So, every now and then, I noticed tiny beetles in my kitchen. I thought nothing of it and continued my cooking. Only over the weeks when I saw more and more did I begin to realise it was a problem. On closer inspection of my cupboards I realised I was infested.
What is a Flour Beetle?
They are sometimes named ‘bran bugs’ and are small, brown beetles. They are around 3mm long and can fly. They can fit through very small holes, live in almost invisible crevices and are able to chew through plastic and paper. The beetles like to eat the dockage, fines and grain dust from wheat, flour and other grain products.
Flour beetles will mate and lay their eggs in the food that they are contaminating. The female can lay up to 450 eggs and will lay them on broken kernels or other loose food materials. They cannot bite or sting or cause any harm to humans or pets, they are just a nuisance.
How do I get rid of them?
Take everything out of your cupboards. Look closely at the following:
- Soya mince
- Malted drink
- Pearl barley
- Herbs and spices
If any have tiny holes in, but you can’t see any beetles be ruthless and throw the food away. It’s not worth getting re-infested. Another sign that a flour beetle has got to your food is being able to see a fine dust at the bottom of the packet – this usually indicates infestation. Any other food that you think the bugs may like put it in the freezer for a few days to kill any potential eggs
Once you’ve identified the food that needs to go in the trash, completely empty all your cupboards use a hoover to suck all the live and dead bugs up and then bleach all sides of your cupboard. Be extra careful to hoover and bleach any crevices and gaps they could be hiding in.
Look in foodstuffs you don’t expect them to be in – but just in case. I got a bit of a nasty shock when I took a look in my malted drink container:
Examine your plates, cups etc. before you return them to the cupboards to see if there are any bugs on these. Repeat this with all your kitchen cupboards and sideboards and anywhere else you think those beetles could be.
This should be enough to get rid of them – it’s worth keeping an eye out on all your food to make sure the infestation doesn’t occur again. Look carefully for any signs on your foods and grain and repeat the above measures if you have any suspicions.
How do I prevent them?
I’ve always been told to keep my food in sealed containers but I always assumed this was to keep it fresh and seeing as pasta and flour doesn’t’ go bad I never bothered with sealed plastic or glass containers. Well – I’ve learned my lesson.
Keep all food in sealed containers – even if it’s not opened. So as soon as it’s brought home from the store, store the food safely. Remember, those horrid little critters can eat their way through the bag.