Lesser Mealworm, Litter Beetle, Alphitobius diaperinus (Panzer) (Insecta: Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae)
EDIS Cover 2006 Errata
view on EDIS



How to Cite

Dunford, James C., and Phillip E. Kaufman. 2006. “Lesser Mealworm, Litter Beetle, Alphitobius Diaperinus (Panzer) (Insecta: Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae): EENY-367/IN662, Rev. 6/2006”. EDIS 2006 (June). Gainesville, FL. https://doi.org/10.32473/edis-in662-2006.


EENY-367, a 12-page illustrated fact sheet by James C. Dunford and Philip E. Kaufman, provides information on the synonymy, distribution, description, life cycle and biology, damage, medical importance, and management of the lesser mealworm, Alphitobius diaperinus, which is a stored products pest and a vector for many poultry diseases. Includes 4 pages of bibliographic references. This publication was originally published on the Featured Creatures Web site by the UF Department of Entomology and Nematology, March 2006. Revised June 2006.

EENY-367/IN662: Lesser Mealworm, Litter Beetle, Alphitobius diaperinus (Panzer) (Insecta: Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) (ufl.edu)

view on EDIS


Aalbu RL, Triplehorn CA, Campbell JM, Brown KW, Somerby RA, Thomas DB. 2002. Family 106. Tenebrionidae Latreille 1802, p. 463-509. In: American Beetles. Volume 2. Polyphaga: Scarabaeoidea through Curculionoidea. (Arnett Jr RH, Thomas MC, Skelley PE, Frank JH, eds.). CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL. https://doi.org/10.1201/9781420041231.ch7

Alves LFA, Rohde C, VS Alves. 2005. Patogenicidade de Steinernema glaseri e S. carpocapsae (Nematoda: Rhabdita) contra o cascudinho, Alphitobius diaperinus (Panzer) (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae). Neotropical Entomology 34: 139-141. https://doi.org/10.1590/S1519-566X2005000100022

Apuya LC, Stringham SM, Arends JJ, Brooks WM. 1994. Prevalence of protozoan infections in darkling beetles from poultry houses in North Carolina. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 63: 25-259. https://doi.org/10.1006/jipa.1994.1049

Axtell RC. 1999. Poultry integrated pest management: status and future. Integrated Pest Management Reviews 4: 53-73. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1009637116897

Bousquet Y. 1990. Beetles associated with stored products in Canada: An identification guide. Research Branch Agriculture Canada Publication 1837. Canadian Government Publishing Centre Supply and Services Ottawa, Canada. 214 pp.

Bruvo B, Plohl M, Ugarkovic D. 1995. Uniform distribution of satellite DNA variants on the chromosome of Tenebrionid species Alphitobius diaperinus and Tenebrio molitor. Hereditas 123: 69-75. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1601-5223.1995.00069.x

Buss LJ, Fasulo TR. (2006). Stored Product Pests (http://pests.ifas.ufl.edu/software/det_ stored.htm). UF/IFAS. SW 185. CD-ROM.

Butcher GD, Miles RD. (2003). Infectious bursal disease (gumboro) in commercial broilers. EDIS. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/VM024 (27 February 2006).

Calibeo DR. 2002. Role and mitigation of two vectors of turkey coronavirus, Musca domestica L. and Alphitobius diaperinus (Panzer). Thesis, North Carolina State University.

