Facts about biscuit beetles
- Biscuit beetles like to eat cereal products, flour, bread, nuts and spices, biscuits, packet soups and drinks, dog biscuits and chews, dried meat, dried vegetables, pasta, rice.
- They can enter packages that are not tightly closed and can easily get through plastic bags, foil and cardboard.
- They are not dangerous.
The lifecycle of a biscuit beetle
Females will lay eggs either in food or in crevices near to it. The eggs hatch into larvae, which wander around and crawl into tiny spaces to reach food. They can survive without food for up to 8 days. The larvae pupate in cocoons, often within the food, for 1 or 2 weeks and then hatch in to adults. The adults bore their way through food or packaging to emerge, making holes that can look like woodworm.
Adult beetles do not eat, instead they wander about for 3 - 4 weeks during which time they will breed and lay more eggs. They will often wander or fly far from the original site, and may be found on work surfaces and other locations around the room. They may sometimes be found on window, where they are attracted by light.
How can you identify a biscuit beetle?
- See picture of biscuit beetle shown at top of this factsheet.
- Reddish brown in colour, 2mm - 3mm long and able to fly.
- They are relatives of the woodworm beetle and may sometimes be mistaken for woodworm due to their similar appearance.
Prevention and treatment
- If you think food may be infested it is best to throw it out.
- Seal food in plastic containers or screw top jar (tightly closed) and leave it for about four months. If there is no sign of the beetle within this time, it is probably not infested.
- Empty and clean all cupboards and surfaces, paying particular attention to cracks and crevices.
- Spray with an insecticide for use with crawling insects, making sure you reach corners. Make sure the insecticide is approved for use in food rooms (the label should state this).
- Put items such as flour, rice or biscuits in to sealed containers.
- If beetles are in other rooms, it is likely that they are travelling from a nearby bird's nest. Check the loft space and chimney area to make sure there are no old bird's nests. If there are, remove and dispose of them and spray with insecticide as before.
- Always read the label of an insecticide before you buy it and follow the safety precautions during use.
Service the council provides
We offer a free identification service. You will need to catch the insect, seal it securely in a clear plastic container labelled with your name, address and phone number.
You should then take it to: Environmental Health, Civic Centre, Darwall Street, Walsall, WS1 1TP.
Our qualified pest officers will identify it and let you know what it is.
How to contact us
If you would like further advice or need to make a pest control appointment please contact us:
First Stop Shop
If you need help treating a biscuit beetle infestation or have any further questions, contact us on 01922 653366.
For further information please view our biscuit beetle factsheet (PDF 67KB).
This page was last updated on 14 November 2014