Home / Darkling Beetles (Tenebrionidae) / Confused Flour Beetle (Tribolium confusum)

Confused Flour Beetle (Tribolium confusum)

Confused flour beetle, a flour beetle species is infamous for infesting grains and flour, hence the name. It has the name confused attached to it since many mistake it for the red flour beetle majorly because of the similarity between the two.

Confused Flour Beetle

Scientific Classification

  • Family: Tenebrionidae
  • Genus: Tribolium
  • Scientific name: Tribolium confusum

Physical Description and Identification

Adult

Size: 3 – 6 mm (0.11 – 0.23 inches)

Color: The adult beetles have a reddish-brown body.

Other Characteristic Features: These oval-shaped spiders have a shiny flattened body. The region close to the tip of their antennae remains enlarged also having four clubs. Their head and upper region of the thorax has dense coverings of minute punctures. They even have a ridged pattern on their wing covers.

Tribolium confusum

Larva

The confused beetle flour larvae are small with a creamy-white or brownish body. On the last segment of the larva lie two pointed segments.

Confused Flour Beetle Larvae

Pupa

The pupae are light with a white or yellowish coloration.

Confused Flour Beetle Pupa

Egg

The white microscopic eggs mostly remain stuck on the flour surface.

Quick Facts

Adult lifespan5 – 8 months
Duration of larval stageAbout 2 weeks
DistributionNative: Africa
Invasive: United States of America
HabitatHome (particularly kitchen) warehouses, grocery stores, granaries, flour mills, and everywhere else where grains and food products are stored
PredatorsNot recorded
Seasons active fromOccurs throughout the year in warm regions
Diet of larvae and adultsGrain dust, broken grain, and fine-grind materials
Confused Flour Beetle Picture

Identifying the Damage Caused by Them

Besides feeding on the grains, the adults even lay eggs and excrete wastes inside them. The heavy infestation makes the flour and other grain products stinky, also encouraging mold formation in them. In this way they deteriorate the taste and quality of the food making them unfit for eating.

Some of the important measures to get rid of these beetles include storing them in tight-fitting containers and also cleaning the kitchen or pantry shelves on a regular basis. Setting traps in places where they are likely to inhabit is another way of controlling their numbers.

Did You Know

  • Both the confused flour and red flour beetle mostly infest cereals alongside other food items. Since both of them have a similar size and are found in the same habitat, there are chances of confusing one for the other. Their prominent distinguishing feature is the antennae, with the red flour beetles having four clubs of them in comparison to the three clubs of the confused flour beetle. The former also flies to short distances and occurs rarely than the latter.
  • They were used in scientific experimentation especially during the launch of the famous space craft Bion 1 launched in the year 1973,
Confused Flour Beetle Image

Image Source: ozanimals.com, grainscanada.gc.ca, cdn.branchcms.com, spiru.cgahr.ksu.edu, bugs.com, grainscanada.gc.ca

Confused flour beetle, a flour beetle species is infamous for infesting grains and flour, hence the name. It has the name confused attached to it since many mistake it for the red flour beetle majorly because of the similarity between the two.

Confused Flour Beetle

Physical Description and Identification

Adult

Size: 3 – 6 mm (0.11 – 0.23 inches)

Color: The adult beetles have a reddish-brown body.

Other Characteristic Features: These oval-shaped spiders have a shiny flattened body. The region close to the tip of their antennae remains enlarged also having four clubs. Their head and upper region of the thorax has dense coverings of minute punctures. They even have a ridged pattern on their wing covers.

Tribolium confusum

Larva

The confused beetle flour larvae are small with a creamy-white or brownish body. On the last segment of the larva lie two pointed segments.

Confused Flour Beetle Larvae

Pupa

The pupae are light with a white or yellowish coloration.

Confused Flour Beetle Pupa

Egg

The white microscopic eggs mostly remain stuck on the flour surface.

Quick Facts

Adult lifespan5 – 8 months
Duration of larval stageAbout 2 weeks
DistributionNative: Africa
Invasive: United States of America
HabitatHome (particularly kitchen) warehouses, grocery stores, granaries, flour mills, and everywhere else where grains and food products are stored
PredatorsNot recorded
Seasons active fromOccurs throughout the year in warm regions
Diet of larvae and adultsGrain dust, broken grain, and fine-grind materials
Confused Flour Beetle Picture

Identifying the Damage Caused by Them

Besides feeding on the grains, the adults even lay eggs and excrete wastes inside them. The heavy infestation makes the flour and other grain products stinky, also encouraging mold formation in them. In this way they deteriorate the taste and quality of the food making them unfit for eating.

Some of the important measures to get rid of these beetles include storing them in tight-fitting containers and also cleaning the kitchen or pantry shelves on a regular basis. Setting traps in places where they are likely to inhabit is another way of controlling their numbers.

Did You Know

  • Both the confused flour and red flour beetle mostly infest cereals alongside other food items. Since both of them have a similar size and are found in the same habitat, there are chances of confusing one for the other. Their prominent distinguishing feature is the antennae, with the red flour beetles having four clubs of them in comparison to the three clubs of the confused flour beetle. The former also flies to short distances and occurs rarely than the latter.
  • They were used in scientific experimentation especially during the launch of the famous space craft Bion 1 launched in the year 1973,
Confused Flour Beetle Image

Image Source: ozanimals.com, grainscanada.gc.ca, cdn.branchcms.com, spiru.cgahr.ksu.edu, bugs.com, grainscanada.gc.ca

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