Calibeo-Hayes D, Denning SS, Stringham SM, Watson DW. 2005. Lesser mealworm (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) emergence after mechanical incorporation of poultry litter into field soils. Journal of Economic Entomology 98: 229-235. https://doi.org/10.1093/jee/98.1.229

Castrillo LA, Brooks, WM. 1998. Differentiation of Beauveria bassiana isolates from the darkling beetle, Alphitobius diaperinus, using isozyme and RAPD analyses. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 72: 190-196. https://doi.org/10.1006/jipa.1998.4783

Castrillo LA, Wiegmann BM, Brooks WM. 1999. Genetic variation in Beauveria bassiana populations associated with the darkling beetle, Alphitobius diaperinus. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 73: 269-275. https://doi.org/10.1006/jipa.1998.4835

Chernaki-Leffer AM, de Almeida LM. 2001. Thermal requirements, development and survival of the immature stages of the Alphitobius diaperinus (Panz.) (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae). Neotropical Entomology 30: 365-368. https://doi.org/10.1590/S1519-566X2001000300004

Chernaki-Leffer AM, Biesdorf SM, de Almeida LM, Leffer EVB, Vigne P. 2002. Isolation of enteric and litter organisms from Alphitobius diaperinus in brooder chicken houses in West of Parana State, Brazil. Revista Brasileira de Ciencia Avicola 4: 243-247. https://doi.org/10.1590/S1516-635X2002000300009

Curtis J. 1831. In: British Entomology, being illustrations and descriptions of the genera of insects found in Great Britain and Ireland: containing coloured figures from nature of the most rare and beautiful species, and in many instances of the plants upon which they are found. L Reeve and Company, London, 16 Volumes.

Dejean PFMA. 1821. Catalogue de la collection de Coléoptères de M. le Baron Dejean. Paris, 136 pp. https://doi.org/10.5962/bhl.title.11259

Dejean PFMA. 1833. Catalogue des Coléoptères de la collection de M. le Comte Dejean. Paris, 3: 177-256. https://doi.org/10.5962/bhl.title.8771

De Las Casas E, Harein PK, Pomeroy BS. 1972. Bacteria and fungi within the mealworm collected from poultry brooder houses. Environmental Entomology 1: 27-30. https://doi.org/10.1093/ee/1.1.27

De Las Casas E, Pomeroy BH, Harein PK. 1968. Infection and quantitative recovery of Salmonella typhimurium and Escherichia coli from within the lesser mealworn, Alphitobius diaperinus. Poultry Science 48: 1871-75. https://doi.org/10.3382/ps.0471871

Despins JL, Turner Jr. EC, Pfeiffer DG. 1991. Evaluation of methods to protect poultry house insulation from infestations by lesser mealworm (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae). Journal of Agricultural Entomology 8: 209-217.

Doyen JT. 1989. Reconstitution of Coelometopini, Tenebrionini and related tribes of America north of Colombia (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae). Journal of the New York Entomological Society 97: 277-304.

Dunford JC. 2000. The darkling beetles of Wisconsin (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae): taxonomy, natural history, and distributions. Thesis, University of Wisconsin-Madison. 291 pp.

Dunford JC, Young DK. 2004. An annotated checklist of Wisconsin darkling beetles (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) with comparisons to the western Great Lakes fauna. Transactions of the American Entomological Society 130: 57-76.

Dunford JC, Thomas MT, Choate Jr. PM. (2005). The darkling beetles of Florida and the eastern United States (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae). http://entnemdept.ifas.ufl.edu/teneb/index.htm (7 January 2006)

Elowni EE, Elbihari S. 1979. Natural and experimental infection of the beetle, Alphitobius diaperinus (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) with Choanotaenia infundibulum and other chicken tapeworms. Veterinary Science Communications 3: 171-173. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02268965

Eugenio C, De Las Casas E, Harein PK, Mirochia CJ. 1970. Detection of the mycotoxin F-2 in the confused flour beetle and lesser mealworm. Journal of Economic Entomology 63: 412-415. https://doi.org/10.1093/jee/63.2.412

Falomo AA. 1986. The Pheromone Biology of the Lesser Mealworm Alphitobius diaperinus (Panzer), (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae). Thesis, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Francisco O, Prado, AP do. 2001. Characterization of the larval stages of Alphitobius diaperinus (Panzer) (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) using head capsule width. Revista Brasileira de Biologia 61: 125-131. https://doi.org/10.1590/S0034-71082001000100016

