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Confused Flour Beetles

Confused Flour Beetle Control: Protect Your Home or Business

Illustration of Confused Flour Beetle


  • The confused flour beetle looks similar to its relative, the red flour beetle, making them hard to tell apart.
  • Though they have wings, these insects cannot fly.
  • In addition to flour and pantry items, they may eat dehydrated plant and animal specimens preserved in museums.


Adult confused flour beetles are shiny reddish-brown with a flat oval-shaped body. This pest is about one-eighth inch long with ribbed wings. The easiest way to differentiate them from similar species are their antennae, which have distinct four-segmented clubs at the ends.

The confused flour beetle goes through three life stages before reaching maturity. The eggs are tiny and difficult to see without a microscope. Full-grown larvae are three-sixteenths of an inch with yellowish, worm-like bodies and a dark head. These develop into pupae, which are lighter in color.

How Do Confused Flour Beetles Get Inside Buildings?

These pantry pests live, breed, and eat in packages or bins storing whole-grains and other finely ground starches. Sometimes, an infestation begins with the manufacturer. A brand new sack of flour or box of cereal from the grocery store could harbor confused flour beetles.

Confused flour beetles may live in granaries or warehouses that ship and hold grain or animal feed. They travel between food sources, making it difficult to remove them permanently. Improper cleaning or lack of product rotation allows the pests to spread into new merchandise.

Signs of A Confused Flour Beetle Infestation

  • Taste – Contaminated foods have a moldy flavor resulting from the beetle’s shed skin, waste, and secretions.
  • Smell – When opening new or old bags of flour, you might discover a foul odor.
  • Dust and Pinholes – Confused flour beetles leave dust around shelves or inside cabinets. You may also notice holes in packaging where they enter and exit.
  • Moisture – Compartments with a lot of humidity or mold are suitable spaces for breeding.

Problems Caused by Confused Flour Beetles

Confused flour beetles do not cause damage by feeding, but instead through contamination. They don’t carry any known diseases. However, it is nearly impossible to separate the pests, their larvae, and eggs from food. You must throw away any items that could have come into contact with these insects.

Markets, mills, and manufacturers that specialize in bread, pasta, oats, and even tree nuts must routinely screen and rotate goods. A confused flour beetle infestation can result in huge losses of time, product, and profits if left unchecked.

Prevention Tips

The most important step to avoid getting confused flour beetles is cleaning. Vacuum crevices between appliances and along floorboards regularly. Keep dry foods in clear containers with tight lids. You should also thoroughly wash storage bins before refilling. If you have a problem with confused flour beetles, contact Western Pest Services today.

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