How To Get Rid Of Drugstore Beetles

Bugs are a common nuisance throughout the United States and the world. No matter where you turn there is no escape from these pesky pests.

Bugs that find their way into our goods and foods are even worse to deal with! And this is where the drugstore beetle comes in. Have you ever heard of this oddly-named insect?

Drugstore beetles are small pests that are notorious for their ravenous appetite. They can find their way into nearly any unsealed food product and can cause hundreds upon hundreds of dollars of food waste each year in American households.

Are you wondering how to get rid of drugstore beetles? Then you’ve come to the right place. Join us today as we learn more about drugstore beetles, what they are, and how to get rid of them for good.

What Are Drugstore Beetles?

1 a drugstore beetle drawing
Drugstore beetles are some of the most common goods-invading pests in the United States.

Drugstore beetles are small beetles common in the United States and many regions throughout the world. These pests are considered some of the most abhorrent goods-invading insects in the United States.

They infiltrate food products and have an insatiable appetite for foods like flour, bread, ground spices, pet food, cereal, grains, leather, hair, herbs, other dead insects, and even prescription drugs. In fact, their affinity for prescription drugs is precisely how drugstore beetles received their unique nickname.

Scientifically known as Stegobium paniceum, the drugstore beetle is one of two species of anobiids known to target products stored primarily for human consumption or use.

Though drugstore beetles are a problem for people throughout the world, they are more common in warmer regions. Because they prefer the warmth, they are commonly attracted to heated buildings, which will often drive them into warehouses, homes, and offices.

Full-grown, drugstore beetles are about 1.25 to 3.3 millimeters in length and are brownish or red in color.

Adult drugstore beetles are capable of laying up to 75 eggs at a time, and females often choose to lay their eggs in food or other organic matter that their larvae will be able to feast on once they hatch.

It is during the larval stage when drugstore beetles are most destructive. These pests hatch and feed on the food source around them for up to twenty weeks. Once drugstore beetle larvae are ready to pupate, they tunnel through the food source and create a cocoon. After between 12 and 18 days, drugstore beetles emerge as adult beetles and the cycle can begin again.

While destructive, drugstore beetles have a relatively short life cycle. Adults live between 13 and 65 days, but their entire life cycle from birth to death is only about two months at most.

Still, in that time these pests can procreate rapidly and infest entire pantries or store shelves.

Drugstore beetles are not dangerous, but their habit of infesting our foods makes them quite a nuisance. Many people find drugstore beetles repulsive, and their adversity towards drugstore beetles can lead to hundreds upon hundreds of dollars in food waste each year.

Worse yet, preventing drugstore beetles can be tricky, especially because these elusive pests find their way into our homes in the most sneaky of ways.

Keep reading to learn more.

Why Do I Have Drugstore Beetles?

2 drugstore beetles in chili spice
These pests have an insatiable appetite and will eat nearly anything.

If you have discovered drugstore beetles in your pantry, you’re likely scratching your head and questioning how they got there.

This is an important question to ask, especially if you’re goal is to get rid of these nasty pests.

Drugstore Beetles will “eat anything but a cast-iron skillet”. This combined with the fact that drugstore beetles are attracted to heat could be one of the reasons you have them in the first place.

It’s easy for drugstore beetles to get into your home. These pests are small and can easily slip in through vulnerabilities in your home’s siding, between cracks and crevices, or through gaps in doorways or windows.

However, the most likely way drugstore beetles have found their way into your home is via transfer from already infested products.

This means that you likely purchased something at your local grocery store that had already been infested by drugstore beetles.

Infestation can begin at the warehouse where foods are processed or packaged, and they can quickly spread to any foods that are not properly stored or sealed. Yikes!

How To Get Rid Of Drugstore Beetles – A Step-By-Step Guide

3 a drug store beetle in cardboard
Because they commonly come home with you in stored goods, drugstore beetles can be tricky to get rid of.

Unfortunately, accidentally inviting drugstore beetles into your home can be easy. The good news is that you can help stop the spread of these pests by ensuring you take proactive measures.

If drugstore beetles are already in your home, you can remove them and protect future products by following the below steps.

