Confused flour beetles are a common insect that attacks cereals, grains, spices, grain products, shelled nuts, dried fruit, chocolate, drugs, peas, beans and other similar materials. |
Most home owners at some time or another find insects in their flour, cereals, breakfast foods or dry baking ingredients in cupboards or other storage places. Infestations of this type are not necessarily the fault of the homemaker; the insects may gain entrance into the house as a result of buying some cereal product that already has become infested. Commercially prepared dry pet food is one of the primary sources of insect infestation in many households.
Confused flour beetles are flat, shiny, reddish-brown with an elongated body. Their antennae segments increase in size from the base to the tip to form a club that consists of four segments. These beetles cannot fly. They are often confused with the red flour beetle, which is how they got their name.
How can I tell if I have confused flour beetles?
Flour beetles are a common pest for homes and food processing facilities. Hundreds of flour beetles can live and reproduce in a small container of infested food, and they migrate and infest other food products. Typically, the first sign of confused flour beetles in your home is to see these pests flying around. Initially, you may have a few sightings and they will increase in numbers until you discover the source. Commercially, confused flour beetles can be discovered either by having sightings or through an extensive inspection.
Prevention is the most important step in confused flour beetle control.
Keep them out. Inspect all products and packages that come into your home or facility for evidence of pests. Commercially, reject pallets that have evidence of a pest infestation. Don't let them breed inside. Implement and follow food or stock rotation (first in, first out). Keep it clean. Clean up spilled food or product daily. Then clean some more. Schedule regular deep cleaning that targets hard-to-reach locations where flour, food debris, and other food material may build up, such as in food pantries, above drop ceilings, on vent fans, in floor cracks, etc. Seal as many of these areas as possible to prevent future build up. Don't just rely on visual inspections. If you have a past history of flour beetles, we recommend a pheromone trapping program.
Steps in controlling flour beetles in a home: The first step is finding and discarding infested foods in outdoor trash. Sanitation is very important to gain control. Clean areas where the infestation was found, including shelves, cabinets, drawers, built-in cutting boards, baseboards, cracks and crevices. Use a vacuum and soap and water to clean these areas. Properly dispose of the vacuum bag immediately after use. Clean up spilled food in a timely manner. Inspect any dried, stored food products before bringing them into your home to ensure they are not damaged or that packaging is not torn. Store dried foods in an air-tight glass, metal, or thick plastic containers. Paper, cardboard, and thin plastic bags will not prevent infestations. If pests are found in those products, then the infestation will be contained and not spread to other foods. Alternately, store susceptible products in a refrigerator or freezer. Clean old containers before filling them with fresh food. Rotate products, using older materials first. A good rule, for any given product, is that the first package you put on the shelf should be the first one you used. Avoid keeping excess stocks of susceptible food items. Items that are stored for long periods of time are more likely to become infested. Regularly check for and dispose of expired products, even if the product still looks good. It may be harboring a growing infestation.
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