Pest Identification: Flour Beetles
Most Common Types
Flour beetles are part of the darkling beetle family which contains more than 20,000 members. Also known as “bran bugs” the three most common types are the confused flour beetle, the red flour beetle, and the saw-toothed grain beetle.
What They Look Like
Flour beetles are slender and small, ranging from 1/10- to 1/8-inch long. The small size and flattened shape of the beetle allows it to enter poorly sealed food packages. Their bodies are reddish-brown and the beetles produce tiny yellowish-white larvae.
Where They Live
Flour beetles are cosmopolitan insects, which means their range extends across most of the globe.
Where They Nest
As their name indicates, flour beetles live in cereal silos. In the home, flour beetles may infest stored grains, cereal, flour, cake mixes, crackers, shelled nuts, bread, dried beans, dried fruit, pasta, candy, sugar, spices, and even tobacco. Female flour beetles lay eggs, which grow into adults within six to eight weeks. There may be up to five generations a year and the several growth stages of these insects (egg, larva, pupa and adult) may be present simultaneously in infested products.
Steps to Prevent
Because we heat our houses, flour beetle infestations can occur any time of year, including winter. The first sign of a problem is often the sight of small brown beetles or mealworms in cupboards or on counters. Once an infestation is confirmed, look for the source. Discard any infested foodstuffs and make sure to check inside pet food bags. To prevent infestations, inspect all packages for small holes and rips when they are brought home from the market. Store all food packages in glass or plastic containers with tight-fitting lids. Clean and vacuum shelves thoroughly, paying special attention to cracks and crevices.
Are They Harmful?
While the sight of flour beetles in your food may be disgusting, they are not poisonous and do not bite.