Species category: Stored product pest
Scientific name: Tribolium castaneum; Tribolium confusum
There are many different species of Red Flour Beetle ranging from 2.3- 5.75mm in length. As the name suggests, they are Reddish-brown in colour or black/brown. Although small in size, they have a long body and distinctive segmented antennae with three large club-like segments at the end.
Serious pests of cereal products, including grain, flour, porridge oats and rice bran. Flour beetles are most commonly encountered in bakeries, flour mills and other agricultural stored grain areas.
Other products which may be attacked are oil seed, oil cake, nuts, dried fruit, spices, chocolate – even bones and other animal products.
The beetle lays its eggs in damaged grain and are prolific reproducers, laying 100s of eggs in a breeding season. They are not cold hardy, so only overwinter under warm conditions.
They reside in the smallest of crevices, and are a particular problem in machinery where cereal and other food residues accumulate.
Flour beetles are a secondary grain pest and increase the feeding damage done by primary pests. When present in large numbers, flour beetles:
Make flour prone to moulding and will also turn the product grey.
Taint commodities with secretions from scent glands.