By Doug Van Gundy, Senior Director, Research and Development
Stored product pests are costly nuisances that can be detrimental to U.S. agriculture. These insects live in dried products such as fruits, grains, nuts, vegetables and flour. The pests affect not only the food they seek refuge in and eat, but facilities as well, by spreading contaminated product throughout the entire processing/distribution center or residential account.
Controlling stored product pests in the home can be both challenging and time-consuming, which is why customers should seek the assistance of pest management professionals (PMPs). The Top 4 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 do not allow the product to receive proper aeration.
PMPs must stress to customers how important it is to properly prepare before a stored product pest treatment. The outcome of treatment is dependent on the preparation customers do before any products are applied. If they are diligent with the following, the likelihood of success increases:
• Completely clear all cupboards of dishes and food.
• Place all food in the refrigerator.
• Inspect all dried products for infestation; if infested, place in the freezer for at least one week and then discard.
• Place all uncontaminated dried foods in plastic containers with airtight lids.
• Vacate the premises during service, and do not re-enter until four hours after treatment.
PMPs can effectively control stored product pests through the use of insect growth regulators (IGR) and contact kill products. An IGR interrupts the insect’s lifecycle to prevent costly reinfestations, while a contact kill product eliminates existing adult pests immediately.