A series of experiments was conducted to determine the effect of a flour food source on survival of red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum (Herbst), and confused flour beetle, Tribolium confusum (DuVal), exposed to the labeled rate (0.5 mg/cm2) of Protect-It, a marine formulation of diatomaceous earth. Beetles were exposed at 27°C, and 40, 57, and 75% RH in 62-cm2 petri dishes. When beetles were exposed for 1 or 2 d in dishes with the labeled rate (0.5 mg/cm2, or 31 mg per dish) of diatomaceous earth or in dishes containing flour at varying levels from 0 to 200 mg mixed with the labeled rate of diatomaceous earth, survival of both species increased as the amount of flour increased, and quickly plateaued at levels approaching 100%. In a second set of experiments, beetles were transferred to dishes containing flour at varying levels from 0 to 200 mg after they were exposed for 1 or 2 d in dishes with the labeled rate of diatomaceous earth alone. There were no significant differences in beetle survival among the levels of flour, however, survival in dishes with flour was usually greater than survival in dishes with diatomaceous earth alone. In a third test, beetles were exposed for 1, 2, and 3 d in dishes with either the labeled rate of diatomaceous earth alone (clean dishes), dishes with diatomaceous earth and empty straws, or dishes with diatomaceous earth and ≈300 mg of flour packed in the straws. Survival was not significantly different between clean dishes or dishes with straws, but survival in dishes containing the straws with flour was usually 100%, regardless of exposure interval. In all experiments, confused flour beetles were less susceptible to diatomaceous earth than red flour beetles. In addition, survival was negatively related to exposure interval and positively related to relative humidity.
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