Flour Beetles – The Common Kitchen Cupboard Invader
Flour beetles, also known as grain beetles, are a common pest found in UK domestic kitchens and commercial settings. As their name suggests, they are attracted to flour, but they are also attracted to other stored grains products, such as cereals, crackers, dried fruits, coffee, and nuts. They require grain that has been damaged by storage, transportation, or other pests as their food source.
The Flour beetle thrives in dark, humid environments, rendering your kitchen cupboard and pantries ideal breeding grounds. If you have a Flour beetle infestation, any product they have occupied will be contaminated with cast off skins, dead beetles, liquid waste and faecal pellets, and should be disposed of immediately.
Life Cycle and Appearance
In the UK, the two most common Flour beetles are the Confused flour beetle (Tribolium Confusum) and the Rust Red flour beetle (Tribolium Castaneum).
Both species of Flour beetle have 4 distinct life cycle stages. The stages from egg to adult can take between 40 to 90 days, with adults living for around 3 years. All 4 stages can be found in infested products. Confused flour beetles and Rust Red flour beetles look very similar throughout the life span.
Egg: Female Flour beetles can lay up to 450 eggs, depending on environmental conditions, and take around 1 to 2 weeks to hatch.
Larvae: At this stage, both Confused flour beetles and Rust Red flour beetles are slender and cylindrical in shape, and whiteish yellow in colour. Larvae develop between 5 to 10 weeks.
Pupa: Fully grown larvae transform to pupa, the final stage before metamorphosis into adult. This usually takes around 5 to 10 days.
Adult: Both species are around 3-4mm in length and reddish-brown in colour. They look very similar but can be distinguished by paying close attention to the antennae. The antennae of the Red Rust flour beetle have a distinct three segmented club, while the antennae of the Confused flour beetle are thinner and thread-like with a slight thickening at the tip, ending in a four segmented club.
Flour beetles are a prolific species that breed throughout the year in warm environments. They reproduce quickly and can become a major problem if not controlled. To prevent and control Flour beetle infestations, it is important to:
- Keep stored food products in airtight containers
- Inspect and remove any infested food stuffs immediately. Ensure you wrap any infested materials in plastic bags prior to disposal
- Thoroughly clean the area. These tiny beetles can thrive in small crevices in cupboards and pantries; therefore, it is best practice to use a vacuum cleaner to ensure any tiny amounts of spilled flour, crumbs etc are fully removed
- Regularly check for and remove any further infested items
Call the Experts
Here at Avon Pest Control, we have professional experience and expertise in irradicating stored product pests from UK households.
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