This is one of the more serious food industry pests due to it's widespread occurrence, it's flight/dispersal capability and it's ability to breach most forms of packaging. It is common in small storerooms and domestic larders, often producing spectacular infestations in old stock packets of breakfast foods and biscuits etc. Frequently these infestations die out as available food diminishes and fugal developments in the packets take over. |
The biscuit beetle is a stored product pest that is found throughout the world and is very common in the UK. They are usually to be found in food storage areas and retailing premises where their presence can be very costly, both in product wastage and damaged reputation
Biscuit beetle are mid-dark brown beetles with a matt appearance. The adult beetle is a maximum length of 3mm, they are similar in appearance to common furniture/woodworm beetle for which the yare often mistaken.
Although they will eat all kinds of biscuits (including those belonging to your pets) they will infest a wide variety of foods including cereal products, powdered soup, milk powder etc. The female beetle will lay her eggs amongst foodstuff that is suitable for larval development, when these eggs hatch the newly emerged larvae will chew their way through most types of packaging materials to feed on the contents within. It is the larvae that do the damage, because the adult beetles do not feed, however they do fly and this is how infestations in commercial food storage areas can easily become widespread in a very short time. Depending on temperature the larvae will pupate inside cocoons; often within the food material in about two months, ready willing and able to lay more eggs. Their emergence will leave tiny holes that resemble woodworm exit holes
The first course of action will be to trace the source of the infestation; this will require a detailed inspection and in a domestic situation disposal of all infested goods. Followed by deep cleaning of the affected area to remove all food residues and all eggs, larvae and adult beetles, disposing of vacuum cleaner bag in dustbin. Fortunately a deep seated and widespread infestation in the average domestic kitchen is rare and will often die out with the removal of the larval food source, however if the problem persists then a thorough residual spray treatment should be carried out by a qualified pest controller. In commercial premises where disposal may not be practicable, fumigation of the infested foodstuff may bean alternative and should be carried out by a specialist fumigation. company. All commercial food premises should have a pest control contract and ensure that they are receiving regular inspections, treatments and reports.
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