Confused Flour Beetle

The confused flour beetle was named because of the confusion over its identity. It is a very common commercial and pantry pest.

Fast Facts

Color The adults are red-brown in color and the larvae are a light honey color.
Size The confused flour beetle is 3-4 mm in length and the larvae are about 6 mm long.
Appearance The confused flour beetle resembles the rust-red flour beetle, except for the antennae which is four segmented and gradually thickens towards the tip. The sides of the rust-red flour beetle are curved, whereas the thorax of the confused flour beetle is straighter. It has well developed wings but seldom flies. The two beetles are similar in size, color, and texture of the dorsal surface.
Confused Flour Beetle
Confused Flour Beetle
Confused Flour Beetle
Confused Flour Beetle
Red Flour Beetle
Red Flour Beetle
Red Flour Beetle
Red Flour Beetle

Diet

Flour beetles fed off grain, flour, and other cereal products, beans, cacao, cottonseed, shelled nuts, dried fruit, dried vegetables, drugs, spices, chocolate, dried milk and animal hides.

Habitat

The confused flour beetle is better suited to temperate climate, while the red flour beetle predominates in subtropical climates. 

Life Cycle

Female lays between 400-500 eggs, which are deposited directly in flour, other food material, or attached to the surface of the container. They are white or colorless and covered by a sticky material to which flour can adhere. Eggs hatch in three to five days and the larvae burrow into kernels of grain but may leave their burrows in search of a more favorable food. Adults typically live one to three years.

Damage

The beetles cause damage by feeding on grains, but cause more problems from contamination. Large numbers of dead bodies, cast skins, and fecal pellets produce extremely pungent odors. The nauseous smell and taste caused by infestations result in poor feed consumption by livestock and rejection by grain buyers.

Prevention & Control

Confused Flour Beetle Prevention

Properly sanitize grain bins before introducing new grain. Good sanitation involves the removal of old grain and dust in and around the grain bin, including removal of old grain from corners, floors, and walls. Any grain remaining when a bin is emptied can harbor insect infestations which will move into the new grain.

Confused Flour Beetle Control

Inspect and Discard: Inspect infested products and discard them. Pay particular attention to dry grains, including flours, milled grains, powdered milks, and cocoa. Inspect each one by one and seal cleared products in air-tight containers.

Clean and Vacuum: Vacuum and clean shelves thoroughly. Pay attention to cracks, crevices, under shelves, and around wire shelving. It doesn't take a large food source for flour beetles to survive.

If a flour beetle infestation occurs, count on a professional pest management service to take care of the problem knowledgeably and successfully.

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