Confused by Confused Flour Beetles?

Confused Flour Beetles and Other Pantry Pests


Pests in your pantry are as common as grass and are not only in your home but are in the grocery store and even in the factory where your cereal, beans or flour was packaged. There are different types of bugs, such as confused flour beetles, that you are feeding and giving a nice home to; beetles, weevils and moths live in all stages, egg, larva, pupa and adult, at the same time in your kitchen cupboard. Even dry pet food and bird seed can harbor these pests.


You may first notice that your dry goods are infested by seeing a weevil walk across your kitchen counter or a small moth flying out of your cupboard. At that time you need to try to find the main source of these bugs. It may well be an unopened package of pasta, popcorn or cracked wheat; something you didn’t expect. Almost every kind of dry human food is susceptible. The confused flour beetle and red flower beetle look so much alike you need an expert to tell the difference but the main ones are; meal moths, carpet beetles, grain or flour beetles and cigarette and drugstore beetles. Some weevils and beetles specialize and only infest animal products such as meat or cheese or beans.


Once you have seen the pests they have probably already spread to other packages. You need to look into each package, especially the opened ones, and throw away the ones that are infested. If you don’t see the insect, look for webbing in corners of a package or tiny holes in the paper or plastic bag. When you are sure you have destroyed all the infested packages wash the cupboard with soap and water giving special attention to he seams and cracks where pupa and larva can hide. A vacuum cleaner helps a lot.


Pheromone traps work to attract the male Indian meal moth but not beetles or weevils. The best protection against confused flour beetles and other pantry pests is prevention and cleanliness. Never leave packages open on the shelves. Put the contents, including pet foods, in containers that have tight lids. Always clean any spilled food, even a small amount, right away, especially in the cracks and seams of the cupboard. Finish one container before opening another. Never mix the used one with a new one and always clean the container each time you change the contents. Check before you buy to be sure all your packages are unbroken. Pests can also breed in rodent nests and rodent baits. These need to be checked and removed if infested.


If you have the space, putting dry food including flour, cereals and beans in the refrigerator or freezer will keep them pantry pest free. If they are stored in a cupboard, use them soon and do not keep dry food for long periods. These confused flour beetles and other pantry pests are not actually harmful but may not be very appetizing.