Grain Bugs


In a residential setting, we suggest you try to prevent an infestation of grain insects by practicing good sanitation. But if a problem develops, more often than not the source of the infestation is either a product tucked away in the back of a cabinet or dry pet food or bird seed. If you do get an infestation, throw away all infested food. Vacuum the empty shelves to remove any insects and food particles and store new food products in tightly sealed glass or plastic containers.

Even with the most diligent effort, you may not eliminate each and every one of these insects. This will require professional assistance. Braman will send one of our highly trained technicians to your home or commercial property to do a thorough inspection for grain bugs and then make a precisely targeted application of insecticide and insect growth regulator. Pheromone traps will be placed to ensure that all of the insects are gone. It is extremely important to have Braman’s experts manage your grain insect problem because incomplete treatment will allow survivors to re-infest your home.

In a warehouse, bakery or other commercial setting, a pheromone trapping program will enhance sanitation efforts similar to those used in the residential setting. If a problem is discovered, a careful product inspection can help identify the specific offending product, which can then be removed. Eliminating the problem may include some or all of the following: pheromone trapping, disposal of infested product, insecticide and insect growth regulator applications, fumigation or heat remediation. Braman has the expertise and equipment to implement any of these methods with the exception of fumigation, for which we employ a subcontractor.

Grain bugs can be very difficult to eradicate without professional help. If you suspect that you have a pantry pest problem contact us right away. A good result is guaranteed.

Grain Bugs Overview

Grain insects, generally fall into 2 categories; grain beetles and meal moths. Among the most common are the saw-toothed grain beetle, the drugstore beetle, the cigarette beetle, the Indian meal moth and the Mediterranean meal moth. We will discuss these pests in generalities, because discovery and strategies for elimination have many more similarities than differences.

Grain bugs lay their eggs in or on grain products. Some prefer ground up grains such as flour, while others will lay their eggs in the cracks of grain kernels. When the eggs hatch, the larvae feed and grow. When the larvae are ready to pupate, they spin a cocoon. In warm, humid conditions, the entire life cycle, from egg to mature adult, takes about two months. There can be several generations per year.

Where are they found?

Another name for this category of insects is “stored product pests” or “pantry pests” because that is where they are found in homes and commercial facilities. Grain bugs can penetrate packaging and will infest a wide range of edible materials, including flour, cereals, nuts and spices, as well as many nonfood products, such as books and manuscripts, fur, leather and horn.

How are they harmful?

Grain bugs do not bite and generally pose no serious health threat to humans. However, their presence is distasteful to most people and they cause food spoilage. In a commercial environment the problem is even more serious because their presence may result in failed food safety inspections or the loss of customer good will. They also cause damage to budgets, due to treatment, product disposal, and replacement.

What are some signs of grain insects?

In the home, grain bugs are generally discovered in one of four ways; insects crawling around inside food packages or on pantry shelves, webbing or cocoons in food packages, small holes in packaging or small moths flying in a staggered zigzag pattern around the kitchen or pantry and sometimes in other rooms. In a commercial setting they may be found in the same manner or in a pheromone trap that has been deployed for the purpose of detecting their presence.