First, Throw Out All Improperly Stored Products

If you do have drugstore beetles in your pantry, the best way to get rid of them for certain is to toss out all products that have not been stored in airtight containers. This includes pantry foods like bread, grains, flour, chips, cereal, popcorn, etc.

Next, Clean, Clean, Clean!

Even once you’ve thrown out any infested or potentially infested pantry foods, it’s still important to clean your cabinets thoroughly to ensure you get any eggs, larvae, or beetles you might have missed.

You can use a variety of products to clean your pantry to get rid of drugstore beetles, but if you prefer to use natural methods we recommend using the following recipe for a vinegar-based cleaner that is family and pet safe.


  • 1/4th Cup of Vinegar
  • 1/4th Cups of Hot Water
  • 1/4th Cup of Vodka
  • 1 Spray Bottle
  • 5 Drops of Your Favorite Essential Oils (Optional)


Combine the above ingredients in the spray bottle and add a few drops of your favorite essential oil for a smell. For extra bug-repellent power, we recommend using peppermint oil.

Spray this solution in cabinets and allow it to sit for about five minutes. Then wipe the counters down using a clean towel.

Invest In A Pest Control Spray To Remove Drugstore Beetles You Might Miss

For extra protection, you can invest in pest control sprays to kill any potential drugstore beetles you may have missed. We will list a few quality pest control sprays we recommend when it comes to how to get rid of drugstore beetles in kitchens and pantries.

Store Pantry Foods Properly

Once your pantry is thoroughly clean, it’s time to replace the foods you had to toss. Before you put pantry foods back into the pantry, it’s important to make sure they are properly stored. We recommend using products that are made of either glass or thick plastic and that seal with an airtight lid.

Invest In A Pest Control Repellent For Prevention

Now that you’ve managed to get rid of drugstore beetles and protect your foods, it’s time to ensure these pests don’t get out of control again.

Because there is a chance you could accidentally purchase another infested food item from your store, the best way to prevent drug store beetle is to use the airtight storage method we listed above as well as to invest in a quality pest control product that works year-round to rid your home of common pests.

The below video talks more in detail about how to get rid of drugstore beetles.

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If you’re not sure which products would be best for you and your home when it comes to how to get rid of drugstore beetles, don’t worry. We have you covered with a list of our favorite products below.

Keep reading.

Best Products For How To Get Rid Of Drugstore Beetles

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Drugstore beetles not only eat food, but also have an appetite for prescription drugs.

Getting rid of drugstore beetles takes a combination of elbow grease and quality products. Some of the best products for how to get rid of drugstore beetles are natural and made with essential oils or other ingredients that are perfectly safe to use in kitchens.

Other products are made of chemical ingredients that require more careful use. While both natural and chemical insecticides can be effective, there are pros and cons to using either. The type of product you use to get rid of drugstore beetles in your home will depend on your unique situation and the types of products you prefer using.

Insecto Diatomaceous Earth Food Grade Insect Killer

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If you’re struggling with drugstore beetles in your kitchen cupboards and pantry, it can be difficult to find a product that is safe that you can use to help get rid of them.

Enter Diatomaceous Earth. Also known as DE, Diatomaceous Earth is an all-natural, perfectly safe powder derived from fossilized algae. It is safe to use in homes with children and pets, and it is also safe for the environment and is even used in dietary recipes and consumed.

This product works by penetrating the exoskeleton of waxy insects like the drugstore beetle, which effectively dehydrates and kills them.

Diatomaceous Earth works best when dry, but this shouldn’t be a problem when using it in cabinets or pantries. For the best results, sprinkle this product around your pantry and anywhere you have noticed drugstore beetle activity.

In order to for it to work, drugstore beetles must walk through this powder. You can leave it down for as long as you need to, and easily vacuum it up once done.

Diatomaceous Earth works not only for drugstore beetles but also for a wide variety of other pests including roaches, bed bugs, spiders, and ants.

Eco Defense USDA Biobased Pest Control

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Eco Defense Biobased Pest Control Spray is an all-natural and organic pest control spray that you can use along with other methods for how to get rid of drugstore beetles. The spray works using plant-based ingredients and is safe to use inside your kitchen, in bedrooms, bathrooms, and anywhere else in your home.

