The larger black flour beetle Cynaeus angustus (Leconte) thrives in cotton gin trash piles on the Southern High Plains of Texas and sometimes becomes a nuisance after invading public and private structures. For better understanding of the basic larger black flour beetle ecology in gin trash piles, we conducted a series of laboratory and semirealistic field trials. We showed (1) in naturally infested gin trash piles, that similar trap captures were obtained in three cardinal directions; (2) in a laboratory study, late-instar larvae stayed longer in larval stage in moist soil compared with drier soil; (3) in both horizontal and vertical choice experiments, late instars preferred soil with low moisture content; and (4) specifically larger black flour beetle adults, but most larvae as well, responded negatively to high moisture content in gin trash. The results presented are consistent with reports of larger black flour beetle living in decaying yucca palms in deserts and suggest that maintaining gin trash piles with high moisture content may be an important component in an integrated control strategy.
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