Flour Beetles
Tribolium confusum
Pictures and  Text by Ken Uy
  • Prepare a suitable rearing container. The beetles seem to be unable to fly upwards out of a container, but it's best to err on the side of caution. A paper napkin can be used to cover the containers. I use a tall deli cup with a large hole cut in the lid, and paper trapped under the lid.  Write the date the culture is started on the paper. 
  • There are several culture mediums that can be used, but the easiest is semolina flour, perhaps with some brewer's yeast added for extra nutrition. This medium is easy to separate from the beetles and their larvae, unlike something like whole wheat which has large bits of bran in it.  There is no need to add a moisture source. 
  • Simply put the culture medium in the rearing container, and add some adult beetles. After two weeks, strain out all the adult beetles, and start a fresh culture with them. In another two weeks strain the original culture and the larvae should be big enough to use as frog food. Most frogs will reject the adult beetles, but some will take them with no problem. 
  • If there are adult beetles mixed with the larvae, use a strainer that has a mesh coarse enough for the larvae to crawl through. This might sound odd, but it actually makes harvesting them easier. The wide mesh allows the medium to fall through first, then the strainer is put over a collecting jar and the larvae are allowed to crawl through and fall into the jar.  The adult beetles will often tend to crawl upwards, rather than through the mesh, while the pupae will stay in the strainer. This process can be repeated until most of the adult beetles and pupae are separated from the larvae. 
  • Use a feeding dish to keep the larvae from hiding in the substrate, and to keep them dry. They die rather quickly when they get wet.
  • Continue with the two week cycle, but dispose of older cultures when the medium starts to turn dusty looking. Put the container in the freezer to kill all the insects to avoid accidental infestations.
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 Copyright 1999 by Kenneth K. Uy. All rights reserved, blah blah blah. :-)