The red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneium (Herbst), is a prominent stored product in the southern United States and in Canada. It originated form Asia. These pests attack grains, peas, beans, shelled buts, dried fruits and spices. They have a strong preference for flour with a high moisture content. As these beetles consume flour, it discolours and develops an rank odour.
They are very common in grocery stores, homes, mills and food processing facilities. They gain access to homes, stores and facilities by flying in from fields and through packaged items which are already infested. Red flour beetles crawl into packages through broken seals (even the smallest gap), and once they infest, they spread to other products in the pantry. Adult red flour beetles are 1/8” long and reddish brown in colour. They have 3 segmented clubs on their antennae. Adult red flour beetles have functional wings and fly. Their wings are ridged and sparsely covered with minute punctures. They look identical to the Confused Flour Beetle except for differences in their antennae and thorax. They are attracted to light.
The life cycle of the red flour beetle averages 7 weeks from egg to adult. Adult female red flour beetles can live for many months, and some for greater than a year.
If you find these pests near or within your pantry products an infestation is likely.
Learn more about how to get rid of pantry pests.
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