Red Flour Beetle
Scientific Name: Tribolium castaneum
The red flour beetle is aptly named for its red color and affinity for infesting flour. This stored product pest is found throughout the United States, mainly in the southern states.
Red flour beetles grow to be 1/8th of an inch in length and are a reddish-brown color. Their distinctive antennae end abruptly in a 3 segmented club. Red flour beetle larvae are 1/8th to ¼ of an inch in length; they have a thin appearance and are yellowish-white in color.
Red flour beetles do not attack whole grains. They, instead, lay their eggs directly onto things like flour, cereal, and dry pet food. As the female feeds on a food source she will lay her eggs. The eggs will hatch and the larvae will feed, molt, pupate, and develop into adults in the food that they were hatched in. The entire process takes about 7 weeks in the right environmental conditions; in colder temperatures the process can take up to 3 months. Females live a long lifespan of approximately 2-3 years.
Red flour beetles are a pest that is often found invading homes, grocery stores, mills, and food processing plants. They can enter homes in products that are already infested that you purchased from grocery stores. Adults are capable of flight and are attracted to light and may enter homes through broken screens and through gaps found around windows and doors. If flour beetles have entered your home you may notice adults crawling or flying throughout your home. You may also find holes in food packaging- usually flour or cereal products. They will also cause a disagreeable odor or taste in the flour or other product that they have invaded.
In order to prevent your pantry and home from becoming infested with red flour beetles you should always inspect food and food packaging for signs of holes or tears before purchasing them from the store. Make sure to store grains in sealed plastic or glass containers with tight fitting lids, and regularly rotate dry goods in your pantry getting rid of older or expired items. Routinely clean up spills and clean crumbs from cabinet and pantry areas. It is also a good idea to make sure that screens in windows and doors are intact and that gaps found around exterior windows and doors are filled using calk to help prevent adults from flying and getting into your home.
The most effective way to control red flour beetles in your home is with the help of a professional pest control expert. At Rottler Lawn & Pest Solutions a trained technician will inspect your home and find all the areas where they are breeding and feeding. If treatment for these pests is needed, we can do so through our year-round home pest control services. Services may include a crack and crevice treatment using a non-residual aerosol insecticide to eliminate adult red flour beetles that may be concealed in structural seams and crevices of cabinets and shelving.