Summary: Have you ever found insects crawling around in your box of Lucky Charms? Could be a flour beetle. The flour beetle will not bite or sting people, but it does millions of dollars in damages to our food supplies every year.
Many insecticides will not work on flour beetles. The only type you can efficiently use is a residual insecticide such as Talstar Pro or Suspend SC.
The flour beetle is a species of beetle that feeds on products containing flour. This insect eats any type of flour from products being processed in mills to grains stored in pantries. Because of the beetle's small size, though, it will not eat undamaged grains. Instead, it eats foods like cereal that are broken up and easier to eat. The flour beetle will eat small pieces, as well as grain dust that may accumulate in food containers or in cupboards.
It is very important to get rid of flour beetle infestations before their populations start growing. Female flour beetles can lay a few hundred eggs at a time. The eggs of flour beetles are extremely small. They are usually white and sticky. The eggs grow into larvae and the larvae feed on grains to help them grow into pupae. After about eight days, the pupae become adult flour beetles.
Adult flour beetles are usually no more than 1/8 of an inch in length. They have six legs and two clubbed antennae. They are usually shiny and flat. Though you'd think that these bugs would not have a long lifespan because of their tiny size, they can actually live up to three years if they find a good source of food, and if you don't accidentally cook them in your pasta.
There are two main types of flour beetles: the red flour beetle and the confused flour beetle. Sound confusing? They're not. Actually, the red flour beetle is most prevalent in southern states, while the confused flour beetle is mainly found in northern states.
There are two main differences between the red flour beetle and the confused flour beetle. The red flour beetle flies easily, but the confused flour beetle cannot fly at all. The red flour beetle's antennae are enlarged in distinct segments, while the antennae of the confused flour beetle smoothly enlarge towards the tips.
Flour beetles will not sting or bite humans. Allergies are the worst reaction people can experience from flour beetles. Also, flour beetles do not cause any structural damage to homes or eat up any furniture. While your groceries may not be safe, at least your living space is.
Flour beetles can become pests not only in homes, but also in flour mills, grocery stores, and warehouses. Their main foods of choice include beans, nuts, dried fruits, chocolate, and any type of grain. Don't forget to check the dog food.
If you discover these pests crawling around your favorite foods you need to examine all the food in your cupboards or pantry to ensure that there are no flour beetles hiding out. They can infest unopened boxes of food, as easily as those foods that have been opened. Pay attention to foods that have been long forgotten in the back of your pantry shelves. Your oldest stored foods are most susceptible. Unfortunately, the most effective thing to do to is to throw out the contaminated food. Don't forget to take out the garbage immediately, too. If you really don't want to give up your infested bowtie pasta, you can go one of two routes. You can heat the grains for at least 45 minutes or you can store them in the freezer for at least three days.
Flour beetles crawl into grains in flour mills, travel to the grocery store and wind up in your home. If you recently purchased the contaminated food items you may be able to receive a refund from the store where you made the purchase. And, I'm sure you're kicking yourself right now if you didn't save your receipt.
The most important treatment plan is to fully eliminate all of the flour beetles from your cabinets. Once you've thrown out the contaminated foods, take all of the uncontaminated foods and set them on a counter or table. You'll need to vacuum out your cabinets from top to bottom. This is done most easily with a Dust Buster or a crevice hose attachment. When you are vacuuming make sure to go through every crack and crevice, as flour beetles and their larvae can easily hide out in these areas. Also, be sure to vacuum underneath the shelves in your cabinets. This treatment should eradicate most of the flour beetles that are camping out.