Exclusion strategies for stored product pests


June 1, 2020



Exclusion is the cornerstone of good integrated pest management programs. Modifying environments to make it less hospitable to pests can be more effective than chemical control tools. This is especially important in sensitive environments, such as food production or warehouse facilities. When discussing exclusion strategies with clients, pest management professionals (PMPs) tend to focus on pests that predominantly come from the exterior. However, exclusion strategies can be employed for all pests, especially stored product pests (SPPs).

As SPPs live in the food they eat, exclusion tools that minimize food buildup inside facilities effectively minimizes this pest risk. This is particularly true for facilities working with dry ingredients. As food dust settles in the facility, the buildup becomes a conducive condition for SPPs. Through indoor exclusion methods, PMPs can minimize risk by:

  • Sealing cracks and crevices in walls and floors: Apply food-grade sealant in food processing areas to remove the potential for buildup in expansion joints, wall/floor junctions and all equipment.
  • Building material and design: Recommend materials and design with smooth surfaces to prevent material from building up. For example, a corrugated wall allows for build-up both in the wall and in the seams of the wall.
  • Equipment and racking design and installation: In dry processing environments, be cognizant of racking and equipment design as these areas are where material can collect. Some SPPs species, like Indianmeal moths, do not live in their food source and look for cracks and crevices to finish their development.
  • Consider the type of facility being serviced: For facilities that process raw grain ingredients, exclusion can be implemented in the processing stage when commodities are sifted to remove adult and juvenile stages of SPPs from the food.

While SPPs can make their home inside the facility, many species are found on the exterior of a facility, specifically Warehouse Beetles and Indianmeal moths. For these pests, similar exclusion tools that are effective against flying insects are also successful in excluding SPPs:

  • Closing doors and windows: Ensure clients practice closing doors and windows will keep exterior stored product pests out.
  • Air curtains and fans: Recommend clients use air curtains and fans essentially forces insects in the opposite direction so they are unable to enter a facility.
  • Positive pressure: Check if a clients’ building has positive pressure. This is when air is exiting the building through openings, which makes it harder for exterior insects to stay out.
  • Sealing or screening openings: Repair any holes or gaps (aside from doors or windows) in the building that may permit entry into a facility. Points of entry that cannot be seal should be screened to eliminate pest entry points.

Before implementing these exclusion methods both inside and outside a facility, PMPs should be mindful of where the material will be used as well as food safety considerations. Exclusion work that uses the wrong material can put a food facility at risk for chemical or physical contaminants. With all of these exclusion methods and details in place, clients will be able to avoid and control SPPs inside and outside their facility and ensure their buildings and products are SPP-free thanks to you, the PMP.

Photo provided by Anna Berry

Anna Berry, BCE

BERRY is a training manager for McCloud Pest Management Solutions, South Elgin, Ill. She is a Board Certified Entomologist, ServSafe certified and instructor and proctor for the National Restaurant Association and is certified in HACCP. She holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Oregon and a master’s degree in grain science from Kansas State University.

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