By and large, pest management professionals (PMPs) consider stored product pest (SPP) accounts to be an easy situation that can be solved by locating and removing the infested product, while perhaps shooting some aerosol in a few areas around the site to take care of remaining life stages. In residential accounts, and even many restaurant environments, food sources tend to be used quickly, avoiding or even eliminating the potential for a problem to occur.
But in large food production accounts, these pests can cause challenges for even the most veteran PMPs — and cost the food producer thousands of dollars. The cost of losing a pallet of product due to infestation is bad enough, but consider the added costs stemming from lost production time and any damage to the brand’s reputation.
Therefore, having a solid integrated pest management (IPM) program in place is crucial for early detection and successful treatment at such accounts. The program should include inspection of ingredients coming into the facility, including the shipping containers, and the use of monitoring devices such as insect light traps (ILTs) and pheromone traps. Most important in my estimation, however, is regular applications of insect growth regulators (IGRs) within the facility. IGRs provide protection against insect populations that might be overlooked in low-level infestations. They are not a silver bullet, but they are a critical piece of any successful program in large food production and other areas prone to SPP infestations.