Pantry Pests: Other Common Stored Product Pests
Red and Confused Flower Beetles
Adult flour beetles are red-brown, slender, and about 1/8-inch long. Both species (red and confused) look very similar, but can be distinguished by looking at the antennae. The confused flour beetle’s antennae gradually enlarge toward the tip, ending in a four segmented club. The red flour beetle’s antennae become club-like very quickly and the club has three segments.
Tribolium confusum (Confused Flour Beetle), Tribolium Castaneum (Red Flour Beetle)
Over the span of the beetle’s lifetime, consisting of two to three years, females produce roughly 300 to 500 eggs. They lay two to three of these clear, white, sticky eggs daily in cracks, in bags, or trough the mesh of flour bags. The eggs hatch in 12 days and the larvae undergo 5 – 12 moults, completing development in about 30 days. The life cycle, egg to egg, can be completed in 49 to 90 days.
Confused and red flour beetles are major pests when it comes to flour. They cannot feed on whole grains, but are found abundantly in grain dust, flour, dried fruit, nuts, chocolate, snuff, spices, rodent baits and drugs.
Adult varied carpet beetles are about 1/16 to 1/8 inch long, and generally oval in appearance. The back of these insects are spotted with grey-yellow, brown and white scales.
The larvae are 3/16 to ¼ inch long and wider at the end of the body then at the head. They are covered with a series of light and dark-brown stripes that run across the body. Carpet beetle larvae have three dense tufts of bristles at the rear end.
Female carpet beetles lay about 40 eggs in a lifetime. The eggs hatch in 10 to 20 days, and the larvae develop in 222 to 323 days, remaining as pupae for 10 to 13 days. There is one generation of carpet beetles per year. The adult lives 14 to 44 days.
The carpet beetle larvae feed on a wide variety of foods, including carpets, woollens, skins, furs, stuffed animals, leather bindings on books, feathers, silk and plant products. Adults feed on pollen, are good fliers, and enter homes through open doors and windows.
Lady Bugs, Lady Asian Beetles
Lady Asian Beetles, know more commonly as “lady bugs” are considered beneficial insects. They were introduced from Asia to help control pests such as aphids, which are damaging to crops. When temperature drops and fields have been harvested, lady asian beetles seek shelter, flying to warm structures to board up for the winter. They don’t do much in the home, except annoy people with their presence. They can bite hard enough to pierce the skin, but the bites are rare.
Lady Asian bugs do not do damage structures as do other pests such as termites, ants, wasps, and other insects do. They neither chew clothes or other materials, nor do the larvae crawl in various places to cause annoyance. They mostly stay in the cracks and crevices of walls but become a nuisance if they enter the living area of homes.
The very first and best approach to prevent these beetles from coming into your dwelling is to keep them out by keeping windows closed and all the cracks sealed. Sweeping and vacuuming is another effective method to remove these bugs from your home.
Related: Lady Asian Beetle Blog.