Geden CJ, Arends JJ, Axtell RC. 1987. Field trials of Steinernema feltiae (Nematoda: Steinernematidiae) for control of Alphitobius diaperinus (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) in commercial broiler and turkey houses. Journal of Economic Entomology 80: 136-141. https://doi.org/10.1093/jee/80.1.136

Geden CJ, Arends JJ, Rutz DA, Steinkraus DC. 1998. Laboratory evaluation of Beauveria bassiana (Moniliales: Moniliaceae) against the lesser mealworm, Alphitobius diaperinus (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae), in poultry litter, soil, and a pupal trap. Biological Control 13: 71-77. https://doi.org/10.1006/bcon.1998.0647

Geden CJ, Carlson DA. 2001. Mechanical barrier for preventing climbing by lesser mealworm (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) and hide beetle (Coleoptera: Dermestidae) larvae in poultry houses. Journal of Economic Entomology 94: 1610-1616. https://doi.org/10.1603/0022-0493-94.6.1610

Geden CJ, Hogsette JA. (2001). Research and extension needs for integrated pest management for arthropods of veterinary importance. Center for Medical, Agricultural, and Veterinary Entomology USDA-ARS Workshop Proceedings, Lincoln, Nebraska. http://www.ars.usda.gov/Services/docs.htm?docid=10139 (21 March 2006).

Geden CJ, Steinkraus DC. 2003. Evaluation of three formulations of Beauveria bassiana for control of lesser mealworm and hide beetle in Georgia poultry houses. Journal of Economic Entomology 96: 1602-1607. https://doi.org/10.1093/jee/96.5.1602

Goodwin MA, Waltman WD. 1996. Transmission of Eimeria, viruses, and bacteria to chicks: Darkling beetles (Alphitobius diaperinus) as vectors of pathogens. Journal of Applied Poultry Research 5: 51. https://doi.org/10.1093/japr/5.1.51

Green M. 1980. Alphitobius viator Mulsant & Godart in stored products and its identification (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae). Journal of Stored Products Research l6: 67-70. https://doi.org/10.1016/0022-474X(80)90039-9

Harein PK, De Las Casas E, Pomeroy BS, York MD. 1970. Salmonella spp. and serotypes of Escherichia coli isolated form the lesser mealworm collected in poultry brooder houses. Journal of Economic Entomology 63: 80-81. https://doi.org/10.1093/jee/63.1.80

Hinchey F. 1997. Bugged residents sue over beetles. The Columbus Dispatch. October 2, 1997.

Hinton JL, Moon RD. 2003. Arthropod populations in high-rise, caged layer houses after three manure cleanout treatments. Journal of Economic Entomology 96: 1352-1361. https://doi.org/10.1093/jee/96.4.1352

Hosen M, Khan AR, Hossain M. 2004. Growth and development of the lesser mealworm, Alphitobius diaperinus (Panzer) (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) on cereal flours. Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences 7: 1505-1508. https://doi.org/10.3923/pjbs.2004.1505.1508

Karunamoorthy G, Chellappa DJ, Anandari R. 1994. The life history of Subulura brumpti in the beetle Alphitobius diaperinus. Indian Veterinary Journal 71: 12-15.

Kaufman PE, Burgess M, Rutz DA. 2002. Population dynamics of manure inhabiting arthropods under an integrated pest management (IPM) program in New York poultry facilities-3 case studies. Journal of Applied Poultry Research 11: 90-103. https://doi.org/10.1093/japr/11.1.90

Kaufman PE, Reasor C, Murray KD, Waldron JK, Rutz DA. 2005b. Evaluation of a barrier to inhibit lesser mealworm (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) and Dermestidae movement in high-rise, caged-layer poultry facilities. Journal of Economic Entomology 98:1744-1749. https://doi.org/10.1093/jee/98.5.1744

Kaufman PE, Reasor C, Waldron JK, Rutz DA. 2005a. Suppression of adult lesser mealworm (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) using soil incorporation of poultry manure. Journal of Economic Entomology 98: 1739-1743. https://doi.org/10.1093/jee/98.5.1739

Ladisch RK. 1965. Quinone toxins and allied synthetics in carcinogenesis. Proceedings of the Pennsylvania Academy of Science 38: 144-149.

