Confused flour beetle

Confused flour beetle
Tribolium confusum
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Family: Tenebrionidae
Genus: Tribolium
Species: Tribolium confusum
Binomial name
Tribolium confusum
Jacquelin du Val, 1863

The confused flour beetle (Tribolium confusum), a type of darkling beetle known as a flour beetle, is a common pest insect known for attacking and infesting stored flour and grain. They are one of the most common and most destructive insect pests for grain and other food products stored in silos, warehouses, grocery stores, and the home.[1]



The confused flour beetle is very similar in appearance and habit to the red flour beetle , Tribolium castaneum and the destructive flour beetle, Tribolium destructor. Both the confused flour beetle and red flour beetle are small, about 1/8 to 1/4 inch in length, and reddish-brown in color. The primary distinguishing physical difference is the shape of their antennae: the confused flour beetle's antennae increase gradually in size and have four clubs, while the red flour beetle's antennae have only three. Additionally, red flour beetles have been known to fly short distances, while confused flour beetles do not.Tribolium destructor is much darker than either and less common.

The "confused" in the beetle's name is due to the erratic tracking pattern the beetle leaves when walking, often leaving distinctive tracking through flour and other dusts.


While confused (and red) flour beetles cannot feed on whole, undamaged grain, they are often found in large numbers in infested grains, feeding off of broken grain, grain dust, and other household food items like flour, rice, dried fruit, nuts, and beans. Both types of beetles are often found not only in infested grains, but in crevices in pantries and cabinets as well. Damage to food is caused somewhat by the beetles' feeding, but also by their dead bodies, fecal pellets, and foul-smelling secretions. In addition to creating a foul odor, the beetles' presence encourages the growth of mold.[2]

In popular culture

In an episode of Mythbusters, the flour beetle, as well as cockroaches and fruit flies, were tested to determine their resistance to radiation in the event of a nuclear holocaust. In the end, the flour beetle was the only species tested to live 30 days past exposure to 100,000 rads (100 times the lethal dose to human beings, according to promotions of the episode).


  1. ^ Lyon.
  2. ^ Baldwin and Fasulo. 2010.


See also

Home stored product entomology

External links

  • Close-up photo on
  • Tribolium species are hard to identify. Here are four species side by side. Note that several species of Tribolium may occur in the same infestation.Colpolon

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • confused flour beetle — noun Etymology: so called from its being confused with the red flour beetle (Tribolium castaneum) : a cosmopolitan beetle (Tribolium confusum) that feeds both as larva and adult chiefly on damaged grain called also bran bug * * * a brown flour… …   Useful english dictionary

  • confused flour beetle — a brown flour beetle, Tribolium confusum, that feeds on stored grain and grain products. [appar. so called because it is confused with similar beetles] * * * …   Universalium

  • confused flour beetle — noun A beetle of the species …   Wiktionary

  • Flour beetle — Flour beetles Scientific classification Domain: Eukaryota Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Arthropoda Subphyl …   Wikipedia

  • List of beetle species recorded in Britain - superfamily Tenebrionoidea — The following is a list of beetle species of the superfamily Tenebrionoidea recorded in Britain. For other beetle species, see List of beetle species recorded in Britain. Family Mycetophagidae * Pseudotriphyllus suturalis * Triphyllus bicolor *… …   Wikipedia

  • Home stored product entomology — is most commonly used in lawsuits over the contamination or infestation of foods by insects, usually in the commercial sector. Although stored product entomology may seem a lesser known subject, this branch of forensic entomology is extremely… …   Wikipedia

  • cereal farming — Introduction  growing (plant) of cereal crops for human food and livestock feed, as well as for other uses, including industrial starch.       Cereals, or grains, are members of the grass family cultivated primarily for their starchy seeds… …   Universalium

  • Tenebrioninae — Taxobox name = Tenebrioninae image width = 240px image caption = Red Flour Beetle ( Tribolium castaneum : Triboliini) regnum = Animalia phylum = Arthropoda subphylum = Hexapoda classis = Insecta subclassis = Pterygota infraclassis = Neoptera… …   Wikipedia

  • Tenebrio obscurus — Scientific classification Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Arthropoda Class …   Wikipedia

  • bran bug — noun : confused flour beetle …   Useful english dictionary

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