The Flour Beetles class has two commonly seen types in WA – the Rust Red Flour Beetle (Tribolium oryzae) and the Confused Flour Beetle (Tribolium confusum). Their physical characteristics are similar and this has led to the name ‘Confused Flour Beetle’ however the main difference can be seen in their antennae with the Rust Red Beetle having a distinct 3-segmented club at the tip whilst the Confused Flour Beetle has an indistinct 5 or 6 segmented antenna.
Size: both adult beetles are 3 – 4mm long with their larvae growing up to 6mm in length
Color: both adult beetles are reddish-brown in color with their larvae white in color
Breeding: life cycles of both these beetles are 4 – 8 weeks. Females lay up to 400 eggs loosely among food materials.
The Rust Red Flour Beetle is frequently found on farms in Western Australia where it feeds on stored cereals, grains, stock feed, seeds, and even spices. The Confused Flour Beetle has a diet similar to that of its Rust Red counterpart but it’s interesting to know that neither beetle can eat whole grains and tend to consume cereal dust and broken kernels.