We will be considering how to get rid of confused or red flour beetles using common bug control methods.
Flour beetles like the name suggests are found mainly in flour products. These scavengers lay their eggs on flour and will cause significant losses.
Flour beetle problems are common in both residential and commercial settings.
However, the worst place to have this problem is in storage centers. This can lead to huge losses in flour products, but this won’t happen if you know just what to do.
This is why we’ve also written this insect control guide to assist you as much as possible.
All the flour beetle extermination methods included here have been used with significant success. We are optimistic these will prove to be invaluable.
Flour Beetle Appearance
These tiny insects have caused the food processing industry heavy losses. Flour beetles are mistakenly packaged and shipped to the market. These products find their way into homes and can further worsen when stored with other cereals or flour products. So, how can one identify flour beetles?
Flour beetles consist of various species. These may look a bit different. However, the most common of these pests are the red and confused flour beetle varieties. Flour beetle body lengths usually range from 3 to 4 mm. They possess 6 legs and bear antennae on their heads. These antennae may come with or without clubs.
Red flour beetles do fly, but the same cannot be said of confused flour beetles. The red flour beetles don’t need to be transported through infested flour packaging companies. While it’s still possible, red flour beetles can find their way into your home by flying from fields. By checking these features, you should be able to distinguish and identify a flour beetle from other insects.
Flour beetles will lay eggs on flour and other dry and similar food products. Eggs laid by these bugs are hard to distinguish from flour products. This hatches into larvae and eventually to adulthood. The whole process (from eggs to maturity) can last 7 weeks.
Food Products Flour Beetles Will Feast on
Flour beetles will feed on flour products, but these aren’t their only targets. You will find these bugs in livestock feed, powdered milk, wheat bran, chocolate, cornmeal, and nutmeats.
Others are oats, rice, wheat, sunflower seeds, dried fruits, cotton seeds, and dried flowers, etc.
So, whether it’s a powder, dried grain or other similar food products, flour beetles are likely to be found within them. Nevertheless, there’s a solution to such problems no matter how challenging.
Inspection seeks to find out if what you suspect (flour beetle infestation) is present. This is an important part of bug control that cannot be overlooked. If you’re still clueless about where to inspect, look no further than your pantry, food cabinets, and shelves. You’ll also need to examine flour and grain packaging.
Wheat and bread flour are among the most targeted by these bugs. You should also put an eye out for all things grain. If there’s proper inspection, you should see adult flour beetles around such areas (in food packaging) if the problem exists. Consider using a torch if you have poor lighting.
Red Flour Beetle or Confused Flour Beetle?
Although these are the most common bugs that pose a menace, there’s no major difference in how they are managed. Most of the steps provided apply to both species.
How to Get Rid of Flour Beetles: Extermination Tips
Getting rid of flour beetles involves quite a few procedures. Plus, there are multiple ways this objective can be achieved.
We’ve included them in this section. As you read on, you’d find tested control strategies which will be of great benefit in combating your flour beetle problem.
After having identified the presence of flour beetles, the next step should be a deep cleaning. This is done by emptying the entire pantry, shelves, and cabinets used to store food.
Clean up all food particles and crumbs and vacuum immediately. This should remove all forms of grain or flour particles.
The purpose of this action is to remove favorable conditions that attract flour beetles. Try as much as possible to ensure that no food storage area is left unattended to. Use a toothpick to clear out the screw grooves followed by further vacuuming. This clears out eggs that may have been laid.
You can also wash such cabinets using a cloth and soapy water
So what happens to contaminated food? That’s a good question and the answer is simple! Throw them away! Keeping these will only worsen the problem. By disposing of contaminated flour or food, you are preventing the situation from becoming more complex.
However, you can return a contaminated product and ask for a refund, especially when it wasn’t long you bought it.
If there are difficult-to-reach areas you can clean, there’s a way out. By caulking such cracks and crevices, you’d essentially seal off all escape routes used to penetrate or get to your food. Caulking also helps contain an infestation from spreading. So, find these cracks and tight space and seal them off.
Use Insecticide Products
So many insecticide products are available and effective against flour beetles. You can purchase any of these to apply to infested areas. Common flour beetle insecticides include Gentrol Aerosol, Ultracide, Demon WP, Novacide, and Pyrid among others.
Several insecticide products are aerosols and need to be sprayed onto affected areas. We recommend you go for those insecticides with growth inhibitors. This is because like the name suggests, growth inhibitors inhibit further development of immature flour beetles. That is if they escape being killed in the first place.
Make sure to follow all use instructions. This helps prevent accidents that may arise from misuse. You also get the best results from the proper application.
Replacing Food to Cabinets and Pantries
After treatment, uncontaminated food should be returned to their place. Before this is done, you should have made sure the surfaces are dry and aerated. this helps dissipate any potential food contaminant that may linger.
However, you need to be careful to inspect your food. This is to help ensure that flour beetles haven’t gotten into it.
Exercise Caution When Buying Food
Where you buy your food counts a lot. This is because clearance houses and low-cost supermarkets have become targets for dishonest retailers. Most of these retailers know about the presence of foodborne insects but will rather put them on sale.
Instead, you can buy your food items the nearest and most reliable food retailers. That way, you’d be saving yourself the stress of having to deal with flour beetles.
The easiest way to find out if your cereal or flour food products are contaminated is by checking or inspection. The boxes or backs containing them shouldn’t have any holes. The presence of these tiny holes is an indication that flour beetles may have made such holes.
Find a food bag without any holes, or better still, consider buying elsewhere.
Change your Food Packaging
This is a preventive measure that helps keep these bugs away. Whenever you buy flour or grain products, consider changing your packaging. We recommend you transfer these into plastic bags. These should be properly sealed.
An alternative measure is to use a plastic container. This way, your food is kept safe and out of the reach of flour beetles.
Renew Your Shelf Liners
Are your shelf liners old? Do they need replacement? If yes, then consider replacing them with non-stick products. This is necessary because non-stick shelf liners are easy to clean and wipe off using a damp or wet cloth.
Therefore, when cleaning such surfaces, food particles come off easily. There’s also little likelihood that your shelf-liners will get stained. Plus, they last longer than most other materials.
Never Store Foods for Extended Periods
This is crucial to keeping flour beetles at bay. Foods stored for extended periods attract these bugs. This results in a full-blown infestation and only gets noticed when it’s too late. The best remedy will be to store a week’s worth of food.
This way, food is kept for a maximum period of one and it’s highly unlikely that flour beetles will contaminate it before it’s consumed.
Pro-Pest Pantry Traps
Pro-pest pantry traps have been used in many instances to control flour beetles. These traps come with pheromone pads that are placed in the middle of the trap. The pads act as baits and create a false illusion of the presence of food. Bugs get attracted and trace their way until they get stuck.
One of the best features of pro-pest pantry traps is that it can be used for a considerable period. At least 3 months. You can get as many as you wish, depending on how severe your flour beetle infestation is.
Getting rid of flour beetle infestation can be a difficult nut to crack when you don’t know what to do. However, the steps outlined here provide ample and effective tips on how to tackle the problem. Lest we forget, you can also call in a pest control technician if you can’t seem to get the job done.