Adult: 1/8-inch long. Larvae: 1/8 to1/4-inch long.


Adult is reddish brown. Larvae are yellowish-white.

Typically, these beetles can be found not only inside infested grain products, but in cracks and crevices where grain may have spilled.

The red and confused flour beetles may be present in large numbers in infested grain, but are unable to attack sound or undamaged grain (Walter). The adults are attracted to light, but will go towards cover when disturbed. Typically, these beetles can be found not only inside infested grain products, but in cracks and crevices where grain may have spilled. They are attracted to grain with high moisture content and can cause a grey tint to the grain they are infesting. The beetles give off a displeasing odor, and their presence encourages mold growth in grain.

Red and confused flour beetles attack stored grain products such as flour, cereals, meal, crackers, beans, spices, pasta, cake mix, dried pet food, dried flowers, chocolate, nuts, seeds, and even dried museum specimens.

The confused and red flour beetles cannot feed on whole undamaged grain; they are, however, often found among dust, fines, and dockage. The beetles do cause damage by feeding but probably cause more problems by contaminating the grain. Large numbers of dead bodies, cast skins, and fecal pellets, as well as liquids (quinones), can produce extremely pungent odors in grain. The nauseous smell and taste caused by infestations of confused and red flour beetles can result in poor feed consumption by livestock and rejection by grain buyers. In most cases, the presence of live insects in a grain bin indicates that moisture buildup and molds are also present. The combination of these three factors can greatly reduce the quality and value of grain.

Red Rust Flour Beetle Prevention Tips

  • The first step in managing an infestation is to find and remove the source of the infestation. Flour beetles can feed and survive on even the smallest bits of grain, so cleaning is a crucial part of controlling these pests. When attempting to locate the source, be sure to consider all likely food items including, dry pet food, dried flowers, nuts, birdseed, and all grain products. Be sure to look for “leaky packages.” Small bits of meal or grain spilling from a package are often a signal that an infestation is present. Be sure to locate all infested material and discard it by placing the material into a sealed bag or container and throwing it into an outside garbage container. You may also place the infested material into a freezer for four to five days. These beetles may survive freezer times shorter than this.
  • Keep in mind that these beetles may infest areas other than the pantry. Be sure to inspect spices, pet food, and flower arrangements. Also keep in mind that some stuffing in furniture or stuffed animals may have natural products that these beetles could feed on. Also be aware of areas in which any of these products may have spilled, like under the refrigerator or stove. These beetles are able to locate very small bits of food. Once all of the infested material has been removed, be sure to vacuum and clean up the area around the infestation.
  • If you have shelf paper, it would be wise to remove it, thoroughly clean under it with soap and hot water, and replace it with new paper. Be sure to pay close attention to the cracks and crevices of any cabinets. To prevent re-infestation, all grain products should be stored in containers with tight fitting lids, or stored in the freezer. Also consider where the infestation came from. It is likely that you could have a re-infestation by purchasing infested grain products from the same business. When shopping, look for those “leaky packages”. If you suspect a beetle infestation, don’t buy the product.

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