Home / Skin Beetles (Dermestidae) / Khapra Beetle (Cabinet Beetle/ Trogoderma granarium)

Khapra Beetle (Cabinet Beetle/ Trogoderma granarium)

Khapra beetle, alternately known as the cabinet beetle, is indigenous to South Asia. Eventually, it became an invasive species worldwide, spreading to Africa, the Middle East, Mediterranean countries, and North America. This species’ larvae feed on a lot of food like rice, wheat, barley, and nuts, thus considered a serious pest.

Khapra Beetle

Scientific Classification

  • Family: Dermestidae
  • Genus: Trogoderma
  • Scientific name: Trogoderma granarium

Physical Description and Identification

Adult

Size: 2-3 mm (0.07 – 0.11 inches)

Color: The males are brown or black with markings of reddish-brown on the wings. The female khapra beetle species, on the other hand, have lighter coloration.

Other Characteristic Features: They appear oval with a small head and hairy body.

Cabinet Beetle

Larva

Upon hatching from the eggs, the larva is 1.6 – 1.8 mm (0.06 – 0.07 inches) long with a hairy tail on its abdomen’s last segment, accounting for a significant part of its length. They have a yellowish-white body and brown head and hairs. As they grow, the color transforms to reddish-brown or golden, with the tail getting shorter. When matured, the larva is 6mm (0.23 inches) and 1.5 mm (0.05 inches) in length and width.

Khapra Beetle Larvae
Cabinet Beetle Larva

Pupa

The larva, in its final instar stage, holds the pupa within. It takes about five days for the pupa to mature into an adult.

Eggs

They are initially milky white, changing to pale yellow when ready to hatch. The cylindrical eggs are rounded on one side and pointed at the other, with the latter having spiny projections. The eggs have a length of 0.7 mm, a width of about 0.25 mm, also weighing 0.02 mg.

Quick Facts

Other NamesCabinet beetle
Adult lifespan5 – 10 days
Duration of larval stage4 – 6 weeks, but may extend till 8 years
DistributionNative: Throughout South Asia (India, Srilanka, Afghanistan, Egypt, Syria, Iran, Morocco)
Invasive: Middle East, Asia, Africa, Mediterranean countries, parts ofNorth America
HabitatPantries, malt houses, crates, storehouses, grain stacks, and any other place that stores food and grains
Common PredatorsMites, and parasitic wasps
Diet  of larvae and adults Larvae: Rice, barley, wheat, and other grain products, alongside oilseeds, walnut, and many other food products Adults: They rarely eat
Trogoderma granarium

Identifying the Damage Caused by Them

They cause huge damage to grains, destroying them within a short span. The larvae feed haphazardly, spoiling the grain and even leaving their skins, broken body parts, and hair within. The young ones eat damaged seeds, while the matured larva consumes whole grains. Larval infestation in stored grains can result in significant weight reduction in the grains, as shown in this study.

One of the various measures used to get rid of the khapra beetle is fumigation (pest control method) using methyl bromide. In India, powdered neem is used in wheat stores for controlling this beetle’s population. 

Did You Know

  • Since July 2011, the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service imposed restrictions on grains and cereals imported from regions renowned for khapra beetle infestation.
  • Due to the immense loss it causes to grains, the beetle is infamous as one of the world’s 100 invasive species.
  • Since one can find them in closets, and shelves where grains are stored, they are also known as cabinet beetles.
Khapra Beetle Images

Image Source: detia-degesch.de, tackle.com.ng, graincentral.com, lh3.googleusercontent.com, entomologytoday.org, petfoodindustry.com

Khapra beetle, alternately known as the cabinet beetle, is indigenous to South Asia. Eventually, it became an invasive species worldwide, spreading to Africa, the Middle East, Mediterranean countries, and North America. This species’ larvae feed on a lot of food like rice, wheat, barley, and nuts, thus considered a serious pest.

Khapra Beetle

Physical Description and Identification

Adult

Size: 2-3 mm (0.07 – 0.11 inches)

Color: The males are brown or black with markings of reddish-brown on the wings. The female khapra beetle species, on the other hand, have lighter coloration.

Other Characteristic Features: They appear oval with a small head and hairy body.

Cabinet Beetle

Larva

Upon hatching from the eggs, the larva is 1.6 – 1.8 mm (0.06 – 0.07 inches) long with a hairy tail on its abdomen’s last segment, accounting for a significant part of its length. They have a yellowish-white body and brown head and hairs. As they grow, the color transforms to reddish-brown or golden, with the tail getting shorter. When matured, the larva is 6mm (0.23 inches) and 1.5 mm (0.05 inches) in length and width.

Khapra Beetle Larvae
Cabinet Beetle Larva

Pupa

The larva, in its final instar stage, holds the pupa within. It takes about five days for the pupa to mature into an adult.

Eggs

They are initially milky white, changing to pale yellow when ready to hatch. The cylindrical eggs are rounded on one side and pointed at the other, with the latter having spiny projections. The eggs have a length of 0.7 mm, a width of about 0.25 mm, also weighing 0.02 mg.

Quick Facts

Other NamesCabinet beetle
Adult lifespan5 – 10 days
Duration of larval stage4 – 6 weeks, but may extend till 8 years
DistributionNative: Throughout South Asia (India, Srilanka, Afghanistan, Egypt, Syria, Iran, Morocco)
Invasive: Middle East, Asia, Africa, Mediterranean countries, parts ofNorth America
HabitatPantries, malt houses, crates, storehouses, grain stacks, and any other place that stores food and grains
Common PredatorsMites, and parasitic wasps
Diet  of larvae and adults Larvae: Rice, barley, wheat, and other grain products, alongside oilseeds, walnut, and many other food products Adults: They rarely eat
Trogoderma granarium

Identifying the Damage Caused by Them

They cause huge damage to grains, destroying them within a short span. The larvae feed haphazardly, spoiling the grain and even leaving their skins, broken body parts, and hair within. The young ones eat damaged seeds, while the matured larva consumes whole grains. Larval infestation in stored grains can result in significant weight reduction in the grains, as shown in this study.

One of the various measures used to get rid of the khapra beetle is fumigation (pest control method) using methyl bromide. In India, powdered neem is used in wheat stores for controlling this beetle’s population. 

Did You Know

  • Since July 2011, the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service imposed restrictions on grains and cereals imported from regions renowned for khapra beetle infestation.
  • Due to the immense loss it causes to grains, the beetle is infamous as one of the world’s 100 invasive species.
  • Since one can find them in closets, and shelves where grains are stored, they are also known as cabinet beetles.
Khapra Beetle Images

Image Source: detia-degesch.de, tackle.com.ng, graincentral.com, lh3.googleusercontent.com, entomologytoday.org, petfoodindustry.com

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