Sawtooth Grain Beetles - questions

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Old 03-16-19, 06:20 AM
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Angry Sawtooth Grain Beetles - questions

Hi... so, several weeks ago (10-12 maybe) we encountered an 'invasion' of saw-tooth grain beetles in our pantry. We removed everything, thoroughly went through all the items and disposed of anything that was or could potentially be contaminated, included items with paper wrappers, cardboard boxes, etc.

We did not, and have not yet put anything back in the pantry because of course, originally, more beetles came from the baseboards, day after day, which I would expect. But, they just kept coming out, albeit in smaller and smaller numbers and still trickle out. (more below)

First I sprayed with a standard household roach killer, which killed the visible ones, but then more kept coming. (I'm sure it's just the life cycle working through.) Maybe some were killed by residual pesticide. Eventually, I moved on to DForce deltamethrin. It seems to work well as all but one that I have seen since starting to use that 5-6 weeks ago, are dead upon inspection. I have used the DForce a couple times, assuming it has residual staying power for a couple weeks at least.

To be clear, the numbers continued to dwindle over the weeks until now it's just one or two every few days.

Note, we have pecans stored in the other side of the garage that my wife cracks to feed birds. She once found (3-4 weeks ago?) one that was cracked and had the beetles in it. But has not found any since.

There is another pantry a few feet away that never had any true grains, sugars or oft used foods, mainly a lot of tea bags, and packaged dry foods i.e., spaghetti, rice, etc.. We found a few beetles in that pantry, very few compared to the other, but apparently a couple showed up this morning and one was still alive. I had also sprayed the boards of this pantry with the DForce.


So... we are CONFOUNDED that we still see one or two every few days and are wondering when in the world this will ever stop on its own, or do we need more thorough and extensive spraying by me or possibly a professional? If professionally, is there something 'more organic, less chemical' that could be used, and if so, can I get my hands on it?

I guess that's it for now. Any suggestions to help put an end to this madness will make us very happy, especially my wife! She wants her pantries back!

Thanks!
 
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Old 03-16-19, 07:16 AM
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Our bug pro will give you better advice but FWIW, we had a similar bug once and it does take a while till they're all gone. From my experience, sprays did not work. If we saw any flying, we'd kill them with our hands and if we saw any larvae (or whatever they're called) on shelves, we scraped them off and crushed them. Not until they were all definitely gone, did we put anything back. I pretty much threw everything out, whether there were bugs in it or not, and bought all new stuff.
Also, I have to say, pecans definitely need to be refrigerated. All nuts should be, but particularly pecans. They go rancid real fast and no wonder the bugs starting sprouting.
 
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Old 03-16-19, 07:23 AM
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Stored product pests can be tough. It sounds like there were primary and secondary infestations, meaning that it is/was a long term problem before discovery. Assuming that proper ID has been made. Do you see the larvae stage which is a small, cream colored worm? The larvaw will leave the food source to gestate; that may be why you see them coming from baseboards.

You did well with what you've done. Yes, the gestation period is long for stored product pests. It is a good sign that the population is lessening but there may still be a small secondary infestation somewhere. Consider looking in unusualy areas now that you've done the common stuff.

Besides grain, sawtooth grain beetles attack many food products. Because the adults are very small, they can squeeze into packages that appear to be sealed. They will readily infest cereal, flour, candy, pet food, and pasta. Also check any old rodent bait that may have been placed, especially if a drop ceiling is present. Dry pet foods are big culprits for stored product pests.

I've known of them to chew through foil packets that were still factory sealed which can fool us as sometimes we think that factory-sealed means we don't have to throw it away. Be generous about throwing items away; it's hard I know, I'm a cheap guy at heart...

One area that gets overlooked when cleaning are the tracks, holes, brackets, etc that hole the shelves up. Maybe your pantries are different though. Otherwise, use a c&c tool for the shelf tracks and treat into them with aerosol.

Keep us posted.
 
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Old 03-16-19, 11:17 AM
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Thanks PABugman... good stuff. The shelves are all wood but doesn't mean no cracks. Originally, they were up on some of the shelves but nothing for a few weeks.. We are reluctant to spray the shelves themselves, for obvious reasons. We were pretty generous on throwing stuff away. Probably time to thoroughly examine everything, which has been stored on a table in adjoining room although, no bugs seen on the white table since we put the stuff there. As for larvae, wow, wouldn't know how to see that on the light tile flooring. Haven't seen anything that made me think it was larvae. I guess we'll keep biding our time and once we don't see anything for 3-4 weeks, maybe we are good, eh?
 
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Old 03-16-19, 02:59 PM
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That should be plenty of time, maybe more than enough. The larvae, if they are present, would be seen on walls, ceiling/wall junction, inside pantry corners, etc. so you would have seen them. Good sign that you havent.

Thorough exam is a good thing to do. I'd consider putting things back as you determine that they are clear, but be discriminating.

For any stored product pests, we didn't spray/treat as sanitation and inventory control are paramount. That alone will solve the problem. Just make sure you've exhausted all possibilities. Check adjoining rooms, attached garage to that room (if applicable), etc.
 
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Old 03-17-19, 07:04 AM
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Thanks again. Yes, I sprayed along the bottom of the garage wall adjacent to the pantry but will also spray in the adjoining room, where all the food happens to be, albeit a few feet away from the wall, which now sounds risky. :-) Maybe when we get back from a 2.5 week trip we are taking soon we will be good to start putting things back in.

I appreciate all the responses.
 
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