Red flour beetles, Tribolium castaneum (Herbst), and confused flour beetles, Tribolium confusum (DuVal), were exposed for 8–72 h to diatomaceous earth (Protect-It) at 22, 27, and 32°C and 40, 57, and 75% RH (9 combinations). Insects were exposed to the diatomaceous earth at 0.5 mg/cm2 on filter paper inside plastic petri dishes. After exposure, beetles were held for 1 wk without food at the same conditions at which they were exposed. Mortality of both species after initial exposure was lowest at 22°C but increased as temperature and exposure interval increased, and within each temperature decreased as humidity increased. With 2 exceptions, all confused flour beetles were still alive after they were exposed at 22°C, 57 and 75% RH. Mortality of both species after they were held for 1 wk was greater than initial mortality for nearly all exposure intervals at each temperature–humidity combination, indicating delayed toxic effects from exposure to diatomaceous earth. For both species, the relationship between mortality and exposure interval for initial and 1-wk mortality was described by linear, nonlinear, quadratic, and sigmoidal regression. Mortality of confused flour beetles was lower than mortality of red flour beetles exposed for the same time intervals for 46.7% of the total comparisons at the various temperature–relative humidity combinations.
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Vol. 93 • No. 2