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The foreign grain beetle (Ahasverus advena ) is a small, red-brown beetle, approximately 2 mm in length. It is found throughout the temperate, subtropical and tropical regions of the world especially in storage facilities for grains and dried foodstuffs. The foreign grain beetle is considered a pest because it contaminates stored grains with frass and sheddings, but in fact does little economic damage to the grain itself as both the adult and larval stages feed mainly on fungus and mold growing on grains rather than the grain itself. Studies have shown that A. advena requires a nutrient found in mold and dried yeast for growth, and can grow in pure cultures of several seed-borne fungi (Woodroffe 1962). Because they only colonize products that are damp and moldy, and require conditions of high relative humidity (>65%) for growth and development, these beetles are good indicators of poor storage conditions and spoiled food. They do not bite or damage wood, fabric or stored food, but they do sometimes enter houses, appearing near bathtubs, sinks or any moist area, and live on fungal growth on new lumber and wet walls.

Ahasverus advena can be distinguished chiefly by slight knobs on each front corner of the pronotum, and by its club-shaped antennae. The beetles are strong flyers and can run fast. The larvae are worm-like, cream-colored and reach a length of about 3 mm before pupating into darker adults. As they are similar in color to the grains they feed on, outbreaks of foreign grain beetles are usually identified by presence of adult beetles. This species is sometimes confused with more troublesome grain storage pests such as the saw-toothed grain beetle, Oryzaephilus surinamensis (but A. advena lacks the projections on the pronotum) and the rusty grain beetle Cryptolestes ferrugineus.

(Bousquet 1990; Hahn and Kyhl 1998; Wikipedia 2011)


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