The product is certified organic and natural, and it is effective against a number of pests including drugstore beetles, roaches, moths, ants, and more.

Wondercide Pest Control Spray

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Wondercide Pest Control Spray can be used indoors and out and is safe to use in homes with children and pets. Best of all, there is no spray and wait time with this product. You can spray it directly in kitchens and in pantries and it works to kill pests on contact using a combination of natural ingredients and essential oils.

You can purchase Wondercide Indoor Pest Control Spray in lemongrass, rosemary, peppermint, or lavender scents, and this product works to repel spiders, roaches, ants, beetles, fleas, and a number of other pantry and kitchen pests you may be content with.

Ortho Home Defense Insect Killer

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Ortho Home Defense Insect Killer is a basic pest control product that is designed specifically to target those small cracks and crevices around your home that allow bugs entry. This product works by releasing a foaming spray that kills and repels pests like crickets, fleas, centipedes, boxelder bugs, spiders, and of course drugstore beetles.

The product is effective, though it works using chemical ingredients that could be harmful to people and pets. Use this product only as directed and be especially careful if you are using Ortho Home Defense inside kitchens or in areas where food is stored or prepared.

Of course, as with all pest control products, keep this spray out of reach of children and pets.

Best Products For How To Prevent Drugstore Beetles

5 a pantry
Being proactive is generally much easier and more cost-effective when it comes to managing drugstore beetles.

Preventing pests like drugstore beetles is generally easier and much more cost-effective than trying to get rid of them once they’ve gotten out of control.

There are several steps you can take to help prevent drugstore beetles, and we will cover a number of those steps for how to get rid of drugstore beetles and prevent them further down. But for now, let’s talk about the best products you can use for drugstore beetle prevention.

Black Flag Pantry Pest Trap

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A pantry pest trap may not help you completely prevent drugstore beetles, but it does play an important role in the control and prevention of a severe infestation. Once you have dealt with drugstore beetles, you know just how difficult they can be.

Keeping a pantry pest trap in your cupboards or pantry can help you keep an eye out and catch pantry pests like drugstore beetles before they get out of control.

These traps are made with non-toxic glue that is folded up so you won’t accidentally get stuck. The drugstore beetles get caught in the glue, allowing you to see if you have any lurking around.

These traps also work for a variety of other insects like pantry moths and ants.

Airtight Pantry Storage Containers

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Protecting your foods is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways you can remedy dealing with pantry pests like drugstore beetles.

Even if you do accidentally bring drugstore beetles home with you from the grocery store, if you have transferred those storebought foods into an airtight container for storage, you have essentially made it impossible for these pests to spread.

This can save you plenty of time and money when it comes to how to get rid of drugstore beetles, and it often means you will only need to throw out that one specific food.

The above storage container order includes four large containers, four medium-sized containers, and four small containers. They are specifically designed for pantry use and are made of plastic for easy cleaning.

Eco Defense Pest Control Pouches

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Drugstore beetles are frustrating, but these pests can be sensitive to certain odors. If you’re looking for a safe and easy way to keep drugstore beetles at bay, we suggest investing in repellent products like the above Eco Defense Pest Control Pouches.

These pouches are made to repel pests like rodents, spiders, moths, ants, beetles, and more. They are made with natural essential oils like cedarwood oil, cinnamon oil, rosemary oil, mint, lemongrass, and peppermint oil. The pouches are long-lasting, with most designed to last between six months and a year.

Home Remedies For How To Get Rid Of Drugstore Beetles

6 a pantry of glass jars
Storing food products in airtight jars is one of the best ways to keep Drugstore beetles at bay or under control.

Getting rid of drugstore beetles can be costly, especially if these pests have already infested the majority of your pantry foods.

Luckily, there are a few ways you can go about saving infested foods by using products you already have in your home to get rid of drugstore beetles and keep them from returning.

Are you interested in do it yourself pest control methods? Here are some of our favorites for how to get rid of drugstore beetles.

Freeze Infested Foods

If you have foods that are only slightly infested with drugstore beetles, the food may be salvageable.

Remember, drugstore beetles are not dangerous to people, in spite of how nasty they can be. If you prefer to save your pantry foods, you can place the infested foods in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. This will effectively kill adult drugstore beetles, larvae, and eggs.

