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What is that Small Brown Beetle?

Posted in Pest Advice on November 07, 2014

Small Brown Beetles? 

We had a query from an Auckland customer:

'I wonder if you are able to help! I have found 30 - 40 of the beetles pictured, on the ceiling in the corridor at home. It’s 4-5 mm long. Do you know what it is and what I should use to get rid of it? I have been to 3 plant shops and 2 hardware shops and none of them was sure what it is.'

Because the customer was able to take a photo and attach it to his enquiry we were able to identify the beetle as a biscuit beetle (also known as drugstore beetle). It looks very similar to other beetles that are commonly found in homes; borer beetle, hide beetle and others. Our advice was:

'These beetles will infest stored products such as biscuits, cereals, grains and other starchy foods. Take a look for holes in packages of such foods. Look for such foods spilled or stored around the home. It is the larvae that eat and damage foods, then pupating before the beetle eats its way out of the package/food leaving the holes you might find.'

  1. If you have found biscuit beetle infesting your pantry or kitchen cupboards it may be necessary to check for and discard all contaminated products. Then remove all foodstuffs and lightly spray the empty pantry or cupboards with NO Bugs Indoor or NO Bugs Super. Leave the cupboard empty for at least 24 hours then wipe down, leave to dry and replace your foodstuffs.
  2. Spray all the cracks and crevices around your home with NO Bugs IndoorNO Bugs Super. NO Bugs Super Bug Bomb will knock down a lot of the insects and can help to penetrate into the nooks and crannies. However the concentration in the treated rooms needs to be maintained at a high level for an extended period to penetrate well, and the source may not be in the treated room/s.

A few hours later the customer replied:

'Thanks, I tracked them down, they like [a well know brand of dog biscuit ed.].'

Because the bugs were in the hall, I didn’t think that they were food-related and was convinced they were borer, MAF had suggested that’s what they were too.

One of the garden shops thought they were carpet beetles but we have new synthetic carpets so I didn’t think that was right. When you said biscuit beetles I went for a search in the cupboards and found the dog biscuits.

I promised to let Heather at Bunnings Mt Wellington know the outcome, she suggested I contact you.

Thanks for your help


Biscuit beetle is one of the groups of pest insects known collectively as stored product insects. These include biscuit beetle, grain beetles, flour beetle, pantry moth, weevils, spider beetle, hide/fur beetle, booklice and others. If you find insects you cannot identify or damage in your dried food, take photos and send them to us, we can help identify them and advise on the best way to get rid of them.

David Brittain

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