Stored Food Pests are very common. At one time or another most of us will come across these pests living in some area of our kitchen. This article will give a brief overview of the types of pests that we need to look out for.
Insects of stored food can be separated into four groups according to their feeding habits.
- Internal feeders are insect larvae that feed entirely within the kernels of whole grain and palletized product, and thus may remain undetected until adults emerge from the kernels.
- External feeders feed on the outside of the grain. They may also chew through the outer seed coat and devour the inside.
- Scavengers feed on grain only after the seed coat has been broken, either mechanically or by some other insect.
- Secondary pests feed only on materials that are deteriorating, damp and have some mold growth present. Some of them feed on mold rather than the food product.
Most Common Stored Food Pests
- Rice Weevil
- Granary Weevil
- Angoumois Grain Moth
- Lesser Grain Borer
- Drugstore Beetle
- Cigarette Beetle
- Trogoderma, or Cabinet Beetles
- Indianmeal Moth
- Confused Flour Beetle
- Red Flour Beetle
- Flat Grain Beetle
- Sawtoothed Grain Beetle
- Mediterranean Flour Moth
- Yellow Mealworm
- Dark Mealworm
Managing Stored Product Pests in Homes
The source of a stored product pest infestation in a home is usually confined to areas where foods are stored, such as the kitchen. The entire infestation may be isolated within a single cabinet, or a single box of material. Before any control can be attempted, the source of infestation must be found and eliminated.
Look very carefully into all cracks and crevices where food debris may be accumulating, inside containers of such things as cereals, beans, peas, flour, dried fruits and spices, and any other material in which insects may live and complete their life cycle. Do not overlook the possibility that a sealed container may be infested on the inside and be loose enough to allow insects to escape.
Also check under cabinets and open or accessible wall voids for spillage, such as of pet food, which may harbor pests. Pet foods and birdseed may be a source of infestation, and they may be located in a room other than the kitchen.
After removing infested material, remove the contents of drawers and cupboards in the area, thoroughly vacuum and clean these areas, and spray all cracks and crevices and other insect harborages with standard residual materials labeled for this use (we’ll take care of the spraying part). After the insecticide has dried (give it about 2 hours), cover all drawer bottoms and shelves with paper to avoid having food or food containers come in contact with the insecticide. It may take several days for insects not actually contacted during the treatment to come in contact with the insecticide and be killed (be patient). Give this treatment about 2 weeks to see the full benefit.
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