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Growth and development of Tribolium castaneum (Herbst) on rice flour and brown rice as affected by time and temperature

Arthur, Frank H., Starkus, Laura A., Gerken, Alison R., Campbell, James F., McKay, Tanja
Journal of stored products research 2019 v.83 pp. 73-77
Tribolium castaneum, adults, bags, brown rice, byproducts, diet, larvae, population growth, predation, pupae, rice flour, storage insects, storage temperature, storage time
Tribolium castaneum (Herbst), the red flour beetle, is a cosmopolitan stored product insect that infests a variety of raw grains and processed grain products. Although this pest is prevalent in rice mills, there is a comparative lack of data on growth and development on rice by-products and fractions compared to other grains. In this study, ten mixed-sex adults were exposed on 200 g of either rice flour or brown rice, and populations were assessed after 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10 months at 22, 27, or 32 °C. At 22 °C, the number of adults, pupae and larvae on rice flour and brown rice remained low throughout the 12-month storage period. At 27 °C, the number of adults on rice flour increased to a maximum at 8 months, while adult populations on brown rice remained relatively constant from 2 to 10 months, with few pupae or larvae in the samples. At 32 °C, adult populations on rice flour and brown rice were constant after month 2, with low numbers of pupae and larvae. Adult predation could have accounted for low numbers of pupae and larvae. Using the original 10-month data, populations were projected for an additional 14 months to predict population patterns. Adult numbers showed an increase over time at all temperatures on rice flour and brown rice at 22 °C but numbers seemed to stabilize at 27 and 32 °C. For both diets at 27 and 32 °C, projected pupae and larvae numbers remained steady but low compared to adults. However, populations would not be expected to increase indefinitely because at some point the resources would become limited and populations would crash or decline. Results show T. castaneum can deplete fixed resources such as bags of rice flour or brown rice when temperatures equal or exceed 27 °C.