Khapra beetle will feed on most any dried plant or animal matter. Khapra beetles, however prefer grain and cereal products, particularly wheat, barley, oats, rye, maize, rice, flour, malt, and noodles. They can feed on products with as little as 2% moisture content and can develop on animal matter such as dead mice, dried blood, and dried insects.
The National Agricultural Pest Information System (NAPIS) has listed the primary seed and cereal grain hosts: Avena sativa (oat), Cicer arietinum (garbanzo), Glycine max (soybean), Hordeum vulgare (barley), Lens culinaris (lentil), Oryza sativa (rice), Pisum sativum (garden pea), Sorghum bicolor (grain sorghums), Triticum aestivum (wheat), Vigna unguiculata (cowpea), and Zea mays subsp. mays (corn). Preferred animal feeds and concentrates include: rolled and ground barley, ground corn, ground dog food, rolled oats, dried orange pulp, ground rice, and cracked and ground wheat bran. Nuts that may serve as primary hosts include: Arachis hypogaea (peanut), Carya illinoensis (pecan), Juglans spp. (walnut), and Prunus dulcis (almond). Grocery commodities that sometimes serve as hosts include: bread, dried coconuts, cornmeal, crackers, white and whole wheat flour, hominy grits, baby cereals, pearl barley, and wheat germ. Larvae can feed, but not fully develop on seeds of Medicago sativa subsp. sativa (alfalfa), noodles, Phaseolus lunatus (lima bean), and raisins.
The Khapra beetle is considered to be one of the world's most destructive pests of grain products and seeds. If the beetle is left undisturbed in stored grain it can cause significant weight loss, and in case of seeds, it may lead to significant reduction in seed viability. Weight loss can be between 5-30% in sometimes in extreme cases 70%. Severe infestation may cause unfavorable changes in chemical composition. Presence of this pest attracts trade restriction implications. Non-Khapra beetle countries enforce quarantine restrictions on the imported commodities from Khapra beetle countries.
The Khapra beetle is not known to occur in Indiana.