By BJ Jarvis
Pasco Extension Director and Horticulture Agent
Normally gardeners try to determine what is chomping on our precious petunias, but occasionally bugs make it inside the house. In this column and the next, we’ll look at two of the most common insects found in the region’s homes and what to do about them.
One of the most common insects spotted in the house is a tiny, brown beetle. Typically they will be found in the kitchen as their favorite foods are grain-based. These little critters set up shop in a stray bag of crackers or cereal that isn’t closed well. Often these containers have fallen to the back of the closet. The open, untouched bag is an open invitation.
It is called the drugstore beetle because these little critters also were known to eat cough drops and prescription drugs before we put drugs in hard-to-open plastic containers. But most Extension visitors find them in flour or dry mixes. Families that store large quantities of dog food or even birdseed may find them lurking.
Control is relatively simple. Chemical methods should be used as a last resort in the kitchen. Instead, start by eliminating their food source by combing the pantry and cabinets for little used grain-based materials. Drugstore beetles usually are at a high population in a bag before they wander out to find a new location.
Discard this ruined food source in a sealed bag or take the buggy food to the outdoor garbage can. Future foods should be kept tightly sealed with chip clips or placed in sealable containers to assure that there is no further source of food for these ravenous beetles.
Occasionally these beetles may show up in the bathroom or even the home office, as they are scavenging for new food sources. Wherever they are found, resist the urge to spray pesticides. Instead, use this opportunity to do a little spring cleaning of the cabinets and pantry.
My next article will focus on another common indoor pest — pesky gnat.
—BJ Jarvis is Director and Horticulturist for Pasco Cooperative Extension, a partnership between the University of Florida, USDA and county government. Questions can be answered at or by phone at (352) 518-0156.