Use Essential Oils Or Bay Leaves

As we mentioned above, essential oils like peppermint oil can make for an excellent pest deterrent for drugstore beetles. Not only does peppermint oil work for drugstore beetles, but it also works for other pests like:

  • Spiders
  • Beetles
  • Ants
  • Flies
  • Fleas
  • Roaches
  • And Moths

Along with using peppermint oil for how to get rid of drugstore beetles, you can also use herbs like bay leaves, peppermint leaves, or garlic.

Other types of essential oils you can use to get rid of drugstore beetles include:

  • Eucalyptus Oil
  • Tea Tree Oil
  • Lemon Oil
  • Citronella Oil
  • Lemongrass Oil
  • Rosemary Oil
  • And Lavender Oil

To use essential oils for pest control, you have two options. The easiest option is to soak cotton balls in the essential oil of your choice and leave them in the back of your pantry to keep pests at bay. These soaked cotton balls will need to be replaced once every three days.

You can also combine 10 to 20 drops of the essential oil of your choice with two cups of water and spray your pantry and kitchen down every couple of days as well. This will offer the same pest-repellent effect.

Make Your Own All-Natural Pest Control Spray

Along with making a DIY essential oil spray for how to get rid of drugstore beetles, you can also make a spray that kills drugstore beetles and other pests on contact.


  • 1 Quart of Liquid Dish Soap
  • ½ Cup of Rubbing Alcohol
  • 1 Spray Bottle


Combine the above ingredients into your spray bottle and seal the bottle closed. Shake the bottle until the water is sudsy, then spray down cabinets and pantries. The soap will coat insects and the combination of alcohol and soap will ensure these pests dehydrate and die.

The added peppermint oil will also help to repel drugstore beetles as well as other pests listed above.

Keeping Drugstore Beetles At Bay – Expert Tips

7 a shopping cart
Check products carefully when you’re at the grocery store.

Drugstore beetles are some of the most common pantry pests worldwide, and dealing with a drugstore beetle infestation can be frustrating. The good news is that there are a few steps you can take to not only get rid of drugstore beetles but also prevent them from coming back.

First, Inspect Store-Bought Foods Carefully

One of the easiest ways to bring drugstore beetles into your home is to invite them in through store-bought foods that have previously been infested. As we mentioned above, most infested foods you purchase at the grocery store were likely infested at the warehouse from which they were packaged.

The best way to determine if you may have purchased foods infested with drugstore beetles is to inspect foods carefully. Avoid purchasing foods that are not properly sealed or foods that have holes, tears, rips, or other vulnerabilities.

You can also inspect dry spices in clear containers by giving them a shake. Look for small white larvae or any signs of drugstore beetles.

Don’t Bring In Second-Hand Furniture Or Books Without Proper Inspection

Not only do drugstore beetles feast on foods, but they also feast on organic matter like hair, paper, and leather. Though rare, it is possible to accidentally bring drugstore beetles into your home via secondhand furniture or books.

Before bringing furniture or books into your home, be sure to inspect them carefully. Not only can this protect you from drugstore beetles but this could also protect you from pests like bedbugs.

Keep Pantry Foods Stored Properly

As we discussed above, storing pantry foods in airtight containers is one of the easiest and most effective ways to keep a drugstore beetle infestation from getting out of control. Again, we suggest using either glass containers that seal shut with an airtight lid or using containers made with thick plastic that is impossible for these pests to chew through.

Clean Your Pantries Often

Pantries commonly become dirty and dusty with food crumbs and particles. These particles can attract pests like drugstore beetles. To keep these pests at bay, stick to a routine cleaning schedule and use quality products you trust to ensure your pantry is free of crumbs and food debris.

This can help keep drugstore beetles at bay along with other pantry pests like ants, roaches, and weevils.

Use A Year-Round Pest Control Regimen

Last but not least, we always like to suggest that you invest time in a year-round pest control regimen. This could include purchasing products that are long-lasting and designed to protect your home against pests like drugstore beetles as well as ensuring you protect your home via routine home maintenance.

And remember, if you do have drugstore beetles, don’t worry. These insects may be unsettling but they are not dangerous to humans.

Best of luck and thanks for reading!

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