Common Bugs In Dog Food – What To Do?

Common Bugs In Dog Food – What To Do?

What do you do when you find bugs in dog food? Here is a list of common bugs in dog food along with some information and solutions along with some tips on how to properly store your dog’s food!

Imagine opening your dog’s bag of dry food to find it infested with Weevils or other strange bugs! Believe it or not, it does happen despite pet food manufacturers, distributors and even pet owner’s best efforts. Infestation of bugs in dog food can lead to unsightly bugs infesting your home – both harmless and harmful. Either way, no one wants to see this happen. In this blog post, we shall discuss some of the common types of Weevils and bugs in pet food and how to prevent it.

List Of Common Bugs in Dog Food

  • Red Legged Ham Beetle / Copra Beetle
  • Sawtoothed Grain Weevils
  • Flour Weevils
  • Warehouse Beetles
  • Indian Meal Moth
  • Drugstore Beetles
bugs in dog food
Meal moth Larvae – bugs in dog food!

If have a pet, chances are sooner or later you might notice weird insects crawling around in your pet’s bag of pet food. The most common being Weevils. These annoying little insects tend to appear when they are least wanted! Do not panic! Here are some step to help identify, prevent and remove the infestations.

*Weevils are a type of beetle so please don’t get confused as the two term are used interchangeably*

We have compiled a list of common bugs in dog food commonly found in Singapore as well as some suggested measures that could be taken.

1) Red Legged Ham Beetle / Copra Beetle

red legged ham beetle
Red Legged Ham Beetle / Copra Beetle

One of the most common bugs in dog food are copra beetles / weevils, these beetles tend to be 3.5mm – 7mm long and are often shiny metallic green or blue in color. These beetles do not attack grains like other beetles, they are commonly attracted to dried meats, stored fish, fish meal, bone meal, and dog biscuits.

Also nicknamed the Copra Beetle for their attraction for dried coconut meats. These Weevils/beetles are often hard to detect till the later stages of infestation where they can be noticeable seem scurrying around the infested product.

Best Course Of Action: Seal and dispose of infested product. These Weevils are persistent and will find its way to other food sources. Thorough inspection of the food’s packaging and contents followed by disposing of infested products are the most effective methods of pest control.

*These annoying weevils are also pretty resilient and very hard to kill/squish when compared to other bugs.

2) Sawtoothed Grain Weevils

Sawtooth Grain Beetle

These tiny Weevils are about 1/10th of an inch long and can be often found in dried foods such as dog food, cereals and pasta. They are a reddish brown or black and can live up to three years and females can lay over 250 eggs in this time.

They can easily squeeze into cracks and other such minuscule crevices to infest dry goods. They will not cause harm to your dog, but of course if the food is infested, it is no longer safe to consume.

Best Course Of Action: Although generally harmless to both humans and pets (even if ingested!). You should dispose of infested products as the damage they cause to stored food products encourages growth of bacteria and fungus.

3) Flour Weevils

flour weevils
Flour Weevils

Commonly see in old packs of uncooked rice and flour, Flour Weevils are reddish brown and can lay up to 500 eggs in their life span of about a year. They also will infest other food items and similar to the Sawtoothed Grain Beetles, they prove relatively harmless to you or your pets. However, you will might still want to stop the spread of any of these unwelcome guests that are feasting on your pet’s food.

Best Course Of Action: Similar to Grain Weevils, Flour Weevils do not bite and are not considered harmful to either humans nor pets. Still, it will be wise to remove the infested product as rice Weevils tend to be attracted to items that contain grains that are starting to – or have already turned bad. (Yes, flour can spoil!)

4) Warehouse Beetles

warehouse beetle
Warehouse Beetle

Despite their name, Warehouse beetles do not only infest warehouses, they tend consume almost any food source. As the name suggest, they are often found in warehouses and attracted to food products such as Cereal, oatmeal, corn, flour and pet food.

Females can lay up to 150 eggs and can survive for about a year. Female warehouse beetles prefer lighted areas once they have laid their eggs, but the larvae prefer to dwell in darker areas.

Best Course Of Action: Harmful if ingested! These beetles tend to cause intestinal discomfort if it or it’s shedding are ingested! First, locate the source of infestation. Look for tiny openings in packages and remove infested products. Clean the infested immediately and throughly taking note that these species of beetles thrive on warm, moist environments. (Eg. Singapore).

5) Indian Meal Moth

indian moth meal
Indian Moth Meal

Otherwise known as the Meal Moth, Flour moth, Weevil moth, Grain moth. These tiny pests are about a half an inch long and have copper and gray wings.They feed on dry food products such as cereal, pasta, bread, rice, flour, spices, dried fruits, nuts, couscous or pet food products.

They are harmless even when ingested and do not spread diseases nor carry nasty parasites.

indian meal moth larvae
Meal Moth Larvae often found in infested dog food

Their larvae feed on dry food and often leave telltale signs such as silk webbings around infested food sources. They are even able to chew through plastic bags and thin cardboard, making sealed / unopened packages potential targets.

Other that providing extra protein and niacin when eaten by your dog, there are no known harmful effects if the larvae is ingested.

Best Course Of Action: Destroy source of infestation, look for a concentrated area where silk-like cocoons can be found. (Take note that these pests are able to significant distances before they pupate, so the kitchen of food storage area may not be where they nesting area is located.) Clean infested area with vinegar or soap and water taking care to discard and infested food products or containers.

6) Drugstore Beetles

Drugstore Beetle / Biscuit Beetle

Attracted to dried herbs and plant materials along with dried food products, these tiny pests are brown and oval shaped. Adults are about ⅛ of an inch long and larvae are about the same length but yellowish white.

