U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


Document Type


Date of this Version



J. Econ. Entomol. 107(1): 469-472 (2014)


This document is a U.S. government work and is not subject to copyright in the United States.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1603/EC13364


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 movement are not 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 30-35°C, and then fell to zero 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, which 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.