Cabinet Beetles are a small round beetle which will prosper in pantries, closets and cabinets where wheat grain, cereal and other food is stored. Easily mistaken for other small beetles, this persistent pantry pest was first discovered in the United States sometime around the second world war. Though found to infest cabinets and food processing plants, Cabinet beetles can infest any structure which harbors the food they like. This article will detail some basic biology of this pest and then offer guidelines of how to control local infestations.

Cabinet Beetles were first found in United States back in 1946. However, they had probably been here long before then; they most likely were misidentified over the years since only a trained eye can tell one from all the close look-a-likes which are common throughout the States. During the 50’s and 60’s, a great amount of research would be done which has had a profound impact on how the insect is controlled in commercial establishments.


Cabinet beetles are a small beetle. About 1/8″ long, they appear to be oval shaped with a dark colored pattern upon their back. These colors can include yellow and brown and many shades thereof which are present on their wings – the bulk of what you see. Larva will feed on just about anything though they prefer wheat, barley or rice. Other common food includes dried blood, milk, pollen and dead insects. Larva begin to feed as soon as they find food and will do so for about a month. They will then pupate into adults, which takes another couple of weeks and then spend a week or so as an adult mating and laying eggs. Though this whole cycle can take about two months to run it’s course, it’s not unusual for it to take 3-4 months. The exact time span seems to be dependent on food supply, humidity and temperature. One thing is for sure, they are very hardy as either larva or adults. Extreme temperatures won’t kill off eggs or pupa and larva can go long periods of time without eating. For this reason alone they can present themselves as a formidable foe when dealing with them in either a commercial or residential setting.


Cabinets or grain processing plants which have activity will have to monitor hot points and identify just where the beetle is most active. Once identified, treatments will have to be regular and become part of their overall active integrated pest control program. Without monitoring, Cabinet beetles will soon multiply and become wide spread throughout the structure. Residential homes which have activity are not faced with nearly the amount of treatment needed or potential for large infestations like processing or storage buildings. Most homes have enough food to harbor a small breakout but not nearly enough to allow the beetle to get out of control. It appears as though the Cabinet Beetle has built in controls to deal with this since it will reproduce much slower if food supplies are limited; cabinet and processing plants which have large amounts of grain readily available tend to have quick breakouts and a tougher time overall dealing with increasing numbers. Though this could be due to their sheer size, the abundance of food and shelter clearly enables and seems to enhance the reproduction and relocating of adult and young Cabinet beetles. In the average home, infestations are almost always limited to a few rooms.


The most common place for Cabinet Beetle activity in the home will be in the pantry, the garage and the laundry room. Basements are a close third and any room which is used to shelter or feed pets is always a risk. Since adults like to lay eggs where hatching larva will thrive, they tend to stay close to where they emerge from their pupa cocoons. For this reason alone it is important that control efforts are focused and contaminated food is removed. Here is what must be done when dealing with an active infestation.


First, be sure you have Cabinet Beetles. Find out by setting out some of our traps. We have three types – two for use inside homes and one for use outside. The inside traps come in two forms: the HANGING CABINET BEETLE TRAPS which should be used when populations are active by flying around and the SURFACE CABINET BEETLE TRAP which should be used when beetle activity has been found in cabinets. Both use strong Sexual Pheromones to attract the adults who have nothing but reproduction on their mind. The hanging traps use glue to capture and hold targeted beetles; the cabinet surface traps use a thick gooey oil which holds beetles in a small tray. Since Cabinet Beetles will thrive in areas with large Pecan, Walnut, Acorn and other nut trees, we also have the OUTSIDE HANDING CABINET BEETLE TRAP. Set some of these outside to see if you have beetle activity outside the home. It is not uncommon for these beetles to thrive outside only to find their way into local homes. Such activity does not mean you have an infestation inside but foraging adults entering the home could present a problem if left alone. Install Outside Traps to attract and catch adults before they get inside. This method of control will keep them out of the home thus preventing egg laying and local outbreaks.


Secondly, if activity has been noted in the home whether in the pantry, garage or some other area, you will need to start some localized treatments as well as setting some traps out for immediate reduction of the reproducing adults. Try to identify just which rooms have activity. If it’s the pantry, try to discard any food item suspected of harboring larva or adults.

If you are unsure whether beetles are present in any one item, you can store it in a plastic bag so that the contents can be examined next time you want to use that product. If beetles are then found in the future, you know it’s bad and should be thrown away. If no beetles are found after 2 months, you can use it with peace of mind there are no bugs buried inside. The plastic bag will serve you by containing any emerging adults thus preventing them from laying eggs elsewhere. Be sure to go through all items in the cabinets and pantry leaving no area ignored. The best approach is to remove everything setting items on the counter or kitchen table. Anything you find contaminated, throw away.


Once the cabinets are empty, treat with DFORCE AEROSOL being sure to get all cracks and crevices where adults like to lay eggs. Once treated, let surfaces dry, which usually takes less than an hour and once dry, put everything back away that you intend on keeping. Remember, any questionable food items should be stored in plastic bags as described above. The Dforce is a flushing agent and a contact killer so you’ll get fast control of any beetles nesting where applied. They’ll be flushed out and die on contacting the Dforce so if you’re thorough, you can knock out most all of the problem with a good treatment.

Upon placing everything back into the cabinets, be sure to set out some traps which will serve to capture hatching adults. The traps will help kill off the cycle by capturing adults before they are able to mate and lay eggs. A good treatment and proper trap placement can usually break any cycle within a month and you can apply the Dforce as needed if you see any reason to think there could have been an area you missed. And it’s always suggested that you keep Cabinet Beetle Traps fresh by changing them out every three months. This insures you will have a strong pheromone around should any new adults find their way back inside.


Thirdly, if you are finding adults throughout the whole house and are not sure just where to start treating, use some PERMETHRIN applied in one of our PUMP SPRAYERS. This product has no odor, is easy to mix and spray and will knock down any larva quickly. Treat all baseboards throughout the living area of the home and be sure to spray high in unfinished basements and garage areas where eggs will assuredly be laid. Permethrin will last 2-4 weeks and provide a residual so that emerging larva will die off instead of seeking food on which to feed. Remember, pet food, grass seed, bird seed and other not food stuff not for human consumption may all serve to feed any population of Cabinet Beetles so it is imperative to address all areas where any such items may be stored.

Once you have identified key areas to treat, Cabinet beetle control will be easy to achieve by setting out Traps and treating with Dforce Aerosol. If you have activity throughout the whole house, apply Permethrin to any room by spraying it along baseboards and treat with the aerosol in cracks and crevices like molding, windows and doors. Combining the traps and the treatment will help to break the Cabinet Beetle cycle so you can effectively kill off local populations and help to prevent future outbreaks.



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