Tips & Tricks: Food plant/stored product pests

|  February 1, 2013

Control Solutions Inc.
By Marie Knox, PCO Technical Service Manager

Many times, when homeowners report small moths on the ceiling in their kitchen or pantry areas, this is usually a case of an Indianmeal moth (IMM) infestation. Other signs of a stored product pest infestation include insects and/or webs in the food, even unopened packaged items. They’re the prize inside the cereal box that nobody wants!

It’s best to remove and discard any infested food items immediately (preferably in an outdoor/off-site garbage can). If the customer doesn’t want to throw the infested items out, he or she can opt for a simple heating or freezing treatment of the items. Customers need to realize, it doesn’t make the insects disappear; it just kills them. Their bodies will still be in the food items.

Rockwell Laboratories Ltd
By Dr. Cisse Spragins, Founder & CEO

Stored product pests can be persistent in certain accounts, such as grain storage and processing facilities, food and pet food warehouses, and retail stores. Pet stores and residences can have problems. While large facilities such as grain storage and processing plants are often monitored and fumigated, fumigation usually isn’t practical in food warehouse and distribution centers, or in retail stores or residences.

When using pheromones to monitor for pests such as Indianmeal moths (IMM), it’s important to remember the Plodia and Ephestia pheromones are potent.

They shouldn’t be used except in large facilities, positioned 50 ft. from the nearest door. If placed any closer, they can draw insects in from outside if the weather is sufficiently warm.

Central Life Sciences
By Doug VanGundy, Senior Director, Research and Development

The most common stored product pests are the lesser grain borer, sawtoothed grain beetle, confused flour beetle and Indianmeal moth (IMM). These destructive pests attack grains and other products from all angles by feeding externally, laying eggs inside the kernels, and creating barriers such as webs that don’t allow the product to receive proper aeration.

PMPs must stress to customers how important it is to prepare before a stored product pest treatment. The outcome of treatment depends on the preparation customers do before products are applied. If they’re diligent with the following, they’re more likely to be successful.

FMC Professional Solutions
By Brian Mount, BCE, Urban Product Development Lead

As most pest management professionals (PMPs) know, grain weevils are a persistent and worldwide problem, one that often sends homeowners into a panic.

The most destructive stored product pests are of the weevil genus Sitophilus, which includes rice (S. oryza), granary (S. granarius) and maize (S. zeamais) weevils. They infest foods such as grains, flour, cereal and pasta-based products. Most are between 1 and 4mm long. They’re brown or copper in color, with chewing mouthparts at the end of their snouts or prolonged heads. Only the rice weevils can fly.

Prevention is the best strategy. Remove old grain, dust, flour and other food particles in and around storage cabinets. Inspect and remove infested food products. Be thorough, and repackage materials in properly sealed containers.

Terminix International
By Stoy Hedges, BCE

Of the more than 30 species of beetles that infest stored products, only a few are considered serious pests. Cigarette, Trogoderma and flour beetles are more common in food processing, while drugstore, cigarette, Trogoderma and sawtoothed grain beetles are seen most often in warehouses and retail stores.

Inspections to find sources of stored product beetles can take time, particularly in food-processing facilities and warehouses where grain-based products might be distributed throughout the facility. Focusing on the type of beetle present and its preferences and biology saves time. Don’t stop when one source is found. Expand your search from there to determine whether other items are infested or other sources, such as spilled grain, exist.

J.T. Eaton & Co.
By James Rodriguez, Western Territory Manager

Here are tips for working on a stored food pest job:
■ Keep detailed notes (with photos) about the larva cycle of
the various stored food pests on your smartphone or a readily available notebook.
■ Keep insect cocoons and damage in vials to help train technicians in identification or to show your customers.
■ Become a master at determining what’s an internal or external feeder.
■ Use your smartphone to take pictures for later identification, if there’s any doubt.
■ Use monitoring devices with large catch surfaces or pheromone traps where possible.
■ Attend educational events about this topic to stay in the know regarding the latest technology and techniques.

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