Common Stored Product Pests In Commercial Establishments
Stored product pests are capable of causing great financial losses once a facility becomes infested. Infestations will cause contamination of product, mold and unpleasant odors, all of which make the food product unfit for human consumption. Additionally, commercial grain buyers will refuse to accept delivery of the product if it is discovered the grain has been contaminated.
The more common insects known as stored product pests, include the Indian meal moth, cigarette beetle, red flour beetle, sawtooth grain beetle and the warehouse beetle. It is important to be somewhat familiar with each so you can notify CouncilMen IPM immediately of a potential infestation to receive treatment to prevent or eliminate any infestations.
Indian Meal Moth
The Indian meal moth is a rather colorful insect with front wings that range from a light beige to a dark copper or bronze color and a pale gray back wing. The adult is about 3/8 inch long with a wingspan of between ½ to ¾ inch. The moth usually flies around at dusk and throughout the night, but does not feed. The female lays her eggs on food surfaces and then dies within a week. Upon hatching, the larvae begin feeding on food product until it’s time to pupate. Often, a web-type substance can be seen on the surface of the product, indicating the infestation of the Indian meal moth.
Red Flour Beetle
The red flour beetle is about 1/8 inch long and is reddish-brown in color with a unique antenna that sports a three-segment club on the end of the antennae. Unlike some other stored product pests, the red flour beetle can live more than three years. This pest feeds on a variety of foods, including but not limited to cereals, meal, crackers, flour, beans, pasta, chocolate, nuts, seeds and beans.
Saw Tooth Grain Beetle
The saw tooth grain beetle is commonly found throughout the world in any food processing facility where flour, cereals, bread, pasta, dried fruit, sugar, nuts, dried meats and tobacco are kept. The adult beetle has a flattened body that is only 1/10 to 1/8 inch in length. This beetle does not fly and is not attracted to light. The saw tooth grain beetle larva is less than 1/8 inch in length and is light yellow or white with a brown head. The adult favors warm, humid conditions and are more active in the summer or warm, southern climates.
The cigarette beetle, sometimes confused with the drugstore beetle, is a small, stout, oval beetle with the head bending down at a right angle from the body. This gives the beetle a humped appearance when viewed from the side. The cigarette beetle is very small, measuring only 0.1 inch in length. The larvae are lightly colored and resemble the shape of a grub. The Cigarette beetle will chew into all types of chewing tobacco packages, cigarettes and cigars. They can also be found in spices, herbs and dried flowers.
The warehouse beetle is only1/8 inch in length but has a unique pattern of yellow or light brown patches on a dark body. The larva is about ¼ inch long and orange or brown in color with protruding hairs covering the body. The warehouse beetle flies very well and will readily invade food warehouses, retail outlets and other facilities that house grocery products.
A close inspection throughout the commercial establishment should be performed on a regular basis, looking for any signs of the stored product pests. Contact CouncilMen IPM at first sign of infestation.