mm long while larger grain borers are about double the size ranging between 3 to 4 mm long. No matter if you have lesser borers or grain borers, they both have large appetites and will do a lot of damage to your pantry.

The Grain Borer Life Cycle

Grain borers, much like other pantry pests, start out as an egg, hatch into a larvae, then go to the pupae phase before emerging into an adult grain borer. A female grain borer can lay between a whopping 300 to 500 eggs during her lifespan.  The female grain borer is also a good flyer and because of such, they can travel easily from out the pantry to cause more infestations in other parts of the home.

Once laid out, grain borer eggs hatch in 7 to 14 days and out comes the larvae, the most destructive phase of the life cycle and will immediately look to fill their stomachs and eat whatever is within their reach. Much like their name states, they are borers and will drill themselves into thin plastic or flimsy cardboard to get to the grains they enjoy.

Grain borer larvae will molt or shed their skin a few times during their feasting before transitioning into the pupae phase where they will then become adults. The time it takes for the cycle to occur can vary to as short as 30 days to as long as 60 days.

Due to the grain borer’s ability to multiply quickly, it is imperative to implement control measures to get rid of the grain borer as soon as you discover they are in your pantry.

The Diet Of a Grain Borer

Grain borers are not very picky when it comes to food but they mainly enjoy nuts, wheat products, pasta, rice, cookies, dried fruit, corn, books, cardboard, paper, dried flowers and many other organic materials.

Grain borers will stay wherever there is plenty of food and lay their eggs directly in food items so as soon as the eggs hatch, they will be near a food item to start feasting.

Preliminary Steps To Take For Treating Grain Borers

As we stressed earlier, as soon as you realize that you have a grain borer problem in your home pantry, you must take action. However, this doesn’t mean buying some insecticide and going bonkers spraying all of your food.

Before any control products become involved it is necessary to have a thorough inspection and sanitation to achieve the greatest success in eliminating a grain borer infestation.

Start by empty all your pantry cabinets, shelves and closets where you have seen grain borer activity or where you suspect the may be residing. Any food items which you have found grain borers in must be tossed away in tightly sealed plastic bags. This will help to contain the grain borers until the garbage man arrives to make a pickup.

If you are uncertain about whether a food product has grain borers in it, stow it away in a plastic bag and monitor it every few days to see if any grain borers are crawling around in it. If the item indeed has grain borers in it, at some point they will attempt to escape the encasement you’ve put them in and will be visibly seen.

If this occurs, discard the infested food item immediately. If you don’t see any grain borers after at least 2 months, then you can safely assume it is grain borer free.

As with any other pantry pest problem, we recommend as a time saving measure to toss away all the cardboard boxed products in your pantry. We understand that you may not want to do that since it’d be a waste of food but otherwise you would have to open up and inspect EVERY item for the grain borer activity which can be time-consuming.


Vacuuming Grain Borers In Your Pantry

Once your pantry has been emptied out and all the suspected items have been tossed, you can then move onto sanitation. This includes both vacuuming and utilizing cleaning products to suck up and wipe down your pantry. Using a hand vacuum or attachment on your normal vacuum, vacuum all closets, shelves and baseboards. This helps by eliminating microscopic eggs which you won’t be able to see.

Grain borers essentially lay eggs with an adhesive that is like glue which sticks and secures the egg where they wish for it to be. Because of this, wiping or vacuuming along won’t alone eliminate all the grain borer eggs but will at least get some of them.

Grain Borer Treatment Options

Once you’ve done a thorough cleanup of your pantry, you can then move on to using control products.

The product we highly recommend to use for getting rid of grain borers is  Novacide Flea & Tick Killer. Novacide comes with a special straw applicator which makes it easier to treat cracks and crevices where both adult grain borers and larvae like to hide.

Make sure to treat all your pantry cabinets– not just where you suspect they are hiding.Grain borers are tiny and move quickly to hiding places when they are disturbed, especially during control treatment so just make sure you get good coverage over all the hot spots.

Best Insecticide for Grain Borer Control

While the pantry and kitchen cabinets will do just fine with applying an aerosol spray like Novacide, there may be other parts of the home which may need treatment to if the grain borers have traveled there.

Grain borer sightings have been found in laundry areas, garages, basements and other areas where items like pet food and bird seed may be stored. However, using an aerosol in these spaces may not be such a good idea.

For other parts of your home we recommend spraying Reclaim IT Insecticide. Reclaim IT is an insecticide concentrate that has little to no odor and can be easily mixed with water and sprayed on carpeting, baseboards and other areas where lesser grain borers might be hiding.

Mix .5 to 1 oz of Reclaim per gallon of water and apply the mixture over 800 sq/ft of area. Apply this product at least once a month until you no longer see any grain borers. The great thing about Reclaim is that it can also ward off at least 70 other problematic insects.

Apply the product to baseboards, moldings and floor joists (if visible – especially in crawl spaces or basements). Another place to not forget to treat is your attic as they may have reached this area. Grain borers are known to thrive in attic areas.

Traps for Grain Borer Control

After applying insecticide treatment to your pantry and the rest of your home we recommend placing some pantry pest traps to capture any lingering grain borers such as Pro-Pest Pantry Moth & Beetle Traps. While they are labeled for pantry moths and beetles, they can also work against grain borers.

These traps are excellent because they contain pheromones or sex attractants to lure unsuspecting adult grain borers to the trap. Once borers crawl or fly toward the trap, they’ll get captured on the glue trap with no way to escape.

Set these traps in the back of your pantry since grain borers like to hide in secluded areas where there isn’t much light. These grain borer pheromone traps will remain active for 2-3 months and should be replaced after 3 months; they also made need to be replaced sooner if they become full with captured grain borers.

Be sure to keep the traps fresh so they’re working at their optimum intended level and you’ll get the most success in these grain borer traps trapping adult grain borers and putting a stop to their reproduction. By being diligent in working all of the following steps, grain borers will no longer be a problem in your pantry or household.

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