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Entomology (Study of Bugs)/What risk(s) do this insect pose?

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I live in Edmonton Alberta Canada. Upon moving into my new house, I found these bugs in some of the drawers and cupboards, both in my ensuite bath, upstairs bathroom, and kitchen.  They seem to appear at random times of the day.  I have not seen them jump or fly.  Today, I saw a couple in my dresser drawer.

Answer
Hi, Kelly:

Thank you for including the images with your question.

These are "flour beetles" in the genus Tribolium , in the family Tenebrionidae.  They are well-known "stored product pests" that infest various pantry items.  Here's more:

http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/urban/beetles/red_flour_beetle.htm

https://www.ma.utexas.edu/users/davis/375/LECTURES/L2/Tribolium.pdf

http://extension.usu.edu/files/factsheets/flourbee.pdf

http://ento.psu.edu/extension/factsheets/flour-beetle

Chemical controls are not recommended in the kitchen at least, as risk of contaminating food with pesticides is too great.  Simply find the infested item(s) and discard it (them).  Store all vulnerable foodstuffs, including dry pet food, in glass, metal, or durable plastic containers with tight-fitting lids.

There is not a lot you can do if a product is already infested when you purchase it, but do alert your grocer, and the product manufacturer, if you ever find this to be the case.  You should be able to get a refund; and the manufacturer can change their practices to avoid future problems.

As far as I know, flour beetles pose no health threat to people or pets, but I would still not consume infested material.

Eric

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Eric R. Eaton

Expertise

I answer insect and spider identification questions ONLY. Attach images if possible. No "what bit me?", "what do I feed this bug in captivity?", or science fair project questions please. NO TECHNICAL QUESTIONS ABOUT INSECT PHYSIOLOGY.

Experience

Principal author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America. Professional entomologist employed previously at University of Massachusetts, Chase Studio, Inc., and Cincinnati Zoo; contract work for West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, Smithsonian Institution, and Portland (Oregon) State University.

Publications
Author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Missouri Conservationist magazine, Ranger Rick, Birds & Blooms, Timeline (journal of the Ohio Historical Society). I have contributed to several books as well.

Education/Credentials
Oregon State University, undergraduate major in entomology, did not receive degree.

Awards and Honors
One of the top 50 experts in all categories for AllExperts.com, 2009.

Past/Present Clients
Principal author of the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Smithsonian Institution (contract), Cincinnati Zoo (employer), Portland State University (contract), Chase Studio, Inc (employer), Arkansas Museum of Discovery (guest speaker). Currently seeking speaking engagements, leadership roles at nature festivals, workshops, and ecotours.

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