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How to Control Flour Beetlesflour beetle

It can be quite alarming to go into your pantry to pull out your flour only to realize that it is crawling with bugs. These frustrated pests are called Flour beetles and they are becoming a more and more common problem in households, grocery stores and commercial food packing facilities.

There are several species of flour beetles (or bran bugs as they’re so lovingly called)that are notorious for invading food storage areas which include the confused flour beetle, the red flour beetle, the broadhorned flour beetle among others. Adult flour beetles measure between 3 and 4 mm in length and appear reddish brown in color. Flour beetles don’t like to eat or lay eggs in grain, but rather do so in flour and cereal products.

Flour beetles often infest mills and food processing facilities which may possibly be the reason they made their way to your home, by being accidently packed into a food product package at such a factory. Flour beetles won’t limit themselves to flour though as they are known to devour a variety of foods like dried fruits, sunflower seeds, cornmeal, crackers, cereals, rice, wheat, oats, wheat bran, beans, chocolate, legume seeds, powdered milk, spices, pet food, livestock feed, birdseed, cottonseed, dried flowers and even poisonous baits. For workers in the agricultural industry they can be a pain by feasting on grains that are meant to feed the livestock.

If you have flour beetles crawling around in your pantry, action must be taken quickly to prevent the risk of significant damage and contamination. Solutions Pest and Lawn carries everything you need to control flour beetles and also offer free DIY advice so you can eliminate this pest properly.

 

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How to Get Rid of Flour beetles: 3 Step Solution

Like most other pantry pests, getting rid of flour beetles can be quite easy and involves a detailed cleanup of infested areas, laying out traps and spraying chemical pesticides that will kill Flour beetles and repel them from your home. Check out our easy-to-follow steps below:

Step 1: Thoroughly inspect your pantries and cupboards. Start by emptying your cabinets of all of your stored dry food products and look for the source of the flour beetle infestation. Once the infestation is found, immediately discard the item in a sealed plastic bag. Also at this point in time, we recommend removing any food item that you don’t intend on eating or is expired. Decluttering your food storage of excess food is an important part of reducing the threat of flour beetles or any other pantry pests.


Step 2:  Once you have decluttered your pantry and removed unwanted foods and foods you feel are infested, vacuum and clean the shelves and surfaces of the pantry. Be very thorough in vacuuming so your can suck up any eggs that are laying around in your pantry. Make sure to replace your vacuum bag and dispose the old bag.


Step 3:  Once all your infested food items have been thrown out and areas have been cleaned, it will be time to treat with insecticides. Spray the pantry and all the cracks and crevices with  Novacide Flea & Tick Killer or Microcare Insecticide Aerosol among other options of insecticides. These are both excellent safe to use sprays and provide long-time control. We also suggest applying an Insect Growth Regulator Gentrol Point Source IGR, which is also available in an aerosol spray and has a crack and crevice tip for easy application.


Step 4: Lastly, we recommend installing pheromone traps to capture any remaining flour bugs that were able to survive the first three steps.  Pheromone traps contain an attractant that lures flour beetle bugs and other pantry pests and are a good tool to monitor future insect activity in your pantry once the population has been eradicated. Place these traps on shelves directly next to suspect food and do not hang them or put them in areas where the beetles would find it difficult to get to it.


Follow these steps as we have laid out and your flour beetle problem will be no more. Browse our granary flour beetle products below and if you ever have any questions or concerns, we have pest control experts standing by to assist you via email, phone or online live chat.

 

Learn More About The Flour Beetle

The flour beetle is a catch all term used to describe two main types of flour beetle species. The species are the confused flour beetle and the red flour beetle. Both of these flour beetle species look the same and in fact, so much so that one of them is known as the “confused” flour beetle because of how often they can be mistaken with the red flour beetle.


The way to best tell these two flour beetle species apart is by looking at their antennae. The red flour beetle antenna ends abruptly in a distinct , three-segmented club while the confused flour beetle's antennae gets gradually larger towards the tip and ends with a four-segmented club.


