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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: ECOLOGY, GENOMICS, AND MANAGEMENT OF STORED PRODUCT INSECTS

Location: Stored Product Insect and Engineering Research

Title: Effect of abiotic factors on initiation of red flour beetle (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) flight

Authors
item Perez-Mendoza, Joel -
item Campbell, James
item Throne, James

Submitted to: Journal of Economic Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: November 27, 2013
Publication Date: February 1, 2014
Citation: Perez-Mendoza, J., Campbell, J.F., Throne, J.E. 2014. Effect of abiotic factors on initiation of red flour beetle (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) flight. Journal of Economic Entomology. 107(1):469-472. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1603/EC13364.

Interpretive Summary: The red flour beetle is one of the major pests in stored grain and in grain processing facilities throughout the world. Traps are used to monitor their movement to aid in making pest management decisions, but we don’t fully understand the factors that cause their movement. We found that flight initiation was greatest at 86 to 95°F, and no beetles flew at 72 and 113°F. Only 2% of beetles flew in complete darkness, and the photoperiod at which the maximum percentage of beetles flew (41%) was 18 hours of light. Rates of flight initiation did not vary with light intensities from 1,784 to 4,356 lux or relative humidities from 25 to 85%. Thus, temperature and photoperiod are the main abiotic factors tested that impact flight initiation in the red flour beetle, and red flour beetles have broad ranges of temperatures and photoperiods over which they can fly. These results will help to develop better methods for interpreting trap catches from pest monitoring programs.

Technical Abstract: Traps baited with pheromones are used to monitor the red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum (Herbst) (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae), populations in flour mills to aid in making pest management decisions, but the factors that influence T. castaneum flight aren’t fully understood. We investigated the impact of photoperiod, light intensity, temperature, and relative humidity on flight initiation. The percentage of adults initiating flight reached a maximum at 30 to 35°C, and then fell to 0 at 22.5 and 45°C. Only 2% of beetles flew in complete darkness, and the number of beetles initiating flight increased to 41% under 18 h of light and then decreased slightly to 37% under 24 h of light. Rates of flight initiation did not vary with light intensities from 1,784 to 4,356 lux or relative humidities from 25 to 85%. Thus, temperature and photoperiod are the main abiotic factors tested that impact flight initiation in T. castaneum, and T. castaneum have broad ranges of temperatures and photoperiods over which they can fly. The current results should be useful in helping to interpret trap catches based on abiotic conditions during the trapping period, and the results should be useful in helping to understand T. castaneum movement outside grain storages and processing facilities and their potential to infest structures.

Last Modified: 12/21/2014
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