Lambkin TA. 2001. Investigations into the management of the darkling beetle. Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, Kingston, Australia. 99 pp.

Lambkin TA. 2005. Baseline responses of adult Alphitobius diaperinus (Panzer) (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) to fenitrothion, and susceptibility status of populations in Queensland and New South Wales, Australia. Journal of Economic Entomology 98: 938-942.

Latreille PA. 1804. Histoire Naturelle, Générale et Particulière des Crustacés et des Insectes. Paris, 10: 415 pp.

McAllister JC, Steelman CD, Skeeles JK, Newberry LA, Gbur EE. 1996. Reservoir competence of Alphitobius diaperinus (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) for Escherichia coli (Eubacteriales: Enterobacteriaceae). Journal of Medical Entomology 33: 983-987. https://doi.org/10.1093/jmedent/33.6.983

Panzer GWF. 1797. Faunae Insectorum Germanicae initia oder Deutschlands Insecten. Nürnberg. Volume 37: 1-60.

Peck SB, Thomas MC. 1998. A Distributional Checklist of the Beetles (Coleoptera) of Florida. Arthropods of Florida and Neighboring Land Areas Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Gainesville, Florida 16: 1-166.

Phillips JK, Burkholder WE. 1984. Health hazards of insects and mites in food. In Insect Management for Food Storage and Processing. (Bauer FJ, ed.). pp. 280-293. American Association of Cereal Chemists, St. Paul, MN.

Redtenbacher W. 1845. Die Gattungen der deutschen Käfer Fauna nach der analytischen Methode Bearbeitet, nebst einem kurz gefassten Leitfaden, zum Studium dieses Zweiges der Entomologie. Wien 177 pp. https://doi.org/10.5962/bhl.title.35739

Redtenbacher W. 1849. Fauna Austriaca. Die Käfer, nach der analytischen Methode Bearbeitet. Wien, 883 pp. https://doi.org/10.5962/bhl.title.37851

Renault D, Hance T, Vannier G, Vernon P. 2003a. Is body size an influential parameter in determining the duration of survival at low temperatures in Alphitobius diaperinus Panzer (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae)? Journal of Zoology 259: 381-388. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0952836902003382

Renault D, Hervant F, Vernon P. 2002. Comparative study of the metabolic responses during food shortage and subsequent recovery at different temperatures in the adult lesser mealworm, Alphitobius diaperinus (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae). Physiological Entomology 27: 291-301. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-3032.2002.00299.x

Renault D, Hervant F, Vernon P. 2003b. Effect of food shortage and temperature on oxygen consumption in the lesser mealworm, Alphitobius diaperinus (Panzer) (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae). Physiological Entomology 28: 261-267. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-3032.2003.00338.x

Renault D, Nedved O, Hervant F, Vernon P. 2004. The importance of fluctuating thermal regimes for repairing chill injuries in the tropical beetle Alphitobius diaperinus (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) during exposure to low temperatures. Physiological Entomology 29: 139-145. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.0307-6962.2004.00377.x

Rossi MN, Godoy WAC. 2005. Web contents of Nesticodes rufipes and Latrodectus geometricus (Araneaea: Theridiidae) in a Brazilian poultry house. Journal of Entomological Science 40: 347-351. https://doi.org/10.18474/0749-8004-40.3.347

Safrit RD, Axtell RC. 1984. Evaluations of sampling methods for darkling beetles (Alphitobius diaperinus) in litter of turkey and broiler houses. Poultry Science 63: 2368-2375. https://doi.org/10.3382/ps.0632368