Red flour beetles are more of an issue in the southern part of the United States while confused flour beetles are more common in northern states. While the red flour beetle adults are exceptional fliers, the confused flour beetle doesn’t fly at all. Both flour beetle species have shiny, reddish brown colored bodies and are about the same size and shape.


Flour beetles are a common problem found at food packaging facilities, which makes it quite common for flour beetles to be packaged in your favorite grains and cereals and shipped to your local grocery store where you may grab a box off the shelf without knowing that they are in there. Next thing you know, they are in your pantry and have a whole plethora of different food options to infest.


The presence of a flour beetle should be of great concern to a homeowner and to a manager of a food packaging facility as they can result in loss of revenue and damage to the business when the public finds out a certain food item has flour beetles in it.


If you have a flour beetle infestation, action should be taken quickly to control the infestation immediately to prevent the spread of flour beetles in the home.

Flour Beetles At A Glance


Red and confused flour beetles are among the most common pantry pests which can be found in the home or at the supermarket. Flour beetles have chewing mouthparts, but fortunately they do not bite or sting.


Flour beetles commonly infest grain in large numbers, but do not infest grain that has been undamaged or are in their untampered pure state. Adult flour beetles are drawn to light, but will go when disturbed they will find dark secluded areas for cover.

 

Flour beetles can be found not only inside infested grain products, but also hiding in cracks and crevices where grain may have spilled. Flour beetles have an affinity for grain with high moisture content and can give off a gray hue to the grain they are infesting. The beetles also give off a displeasing odor in the products they contaminate, and their presence encourages mold growth in grain so we recommend not trying to salvage any food item they have infested.

The Flour Beetle Life Cycle

The life cycle of either flour beetle species is very similar with the average life span taking about a year. However in some instances, flour beetles have been known to live as long as 4 years if the conditions are favorable to them.


Much like how flies and fleas go through a full metamorphosis, flour beetles do the same. The stages of a flour beetle metamorphosis starts with the egg phase, moves to the larvae stage, then the flour beetles goes into pupation, and finally emerges as an adult flour beetle.


Female adult flour beetles lay their small, white eggs loosely in flour or other food material that they find. The eggs, which are coated with a sticky glue-like secretion, become covered with flour or whatever grain product they have been deposited into and readily adhere to the sides of sacks, boxes, and other containers. These eggs are so small that they are difficult to see via the naked eye.


Female adult flour beetles produce a couple of eggs daily and leave them in the food that is being consumed and has the ability to lay 300-400 eggs during her lifetime. The egg laying can last several months.


Flour beetle eggs eventually hatch into small maggot-like larvae which are slender and cylindrical in appearance. When fully developed, the flour beetle larvae is 3/16 inch long and colored white with a slightly yellow tint. Once the larvae has consumed enough, it transforms into a small pupa. Initially white in color, the pupa gradually changes to yellow and then brown, and shortly afterward transforms into an adult flour beetle. Under the right climate conditions, the period from egg to adult flour beetle takes about 6 weeks.


The small size of the flour beetle enables it to work its way inside many sealed containers. Flour beetles enjoy a wide range of foods including cereals, grains, spices, grain products, shelled nuts, dried fruit, chocolate, drugs, peas, beans and other similar materials.


The Diet Of a Flour Beetle


While there name may suggest that they only enjoy eating flour, flour beetles do not only consume or infest flour products.  Flour beetles enjoy a number of different pantry foods including but not limited to: stored cereals, nuts, spices, coffee, dried fruits and cocoa.


Flour beetles are a bit different from your typical pantry pest as they do not consume whole grain kernels such as other pantry pests like the indian meal moth or the cigarette beetle. Flour beetles scavenge around for food, feasting on the grain only after the seed coat has been broken. An adult female flour beetle deposits her eggs directly on flour, cereals, dry pet food and similar stored food products.

Preliminary Steps To Take For Treating Flour Beetles

We cannot stress enough that as soon as you realize that you have a flour beetle problem in your home pantry, you must spring into action and implement a control program. Do not delay and cause the infestation to further fester. However, this doesn’t mean buying some insecticide and going bonkers spraying all of your food.


Before any control products become involved it is necessary to have a thorough inspection and sanitation to achieve the greatest success in eliminating a flour beetle infestation.


