Merchant Grain Beetle


Actual Size: 1/10”

Characteristics: Dark brown and flat bodies with six saw-like teeth on each side of the thorax.

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Wings: Yes, and can fly.

Habitat: Feeds on grain kernels and other pantry items, so they’re drawn to places like food manufacturing facilities or home pantries.


  • Cannot eat whole, undamaged grain kernels. 
  • Looks similar to sawtoothed beetles, but merchant grain beetles can fly.
  • Females can lay up to 250 eggs into the cracks of a single grain kernel.

Merchant Grain Beetles in Anaheim

Commonly found throughout the United States, merchant grain beetles are a big problem for many grocery stores, food warehouses, and households. Though they look similar to sawtoothed beetles, they have the ability to fly, while sawtoothed beetles do not. Since merchant grain beetles cannot pierce through intact grain kernels, they primarily infest pantries with finely powdered food like flour or cake mix. Their flattened bodies also allow them to crawl into broken grain kernels where they can lay eggs. In addition to contaminating food, these pests can cause moisture build-up that may lead to mold problems.

Merchant Grain Beetle Habitat

Merchant grain beetles are primarily a pest in environments where there’s plenty of grain and food products to consume, which often includes food manufacturing plants, grocery stores, or households. They can infest and contaminate everything from cereals and pasta to dried pet food, bread, and cake mix. Since females can lay up to 250 eggs within the cracks of a single kernel of grain, these beetles can quickly take over an entire pantry if the infestation isn’t treated quickly. Like many other pantry pests, though, the larvae typically do the most damage by feeding as they grow; however, many people also identify infestations by discovering adult merchant grain beetles crawling near the pantry.

Merchant Grain Beetle Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

Merchant grain beetles are considered more of a nuisance than a danger to your health. They do not bite, sting, or transmit diseases. However, merchant grain beetles can enter sealed boxes or plastic packaging, which allows them to contaminate or ruin large amounts of food fairly quickly. Most infestations either take place in a food processing facility or happen when somebody accidentally purchases contaminated goods. If you think you have a merchant grain beetle problem on your hands, the best course of action is to contact your local pest control experts. They can determine the extent of your infestation and help you get rid of the pests for good.