These pest can enter your home and live unnoticed for several generations via infested dry food products, only leaving sign of their presence by puncturing the packaging of food products or pockmarking solid items such as pasta and biscuits.

Best Course Of Action: Discard opened, infested packages (They are unlikely to bite their way into an unopened / sealed new food package) and vacuum the infested cupboard / storage area throughly taking care to clean all tiny nooks and cervices that they may hide in. Using Food Grade diatomaceous earth is also know to be a deterrent by sprinkling some in the corners of the storage area.

How Do These Pets Get Into Your Pet’s Food?

While pet food manufacturers, warehouses and other distributors take any and all measures necessary to prevent their products from becoming infested with bugs, it does happen on occasion.

Moths, beetles, and the like can find their way into the product during transportation, while in the warehouse or even in the store. They can also travel into your home on other food items or enter your home the same way as do any other bugs, via windows, gaps below doors etc…

Of course if you find bugs in dog food the first time you open the product, you should take it back or contact the place where you purchased it. It is always a good idea to hold onto your receipts at the time of the purchase. Most pet food stores and online stores will take back opened products if it was recently delivered within a day or two and you have the receipt.

(The best option is to inspect the pet food the moment you receive it / bring it home. Contact your pet supply merchant if you suspect or find any signs of infested pet food products immediately!)

However they get there, none of us wants to find bugs in dog food.  So here are some steps that can be taken to properly store your dog’s food to keep these unwanted pests from infiltrating ad infesting your pooches food.

How To Prevent Bugs In Dog Food: Tips for Proper Storage
Stefanplast Food Container 8L

Dry Food

  • If you are purchasing the food at a pet store, inspect the product for holes, damages before you purchase the food.
  • If you order food online, inspect the product for holes or broken seals before opening it.
  • As soon as you open the food for the first time, inspect the product thoroughly for any signs of infestation.
  • Do not allow the food to be exposed to air or moisture.
  • Do not store your pet food (even new unopened bags) in outdoor areas such as gardens / balcony areas .
  • Do not store dry dog food in warm areas or areas with direct sunlight.
  • Store the food in a cool dry place such as a kitchen pantry or cabinet.
  • Do not dump the food into another container. Keep it in the original bag/box as these food packaging are designed to help keep the foods from spoiling.
  • You can store a bag of food in a plastic, metal or glass container but do not pour the food directly into these containers.
  • Never leave the bag open for an extended period as this will expose it to both air and moisture.
  • Do not leave the bag open and exposed to air after opening it.
  • Close the bag tightly and keep it sealed with a clip, try to make it as air tight as possible.

*Note: The original bag contains information such as the lot number, etc in case you should have any issues with the food.

Canned Food

  • Unopened canned food will often have a long shelf life but is always important to check the expiration date before purchasing.
  • Open cans should be stored in the refrigerator for no more than five days.
  • You can freeze can food in single portions if you won’t be using the full can within five days.
  • Discard already opened canned food that has been left at room temperature for longer than three hours.

Dehydrated / Raw Dog Food / Home-cooked Diets

Stella & Chewy’s Meal Mixers

As raw dog food diets keep growing in popularity it can be found most pet stores. These foods will have a shorter shelf life their canned or dried counterparts.

  • Always take note of the expiration date on the product and read the feeding directions thoroughly.
  • Always make sure that you keep dehydrated food away from moisture as it can cause mold to grow. Keep the food tightly sealed in its original package or transfer it to a glass container with an air tight lid.
  • If your pet is on a raw food diet and you are purchasing commercially prepared raw dog food, always inspect the package before you purchase it for any signs of damage.
  • Always be aware of the expiration date, taking note if the food can be refrigerated or frozen for any length of time.
  • Always read the directions and pay close attention to the handling / preparation instructions.
  • If you are purchasing meat, cut it into portions and immediately freeze what you won’t use within one or two days.
  • If you are freezing meat, poultry, seafood etc, wrap it well and seal it in an airtight container. Frozen products usually have a shelf of four to six months.

General Tips for Pet Food Storage to Avoid Bugs in Dog Food

  • Keep the area where you store your dog’s food clean. Wipe counters, dust, vacuum, sweep and mop regularly. Clean up any spilled food.
  • Keep the area where you feed your dog clean. Do not let their food sit out uncovered for extended amounts of time and give them fresh food each meal.
  • Thoroughly wash and dry all food bowls and scoops after each use.
  • Wash water bowls daily (if possible) and change water at least once daily. Change it immediately if you notice any dirt or particles in the water.
  • Never mix new food with older food.
  • Store pet treats property as well. Keep them in an airtight container and out of reach.
  • Store any pet medication properly and be aware of expiration dates. Keep any and all mediation (pet and human) out of reach from your pet and / or child.
  • Always follow directions on the medication labels and keep them in their original containers with the labels intact.
  • Do not store food directly in plastic bins, containers or bags as this can affect the taste and smell of the food, thus making it unappetizing for your canine. Instead, use clean metal or glass containers.
  • For Dog food storage bins, keep the food in its original bag within the container.
  • Ideally, you should discard any food that your pet has not consumed in two hours. This is especially true with canned food.
  • Dry food can be kept out longer if it is left out of direct sunlight and not exposed to warm temperatures and moisture. However, leaving dry food out too long increases chances of an infestation by attracting bugs.

Hopefully with the help of these guidelines, you can help better prevent bugs in dog food. However, bug infestations are common and will tend to happen from time to time. Take any and all precautions to get rid of the infestation and first and foremost, get rid of the infected food.

If you believe that your dog food was contaminated upon purchase, return it with proof of purchase. Basic rules of health, cleaning and sanitization apply to us and our pets as well. If you want your dog to have a happy and healthy life, pay closely attention to his food and eating habits.