Salin C, Delettre YR, Vernon P. 2003. Controlling the mealworm Alphitobius diaperinus (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) in broiler and turkey houses: Field trials with combined insecticide treatment: Insect growth regulator and pyrethroid. Journal of Economic Entomology 96: 126-130. https://doi.org/10.1093/jee/96.1.126

Sarin K, Saxena SC. 1975. Food preference and site of damage to preferred products by Alphitobius diaperinus (Panz.). Bulletin of Grain Technology 13:50-51.

Schroeckenstein DC, Meier-Davis S, Graziano FM, Falomo A, Bush RK. 1988. Occupational sensitivity to Alphitobius diaperinus (Panzer) (lesser mealworm). Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 82: 1081-1088. https://doi.org/10.1016/0091-6749(88)90147-9

Solier AJJ. 1851. Orden III. Coleópteros, Pentamera et Heteromera. In Gay C, Historia fisica y politica de Chile. Zoologia, Volume 5, [Privately published], Paris, 285 pp.

Spilman TJ. 1991. 11, Darkling Beetles (Tenebrionidae, Coleoptera). In Insect and Mite Pests in Food. (Gorham JR, ed). United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Handbook 655: 185-214, 589-598.

Stafford KC, Collison CH, Burg JG, Cloud JA. 1988. Distribution and monitoring lesser mealworms, hide beetles, and other fauna in high-rise caged-layer poultry houses. Journal of Agricultural Entomology 5: 89-101.

Stephens JF. 1832. Illustrations of British Entomology. Mandibulata. Baldwin and Cradock, London 5: 1-447.

Strother KO, Steelman CD. 2001. Spatial analysis of Alphitobius diaperinus (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) in broiler production facilities. Environmental Entomology 30: 556-561. https://doi.org/10.1603/0046-225X-30.3.556

Szalanski AL, Palmer TW, McKay T, Steelman CD. 2004. Infectivity of Steinernema spp. (Nematoda: Steinernemtidae) to adult litter beetles, Alphitobius diaperinus (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) in the laboratory. Biocontrol Science and Technology 14: 81-85. https://doi.org/10.1080/0958315031000151729

Tschinkel, W.R. 1975. A comparative study of the chemical defensive system of tenebrionid beetles: chemistry of the secretions. Journal of Insect Physiology 21: 753-783. https://doi.org/10.1016/0022-1910(75)90008-6

Tseng YL, Davidson JA, Menzer RE. 1971. Morphology and chemistry of the odoriferous gland of the lesser mealworm, Alphitobius diaperinus (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae). Annals of the Entomological Society of America 64: 425-430. https://doi.org/10.1093/aesa/64.2.425

Watson DW, Denning SS, Zurek L, Stringham SM, Elliott J. 2003. Effects of lime hydrate on the growth and development of darkling beetle, Alphitobius diaperinus. International Journal of Poultry Science 2: 91-96. https://doi.org/10.3923/ijps.2003.91.96

Watson DW, Kaufman PE, Rutz DA, Glenister CS. 2001. Impact of the darkling beetle Alphitobius diaperinus (Panzer) on establishment of the predaceous Carcinops pumilio (Erichson) for Musca domestica control in caged-layer poultry houses. Biological Control 20: 8-15. https://doi.org/10.1006/bcon.2000.0874

Watson DW, Guy JS, Stringham SM. 2000. Limited transmission of turkey coronavirus (TCV) in young turkeys by adult darkling beetles, Alphitobius diaperinus Panzer (Tenebrionidae). Journal of Medical Entomology 37:480-483. https://doi.org/10.1093/jmedent/37.3.480

Wollaston TV. 1854. Insecta Maderensia; being an account of the insects of the islands of the Maderian group. London, 634 pp. https://doi.org/10.5962/bhl.title.9060