Sawtoothed Grain Beetle and Merchant Grain Beetle
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Sawtoothed beetles and merchant grain beetles are two of the most commonly detected insects in processed grain, oats, pet foods and seeds. The sawtoothed grain beetle and merchant grain beetle are considered major pests of stored food products both in homes as well as in commercial plants.
Sawtoothed Grain Beetles and Merchant Grain Beetle Appearance
These two species of grain beetle are nearly identical. Both the sawtoothed grain beetle and the merchant grain beetle are thin and flat. They are brown in color, about a tenth of an inch long and have 6 small sawtoothed-shaped projections on their heads, which can only be seen using a magnifying glass. It is these sawtoothed-shaped projections that give the sawtooth beetle its name. The merchant grain beetle has bigger eyes than the sawtoothed grain beetle, and a smaller area directly behind the eyes. The most obvious difference between the two species of grain beetle is, however, that the sawtoothed grain beetle does not fly while merchant grain beetles are able to fly.
Sawtoothed Grain Beetles and Merchant Grain Beetle Behavior
Merchant grain beetles will eat any foods that are vegetable in origin. Their main food source is broken grain kernels, however, if they are able to penetrate whole grain kernels, they will eat those too. Sawtoothed grain beetles feed on grains and grain products as well as chocolate, drugs and tobacco.
Why Are Grain Beetles Considered Destructive Pests?
During their adult lifespan, sawtoothed grain beetle females can lay up to 285 eggs, while merchant grain beetle females can lay between 500 to 1000 eggs, a time period that can last between 6 to 10 months. Grain beetles lay their eggs directly in the food they infest, so not only are they prolific breeders producing large numbers of beetles quickly, they infest and destroy any food stores they come across. The act of feeding on grain results in an increase in water content in the stored grain product due to the metabolic activity of the beetles. This can result not only in shrinkage of the grain product, but also in mold growth. Both of these activities can make large amounts of grain unfit for use.
If you come across sawtoothed grain beetles or merchant beetles in your home, immediately identify any infested food and dispose of it. If you are concerned about grain beetles in your home, contact a trained and knowledgeable pest control specialist in your area.
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