7 bugs, beetles and moths
– and how to get rid of them



Bed bug, flour beetle, grain beetle, cigarette beetle, drugstore beetle, meal moth, or dust mite? These 7 insects are the most commonly found species in bug infestation incidents. This article helps you identify them and understand how and where they live and thrive, and perhaps most importantly, how you can make them go away – and stay away.




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Bed bugs

(Cimex lectularius)


In recent years, bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) have become more and more widespread with environments that were previously free from infestation such as hotel rooms, rail carriages and airplane cabins now suffering from this surge.

Bed bugs can survive for up to a year without food. In the daytime, they hide in mattresses, furniture, small wall cracks, inside electrical sockets and anywhere else that offers shelter to something of their size. They are surprisingly creative that way. Being nocturnal bloodsuckers, they come out of hiding at night to feed on the blood of primarily humans, but occasionally also animals.

After mating, females lay white, oval eggs (1/16” long) into cracks and crevices. An individual female bed bug will lay 200 to 250 eggs in her lifetime. The eggs hatch in 6 to 10 days, and the newly emerged nymphs seek for blood right away.

Traveller suitcases are the main vehicle of transportation for the bed bug. It simply boards a suitcase unnoticed and then travels with the passenger. The transition can take place during a stay in an infested hotel or in the luggage compartment of an airplane.

The bed bugs are for instance found in hotel rooms, suitcases, train carriages, airplanes, ambulances and hospital beds. Measuring out at just 3.5mm in diameter (about the size of a small apple seed), they can flatten themselves to get through very small spaces.

The optimal temperature for killing insects, larvae and eggs is about 50°C. The bugs need to be exposed to the temperature for at least one hour and preferably longer.

Red flour beetle

(Tribolium castaneum)


The flour beetle is from the Coleoptera family. Tribolium castaneum and Tribolium confusom (confused red beetle) are the two most common secondary pests of all stored plant commodities in the world.

The beetles feed on various plant substances, in particular the powdery kind such as flour and bran. They are found in food stores and bakeries and have spread with global trade. Adult beetles measure 2.5-4.5mm and females deposit up to 500 eggs in food in their lifetime. Sometimes, they are immune to toxic gas treatments. In fact, the sturdy little creatures can survive for a long period of time in airless environments.

The optimal temperature for eradicating this type of beetle, including its larvae and eggs, is at least one hour at a sustained temperature of about 50°C.

Grain beetle

(Oryzaephilus surinamensis and Oryzaephilus mercator)


Also known as the “rice lover from Surinam”, the surinamensis beetle is nearly identical to the Mercator beetle, the main difference being that the latter can fly. As the nickname for Oryzaephilus surinamensis implies, the grain beetles feed on foods such as dried fruits, meats, cereals and rice.

The grain beetle is primarily found where these dry foodstuffs are stored and are widespread because of global trade. Adult grain beetles measure 2.4-3mm and females deposit up to 500 eggs four times a year.

A highly effective pest control method, the optimal temperature for killing these beetles, their larvae and eggs is about 50°C. Sustained temperatures at that level are required for at least one hour, preferably more.

Cigarette beetle and drugstore beetle

(Lasioderma serricorne) (Stegobium paniceum)


In addition to being a pest of tobacco in both raw and refined forms, these beetles and their larvae feed on a variety of food items, for instance dried and processed foods such as herbs, grains, pasta, raisins, rice, seeds and even cockroach poison, hair, leather and books. They are often found in food stores, bakeries, restaurants and tobacco-processing industries.

Adult beetles measure up to 4mm and their females can lay up to 100 eggs on the food products from which the larvae will feed.

A highly effective pest control method, the optimal temperature for killing these beetles, their larvae and eggs is about 50°C. Sustained temperatures at that level are required for at least one hour, preferably more.

Meal moths

(Ephestia kuehniella) (Lepidoptera)


Often detected in food stores, bakeries and restaurants, meal moths feed on dried fruit, tobacco, flour, spices, chamomile, fabrics, dried fish, horsehair and more. A widespread parasite, the meal moth larvae is the most common infestations of any foodstuff. The larvae is capable of biting through plastic and cardboard. As a result, even sealed containers may be infested with their eggs.

Fully grown, the moth moves and infests foodstuffs quickly. The distal of two thirds of their forewings are generally reddish brown in color with a copper luster. The more proximal parts of the wings are yellow/gray or white/gray, with a dark band at the intersection between the proximal and distal regions.

Adults are 8-10mm in length with 16-20mm wingspans. The butterflies lay between 100 and 300 eggs that are just 0.5-0.6mm long and nearly invisible to the naked eye.

The optimal temperature for killing insects, larvae and eggs is about 50°C. The bugs need to be exposed to the temperature for one hour.

Dust mites

(Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus)


The small and translucent body of house dust mites makes them almost impossible to see. Measuring 0.2–0.3 mm in length, they feed on skin flakes and some mold. During its up to 70-day life cycle, a mated female house dust mite laying anywhere from 60 to 100 eggs in the last five weeks of her life.

In a 10-week life span, a house dust mite will produce approximately 2,000 fecal particles and an even larger number of partially digested enzyme-covered dust particles. The mite’s gut contains potent digestive that persist in their feces and are major inducers of allergic reactions such as wheezing.

The optimal temperature for eradicating dust mites, larvae and eggs, is one hour at a sustained temperature of about 50°C.


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