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.
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 distintive tracking through flour and other dusts.
Red and Confused flour beetles attack stored grain products (flour, cereals, pasta, biscuits, beans, nuts, etc.) causing loss and damage. They may cause an allergic response but are not known to spread disease and cause no damage to structures or furniture.