A nearly identical look-alike to the cigarette beetle, drugstore beetles differ in that they have rows of pits on their wing covers whereas cigarette beetles have smooth wing covers. In addition, drugstore beetles have a well defined three segmented club to their antennae. Coloration varies from light brown to a reddish brown. Drugstore beetles have a humpbacked appearance and their head is not visible from the top. Adults are capable of flight and are often attracted to lights. Females deposit their eggs in a singular manner in or around the food they are infesting. Eggs hatch within a matter of days and larvae begin a developmental stage that averages four to five months followed by a pupal stage that spans a period of only 12 to 18 days. Mature larvae are 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch in length, c-shaped and unlike the larvae of cigarette beetles, are nearly hairless. A complete life cycle typically requires seven months. Up to four generations may occur in a single year under ideal conditions; however a single generation each year is more common.
Female pheromone traps are available for the monitoring and identification of areas of infestation. When inspecting for a drugstore beetle infestation, all food types including spices, as well as leather, wool, fur, hair, books, medications and museum type items should be thoroughly inspected. Packaged materials are often penetrated by drugstore beetles and should also be inspected. Infested items should be discarded or heat treated for a period of several hours at 140-175 degrees. Thorough cleaning and maintaining sanitary conditions following elimination of infested items as well as application of residual insecticides by a pest control professional are also commonly necessary in eliminating an infestation.