Flour Beetles

In: Science

Submitted By BiologyProf
Words 933
Pages 4
Flour Beetles
Inhibition of flour beetle egg-hatching via refrigeration

Abstract

A demonstration of the scientific method is presented. Samples of flour are stored at various temperatures to determine if cold storage inhibits flour beetle egg hatching.

Introduction

I received a bread machine one year for Christmas. I never seem to have yeast, flour, eggs, and extra add-ins like caraway seeds or whole-wheat flour all fresh and available in my kitchen at the same time. One day while at the grocery store, I stopped and bought some baker’s yeast so I could make some bread. I knew I had flour, eggs, garlic and rosemary at home; so with the purchase of yeast I would be all set to make some foccacia bread – my favorite.

I got home and proofed the yeast, started the bread by mixing an egg, oil and water, and then measured out the flour. As I poured the flour into the machine I noticed some dark specks. When I took a closer look, I found that the specks were actually bugs! Gross! Where the heck did those bugs come from? Am I such a lousy housekeeper that my cabinets are filled with bugs?

It turns out that the bugs in the flour are flour beetles. The eggs may already be in the flour when you buy it at the store (Lewis et al., 1997). If you leave the flour at room temperature for a long enough time, with enough warmth and humidity, the eggs will hatch. If all flour has flour beetle eggs in it, then perhaps there is a way to keep those microscopic eggs from hatching.

Question: Are there flour beetle eggs in my flour?

Hypothesis: Can storing flour in the refrigerator keep flour beetle eggs hatching?

Prediction: Hatching of flour beetle eggs can be inhibited by storing flour in the refrigerator.

Methods
Purchase 3 bags…...

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