Flour Beetle Scientific Name: Tribolium castaneum
Flour Beetle Identification
The Flour beetle is an insect grouped into a type of pests known as “pantry pests.” Flour beetles forage in and even reproduce food products. Flour beetles are reddish brown with hardened wings and are about 1/8 of an inch long.
Flour Beetle Habitat and Food Source
The Flour beetle has a wide range – found worldwide in warm, dry climates – and is most likely to be seen in granaries, flour mills, cargo ships, feed mills, prairies, and homes. The flour beetle is a relentless forager of dry stored foods. In constant carbo-load mode, the Flour beetle feeds particularly on flour (hence the name), baking powder, rice, cereal, beans, pet food, and other starchy materials. You are most likely to see the Flour beetle when you open a sack of flour or box of cereal. So do a double take before pouring milk on your corn flakes!
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Flour Beetle Life Cycle
The female flour beetle will lay her eggs, about 500 at a time, on an infested food product. When larvae hatch they resemble a small white worm and feed on the food product as they burrow through the food. Thousands of flour beetles can infest a single package of dried food at a time. The larvae of the flour worm are the familiar meal worms – used for bird food and lab insects. For a Flour beetle to go from egg to adult takes about two months and adults live on average one month.
Flour Beetles and Humans
The Flour beetle will infest many types of food products, specifically dry starchy ones. Although it is named for its foraging of flour products, it may also rummage through and feed on beans, nuts, cereals, and rice. The Flour beetle will therefore commonly be found indoors and does large amounts of damage to stored food products.