Stored Product Pests

Stored Product Pests

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Red Flour Beetle

red-flour-beetle-bug-book

Color

Adults are reddish-brown. Larvae are white and tinged with yellow.

Characteristics

Adults are about 1/8" (3-4mm) long. Their antennae have an abrupt, 3 segmented club. The wings are functional, but they typically fly only short distances. Full grown larvae are about 1/8"- 1/4"(4-5mm) long, hard-bodied, cylindrical, and wiry in appearance.

Where Found

The red flour beetle is one of the most important stored product pests found in homes and grocery stores. It is of Indo-Australian origin and now occurs worldwide in the warmer climates. In the United States, it is found primarily in the southern states

Habitat

Damp flour. Mmmmmmmm! Red flour beetles are attracted to flour with a high moisture content. Adults are very active, quickly running for cover when disturbed, and can be found either on the surface or deep within the food material. Because of their small size and shape, they can frequently invade storage containers. Adults can fly and are attracted to light.

Food

Consider the red flour beetle—and get your daily serving of bran. Red flour beetles are known as "bran bugs", since they primarily attack milled grain products, such as flour and cereals. Both adults and larvae feed on grain dust and broken kernels, but not the undamaged whole grain kernels.

Not just carboholics, they also survive on peas, nuts, dried fruits, spices, milk chocolate, drugs, snuff, cayenne pepper, and herbarium, insect, and other museum specimens. And if you've ever wondered what happens to bits of food that fall in cabinet cracks, crevices and furniture, now you know.

Biology

The red flour beetle female deposits about 300-500 clear, white, sticky eggs on or among food materials in cracks, in bags, or through the mesh of sacks containing food. The female lays 2-3 eggs per day, and lives for 2-3 years. The eggs hatch in 5-12 days into brownish-white larvae and reach maturity in about 30 days under optimal conditions. In heated storage facilities and processing plants, there are 4 or 5 generations annually.

Invasion

These beetles often hitchhike into the home in infested flour and can multiply into large populations. For the full list of all they're likely to attack, see "Food" above.

Good Riddance

First of all, good sanitation is the key. Store susceptible foods in insect-proof containers of glass, heavy plastic, or metal, ideally with screw-type lids, or store foods in a refrigerator or freezer. Carefully examine foods such as flour, pancake flour, cornmeal, cereals, raisins, dry dog and cat food, spices, candy, dates, dried meats and fruits, rice, and macaroni at the time of purchase. Check the packaging date to establish freshness. Examine broken and damaged packages and boxes to avoid bringing these stored product pests accidentally into the home. Purchase seldom-used foods in small quantities to prevent long storage periods of one month or more, especially during warmer months. Properly ventilate the storage area to discourage these moisture-loving pests. Any infested product should be thrown away