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Plantwise Technical Factsheet

confused flour beetle (Tribolium confusum)

Host plants / species affected
Arachis hypogaea (groundnut)
Avena sativa (oats)
Banksia prionotes
Cannabis sativa (hemp)
Cicer arietinum (chickpea)
Glycine max (soyabean)
Helianthus annuus (sunflower)
Manihot esculenta (cassava)
Oryza sativa (rice)
Pennisetum glaucum (pearl millet)
Secale cereale (rye)
Sorghum bicolor (sorghum)
stored products (dried stored products)
Triticum (wheat)
Triticum aestivum (wheat)
wheat flour
Zea mays (maize)
List of symptoms/signs
Seeds  -  external feeding
Seeds  -  frass visible
Seeds  -  internal feeding
Seeds  -  lesions on seeds
Length of adults: 2.6-4.4 mm. The body is usually medium brown, or occasionally darker, and is rather shiny in appearance. Prosternal process distinctly broader at apex than elsewhere. Lateral regions of elytra with shallow longitudinal carinae (ridges) on the intervals between the striae; sometimes with similar carinae on the central area of the elytra. Antennae have a 5-segmented club.

Larvae are light-honey coloured with a darkened head and a darkened forked process at the tip of the abdomen that distinguishes Tribolium larvae and pupae from other grain-infesting beetles. The larvae have 3 pairs of legs located on the segments immediately behind the head (Sauer, 1992).
Prevention and control

Synergised pyrethrins have been observed to have a repellent effect on T. confusum (LaHue, 1966). Chlorpyrifos-methyl and pirimiphos-methyl are effective control agents, and in some experiments have been shown to be more effective than malathion (Sauer, 1992). Resistance to deltamethrin has been demonstrated (Korunic and Hamel-Koren, 1985).

Fumigation with phosphine is effective (Sauer, 1992).

Conservation of cereals under nitrogen has been shown to kill all stages of T. confusum except for the eggs (Shejbal et al., 1973).

T. confusum is very similar in its biology, habits and in the products it attacks to T. castaneum. Its economic importance is therefore similar to that species. It is less important in tropical countries (except in produce stored in locally cooler regions, such as high altitude areas, or on produce recently imported from cooler areas), and is more important in temperate climates, where it is an important secondary pest of flour and cereal products.
Related treatment support
External factsheets
Pennsylvania State University Insect Pest Fact Sheets, The Pennsylvania State University, 1990, English language
Virginia Cooperative Extension - Agricultural Insects Pests, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 2011, English language
Biovision Factsheets, Biovision Foundation, 2012, English language
Sistemas de Produção Embrapa - Publicações eletrônicas, Embrapa, Portuguese language
NCAT ATTRA Pest Management Publications, The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), 2002, English language
Video factsheets
Agropedia ICRISAT PPT-Videos, IIT, Kanpur, 2014, English language
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