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Pest Control - Biscuit beetles

Note: Adur & Worthing Councils do not offer a service to deal with biscuit beetles, this page is to offer advice and information only. Please see our pest control homepage for how to request a pest control service.

What are biscuit beetles?

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.

Occasionally biscuit beetles are found in domestic kitchens where thankfully they are often only mild infestations and can usually be swiftly eradicated.

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What do they look like?

They 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 they are often mistaken.

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Do they only eat biscuits as their name suggests?

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.

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How are infestations removed?

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 be an 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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