I’m grinding my way through the first draft of House Guests, House Pests. It’s going well, and I use the word ‘grinding’ only in that I’m milling endless stories, anecdotes and scientific themes into edible pieces.
One of the things which is coming through is that I’ve had many more household insect pests cross my threshold than I first thought.
One of my favourites is the biscuit beetle, Stegobium paniceum. In our previous house in Nunhead, it invaded almost everything in the pantry (like the beetle, named after the bread, Latin panis, which was originally stored in this type of cupboard). It was in the flour (plain and self-raising), the malted shreddies, the dry cat biscuits, the oxo cubes (it chewed through the metal foil wrappers too), and the lasagna sheets.
But perhaps its most memorable infestation was in the noodles, which looked like ticker-tape. Spot the beetle bottom.
I haven’t seen one for several years now, though. I blame increased kitchen hygiene and tupperware containers.