Ready or Not, Here They Come:
How to Identify and Prevent Stored Product Pests
Some pests can compromise products before anyone realizes they’re there. Stored product insects cause serious damage to packages and contaminate and alter the taste of products. These pests can negatively impact your business, bottom line and next audit.
Here are the four types to watch out for:
- External feeders eat the exterior of cereal (grain) and kernel products, gradually working their way inside products and packaging.
- Secondary feeders will typically eat product residue but will consume almost anything.
- Scavengers favor moldy and damp products as well as debris in cracks and crevices.
- Internal feeders lay eggs in grains.
The most common stored product pests include:
- Indian Meal Moths: Distinctive signs are silk webbing or powdered wood near the surface of the product.
- Cigarette and Drugstore Beetles: True to their name, these beetles prefer tobacco, pet food, spices and any packaged food.
- Granary and Rice Weevils: These weevils have a snout jutting from their head and reddish-brown bodies. Their meals of choice include whole grains or seed products like popcorn, birdseed and nuts. Grains infested by them will be hollow and have small holes.
- Dermestid Beetles: Some are general feeders that include milled grain, nuts and spices in their diet. Others specialize in products derived from animals.
Stored product pests reproduce rapidly, so implementing an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program is crucial. An IPM program should include the following actions to aid in the prevention of a pest infestation:
- First-in, first-out method for products
- Close inspection of incoming packages and shipments
- Use of pheromone traps
- Temperature management
- Ongoing sanitation schedule
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