Start by empty all your pantry cabinets, shelves and closets where you have seen flour beetle activity or where you suspect the may be residing. Any food items which you have found flour beetles in must be tossed away in tightly sealed plastic bags. This will help to contain the flour beetles until the garbage man arrives to make a pickup.


If you are uncertain about whether a food product has flour beetles in it, stow it away in a plastic bag and monitor it every few days to see if any flour beetles are crawling around in it. If the item indeed has flour beetles in it, at some point they will attempt to escape the encasement you’ve put them in and will be visibly seen.


If this occurs, discard the infested food item immediately. If you don’t see any flour beetles after at least 2 months, then you can safely assume it is flour beetle free.

As with any other pantry pest problem, we recommend as a time saving measure to toss away all the cardboard boxed products in your pantry. We understand that you may not want to do that since it’d be a waste of food but otherwise you would have to open up and inspect EVERY item for the flour beetle activity which can be time-consuming.

Vacuuming Flour Beetles In Your Pantry


Once your pantry has been emptied out and all the suspected items have been tossed, you can then move onto sanitation. This includes both vacuuming and utilizing cleaning products to suck up and wipe down your pantry. Using a hand vacuum or attachment on your normal vacuum, vacuum all closets, shelves and baseboards. This helps by eliminating microscopic eggs which you won’t be able to see.

Flour beetles essentially lay eggs with an adhesive that is like glue which sticks and secures the egg where they wish for it to be. Because of this, wiping or vacuuming along won’t alone eliminate all the flour beetle eggs but will at least get some of them.

Flour Beetle Treatment Options

Once you’ve done a thorough cleanup of your pantry, you can then move on to using control products.


The product we highly recommend to use for getting rid of flour beetles is  Novacide Flea & Tick Killer. Novacide comes with a special straw applicator which makes it easier to treat cracks and crevices where both adult flour beetles and larvae like to hide.


Make sure to treat all your pantry cabinets– not just where you suspect they are hiding.Flour beetles are tiny and move quickly to hiding places when they are disturbed, especially during control treatment so just make sure you get good coverage over all the hot spots.

Best Insecticide for Flour Beetle Control

While the pantry and kitchen cabinets will do just fine with applying an aerosol spray like Novacide, there may be other parts of the home which may need treatment to if the flour beetles have traveled there.


Flour beetle sightings have been found in laundry areas, garages, basements and other areas where items like pet food and bird seed may be stored. However, using an aerosol in these spaces may not be such a good idea.


For other parts of your home we recommend spraying Reclaim IT Insecticide. Reclaim IT is an insecticide concentrate that has little to no odor and can be easily mixed with water and sprayed on carpeting, baseboards and other areas where lesser flour beetles might be hiding.


Mix .5 to 1 oz of Reclaim per gallon of water and apply the mixture over 800 sq/ft of area. Apply this product at least once a month until you no longer see any flour beetles. The great thing about Reclaim is that it can also ward off at least 70 other problematic insects.


Apply the product to baseboards, moldings and floor joists (if visible – especially in crawl spaces or basements). Another place to not forget to treat is your attic as they may have reached this area. Flour beetles are known to thrive in attic areas.


Traps for Flour Beetle Control

After applying insecticide treatment to your pantry and the rest of your home we recommend placing some pantry pest traps to capture any lingering flour beetles such as Pro-Pest Pantry Moth & Beetle Traps. While they are labeled for pantry moths and beetles, they can also work against flour beetles.


These traps are excellent because they contain pheromones or sex attractants to lure unsuspecting adult flour beetles to the trap. Once borers crawl or fly toward the trap, they’ll get captured on the glue trap with no way to escape.


Set these traps in the back of your pantry since flour beetles like to hide in secluded areas where there isn’t much light. These flour beetle pheromone traps will remain active for 2-3 months and should be replaced after 3 months; they also made need to be replaced sooner if they become full with captured flour beetles.


Be sure to keep the traps fresh so they’re working at their optimum intended level and you’ll get the most success in these flour beetle traps trapping adult flour beetles and putting a stop to their reproduction. By being diligent in working all of the following steps, flour beetles will no longer be a problem in your pantry.

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