If you’ve found tiny bugs in your hamster’s food, your first reaction may be to freak out. After all, it’s a jarring view to see bugs anywhere, let alone a food source for your furry friend. However, there’s no need to panic right away.
Finding bugs in your hamster’s food is actually surprisingly common and the fact that this article exists and others are searching for this content, means you aren’t alone. And there’s lots to know about these bugs, whether they’re harmful, and what you should do next.
This article will cover all of those topics and more, which are included in the table of contents below.
What are these tiny bugs in hamster food?
Tiny bugs in your hamster’s food are fairly common and are known as “pantry pests” which are generally a result of leaving their bag of food opened or improperly stored in your panty or garage.
The immediate reaction to seeing tiny white bugs in food, even if it’s not yours, is often “Gross” “or “Eww!” And it’s a fair reaction since no one wants to consume bugs or see your hamster be forced to eat around those squirming bugs in their food bowl.
While it doesn’t matter too much because a bug is a bug, these are the most common types of bugs you may find:
- Indianmeal moth
- Red flour beetle
- Confused flour beetle
- Sawtoothed grain beetle
And while these are the bugs you may find in your hamster’s food, just their presence can lead to other bugs, such as cockroaches, ants, and spiders. And your hamster may even eat the spiders! So if you think the problem is just for your hamster to figure out, think again!
The aforementioned bugs can be detrimental to your hamster’s health by contaminating their food, ultimately leading to minor or more severe digestive problems and other infections. And the longer the issue goes unchecked, the more sever the health issue can become. That’s why it’s so important to get rid of the bugs as soon as possible. The easiest way to do that is to get rid of the contaminated food and start over with a new food source stored the right away, especially since these bugs are hard to remove and will quickly reproduce and multiply.
These pantry pests are attracted to open food sources stored in warm environments. That’s why storage of your hamster’s food in airtight containers is so important. That will help keep the food dry and the bugs out.
Why are there weevils in my hamster’s food?
Weevils can show up in your hamster’s food often because of improper storage, lack of cleaning, or you may have purchased food with an existing infestation either of the bug itself or their larvae.
Weevils are tiny insects that feed on grains and other foods that are rich in starch. Unfortunately, that’s the basic description of your hamster’s primary food pellets. As a result, it’s not uncommon to find weevils in your hamster’s food, so if you do there’s no need to freak out, but you should take steps to resolve the issue as quick as possible. Especially because any minor infestation can quickly result in a much larger infestation.
Before you see the little bugs crawling around in your hamster’s food, you’ll most likely see their larvae first. That larvae then hatches into weevils that reproduce with more larvae, ultimately contaminating more and more of your food and overall environment. Just their presence can lead to food spoilage and contamination from a sticky substance that is secreted by the larvae.
If you have weevils in your hamster’s food, you should take the following steps immediately:
- Get rid of all contaminated food
First you should get rid of all the contaminated food to ensure you are starting fresh and won’t port over an existing infestation into any new food source.
- Clean the food container thoroughly
Next step is to clean the food container thoroughly to prevent any larvae for staying around for the ride and resulting in a new infestation. Make sure to use soap and water and clean every inch of their food container.
- Purchase new food
It’s best to just start completely over. Don’t try and salvage any of their existing food that isn’t in a new, unopened container. You don’t want to go through this whole process just to move a few larvae over and have to start all over again.
- Store the food in an airtight container
Make sure to store the new food in a completely airtight container that will keep it dry and keep any tiny bugs or insects out.
- Regularly inspect the food for any signs of infestation
Make sure to do a quick spot check of the food to check for weevils, larvae, or other pantry pests before feeding your hamster. This will help catch any issues early on before it becomes a more serious issue.
Weevils are an annoyance and should be dealt with immediately by following the steps outlined above, but they can also pose a health risk to your hamster, which we’re going to talk more about in the next section.
Are weevils harmful to hamsters?
Weevils are small beetles that can spread disease, contaminate food, and cause digestive issues in your hamster. Ultimately, they can cause harm if left unchecked in your hamster’s cage.
Weevils are a nuisance, no doubt about that. Not only do they contaminate food that needs to be thrown out, but if they are eaten they can cause digestive issues in your hamster. And in severe cases, weevils can carry and spread diseases that may make your hamster very sick.
And to give the benefit of the doubt to the small beetles, they aren’t particularly aggressive nor actively trying to cause harm to your furry friend. They just want to live their best life munching on a seemingly endless food supply.
However, because it’s not a mutually beneficial relationship between the weevil community and your hamster, you should ultimately take steps to remove the weevils from your hamster’s cage and prevent them from coming back.
The best way to do that is regular cleaning of your hamster’s cage, storing food in airtight containers, and keeping a watchful eye for any future infestations. Just as you wouldn’t want to live with cockroaches in your home, the same benefit should be given to your hamster to give them a clean and comfortable cage they can live in without harassment from tiny bugs.
Are grain mites harmful to hamsters?
Grain mites are small spiders that can be found in your hamster’s food and they can pose serious health issues to your hamster, such as skin irritation, allergic reactions, digestive issues, vomiting, and diarrhea.
While weevils aren’t extremely harmful to hamsters, grain mites are the opposite. They pose much more serious health risks to your hamster that if left untreated, can lead to severe complications and even death in serious instances.
And not only do hamster mites cause physical harm to your hamster, but they can also cause stress and anxiety, which leads to more severe psychological issues. Imagine if you had to live with tiny spiders in your home all day, every day and you couldn’t escape from them. You might go a little crazy too.
Ultimately, hamster mites are a serious issue that should be dealt with as soon as possible to prevent both physical and psychological stress from occurring your hamster. And they are dealt with the same way by removing all contaminated food, throughly cleaning the cage, and then regularly checking for infestations in the future to catch any breakouts early on.
Also, keep a watchful eye on your hamster if you notice any odd or seemingly unhealthy behavior. If you notice them acting odd, then there may already be an infestation in their cage that should be dealt with immediately.
Frequently Asked Questions
Hamsters may attempt to eat cockroaches that wander into their cage, however eating the insect can pose health issues because cockroaches contain parasites and other harmful bacteria that can make your hamster sick.
Yes, flour mites can cause skin irritations, allergic reactions, infections, and digestive issues in your hamster. If you notice tiny white bugs in your hamster’s food, throw out that food and clean out their cage to get rid of the bugs.
To get rid of hamster mites you should first thoroughly clean their cage and completely change out their bedding to get rid of mites living in the cage. Then treat your hamster with a veterinarian approved mite removal spray to kill the bugs living on your hamster. Do a follow up treatment 10 days later to kill any mites or eggs that may have laid dormant.
Hamsters can eat ants, but they generally won’t go out of their way to find and eat the bugs. However, if ants wander into your hamster’s cage, your friend’s curiosity may get the best of them and they’ll take a bite.
If you’re interested in reading more about hamster food, little bugs, and more, check out the following related articles:
Tiny bugs in your hamster’s food are not uncommon, but they should be dealt with immediately. While pantry pests and weevils are more inconveniences and may cause some stress and food contamination, the more serious the infestation the more serious the issue becomes.
And grain mites are a serious issue that can lead to both physical and psychological harm if not addressed as soon as they are discovered.
If you notice any tiny bugs, larvae, or odd behavior in your hamster, check for tiny bugs and if discovered, take the appropriate steps to remove them. Thoroughly clean their cage, throw out any contaminated food, and regularly check for bugs in the future.
Your hamster deserves a clean, safe, and comfortable home and you can make that happen.