Signs of Pests in Food

Stored Product Pests

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Confused Flour Beetle



Adults are reddish-brown. Larvae are brownish-white or yellowish-white. The end of the non-movable last body segment is dark.


The confused flour beetle has wings but is too confused to know what to do with them, let alone fly. Adults are gradually larger toward the tip, ending in a 'club' of four segments. The sides of the thorax are almost straight. Full-grown larvae have hard, cylindrical bodies, and look somewhat wiry.

Where Found

Can't take the heat. The beetle moved from its balmy home in Africa to cooler climates around the world. They are more common in the northern states in the U.S.


This seems rather typical of most people – life revolves around their food sources.


Beware of drug addicts. These beetles like snuff tobacco, drugs, and even poison rodent bait. (Perhaps this explains why they are always so confused.) Also on the list, are plant and museum specimens. More healthful options include damaged grain and grain products, peas and beans, shelled nuts, dried fruit, chocolate and spices (such as cayenne).


Females choose a nice spot in bagged foods to lay their 300-500 clear-white, sticky eggs – 2-3 per day. 5-12 days later the eggs hatch, and depending on temperature, the complete life cycle takes 7 weeks to 3 or more months. 4-5 generations can take place each year in heated storage facilities and processing plants.


Other than being a nuisance all on their own, they make our food stinky and bad-tasting.


Enter damaged stored products and chow down.

Good Riddance

There are 6 steps to control stored product pests. 1) Prevention – inspect any incoming products, and reduce locations that insects may be entering through. 2) Good Sanitation – discard any spilled or damaged products. Vacuum the spilled products, especially in small cracks and crevices where they may accumulate. Completely empty storage areas and check all products carefully for signs of infestation. 3) Proper Storage – store products in sealed containers that will not allow insects to enter. Cardboard or paper containers are easier to penetrate by larvae or adults and should be discarded. 4) Stock Rotation – don't forget about theold products sitting at the back of storage rooms. These are vulnerable to infestations, as they remain undisturbed and possibly damaged. 5) Ventilation – many pests that invade stored products need a high level of humidity to survive, so reducing moisture content in stored products is essential. 6) Control – some stored product pests tend to pupate away from the infested products. Therefore it is important to treat prepared pantry storage areas. Summary – finding and eliminating the source is the best way to achieve long-term control. Using aerosol pesticides for flying adult insects will only provide temporary relief. When using any pesticide, be sure it is registered for the target pest/location. Read the entire label prior to use. Follow all label directions, restrictions and precautions.