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STORED PRODUCT PESTS

Stored product pests are extremely numerous. Too numerous to discuss here. For our purposes, we will look at a small segment of these; insects found generally in homes, retail outlets, and warehouses. You can find others in mills and processing plants, but we will not be concerned with them because pest management professionals typically handle them. If, of course, you run into what looks like a stored product pest not covered here, just ask the Pestdude .
Stored product pests contaminate much more product than they consume. They destroy about 10 percent of the world's grain production during storage. They are also important "pantry pests" in homes entering by way of packaged cereals, spices, flour, mixes, and other dry foodstuffs. They may also enter a house by way of dried flowers, dried fruits, dried vegetables, dog food, bird seed, nuts, candy, macaroni, and so forth. They may even be carried in be furniture, rugs, bedding, or home decorations. They may even enter from the outdoors. In other words, stored product pests can enter the home from a variety of ways. Once in, however, they can breed and become a nuisance or a health problem and must be controlled or eliminated.
Stored product pests come in several forms. The beetles are the largest group. These include the Cigarette Beetle, the Confused Flour Beetle, the Drugstore Beetle, the Larder Beetle, and the Sawtoothed Grain Beetle. The moths are second in importance and quantity. These include the Indian Meal Moth, the Mediterranean flout moth, and the Angoumois Grain Moth. Although the mites and weevils are considered an important stored product pest in the pest management business, they are usually confined to stored grains and are of little importance to the homeowner.

IDENTIFICATION KEY

Cigarette Beetle
Adults: About 1/16 to 1/8 inch long and oval and light brown in color. Wingcovers are pitted irregular or scatted in distribution.
Larva: Mature larva about 1/16 to 1/8 inch, forming a c-shape, and white
Antennae: (adult)Saw-like
Head / Thorax: (adult)Head and prothorax bent downward, hiding head from above
Other: Attacks many different items such as paprika, dry dog food, beans, biscuits, chickpeas, cigars, cigarettes, cocoa beans, coffee beans, cottonseed, dates, dried bananas, dried cabbage, dried carrots, dried fruits, drugs, flour, dried flowers, ginger, grains, herbarium specimens, herbs, peanuts, pepper, raisins, rice, yeast, seeds, spices, furniture stuffing, bookbinder's paste and books, and even insecticides containing pyrethrum. They also can be found with dried fish, fish meal, meat meal, leather, silk, and even dried insects. Dog food and paprika are the most common sources in the home.
CONTROL

Confused Flour Beetle
Adults: About 1/8 inch long, color reddish brown, winged but do not fly
Larva: About 1/8 to 1/4 inch long, hard bodied, white with yellow tinge
Antennae: Gradually club-like
Head / Thorax: Sides of thorax straight
Other: These beetles cannot attack whole kernels or undamaged grain. They have been known to attack grain products, peas, beans, shelled nuts, dried fruits, spices, milk chocolate, drugs, cayenne pepper, and herbarium, insect and museum specimens. They have also been found infesting poisoned baits.
They are attracted to light, even though they do not fly. They cause a disagreeable odor and taste to the flour they infest.
CONTROL

Drugstore Beetle
Adults: About 1/16 to 1/8 inch, color reddish brown to brown, with pits on the wingcovers arranged in neat longitudinal rows
Larva: About 1/16 to 1/8 inch long, forming a c-shape, color white
Antennae: Clubbed with three elongated and broadened segments
Head / Thorax: Head and prothorax bent downward, making head barely visible from above
Other: The drugstore beetle will attack nearly any household food or spice, as well as such things as drugs, hair, leather, and museum specimens. Most common foods are bread, flour, meal, breakfast foods, and condiments such as red pepper. It will also infest books.
Adults can fly and are attracted to light.
CONTROL

Larder Beetle
Adults: About 1/4 to 3/8 inch long, elongated and oval, color dark brown to black with basal 1/3 of wing cover with a pale yellow transverse band which usually contains 6-8 small black spots
Larva: About 3/8 to 5/8 inch, color dark brown, covered with long brown hairs.
Antennae: Short and clubbed
Head: Visible from above
Other: Adults and larvae feed on all kinds of animal products such as dried fish, ham, bacon, meats, cheese, dried pet foods, and dried museum specimens including insects, hides, feathers, horns, and hair. Once in awhile they may attack plant products such as stored tobacco.
Prime breeding areas tend to be in cabinets where dried pet food is kept. Other areas may include: wall or ceiling voids where yellowjackets, honey bees, etc. lived or where cluster flies, face flies, etc. overwintered; rodent baits left in attics, crawl spaces or basements; wasp and hornet nests in attics, under eaves, around windows, etc.; catch trays of insect light traps; behind baseboards where hair accumulates; animal trophies or rugs; stored items made of leather and / or fur; dead animals in the chimney flue, etc.
Signs of infestations, you will find skins or hides damaged primarily on its inner surface with holes cut by the larvae; hair loosened by hide destruction on inner surface; molt skins dark brown with numerous brown hairs; fecal pellets long and slender 1/64th inch long.
CONTROL

Sawtoothed Grain Beetle
Adults: About 1/8 inch long, color brown, body flattened
Larva: Less than 1/8 inch long, yellowish white
Antennae: About as long as it's head
Head / Thorax: Head points straight ahead, six saw-like teeth on each side of the prothorax
Other: This beetle, although does considerable damage to grains, cannot attack sound kernels. Its flat body allows it to enter imperfectly sealed packages. It attacks such things as cereals, bread, breakfast foods, macaroni, dried fruits, nuts, sugar, chocolate, dried meats, candy bars, drugs, tobacco, and many other products.
Adults do not fly and are not attracted to light.
CONTROL

Indian Meal Moth
Adults: Wingspan about 5/8 to 3/4 inch, wings pale gray but front wing with outer 2/3 reddish brown with a coppery luster
Larva: About 1/2 inch long, usually dirty white, but color can vary
Other: This is the most common stored product pest in homes and grocery stores in the United States. The adults cause no damage. The larvae, while feeding, create a lot of webbing throughout the infested product. They will feed on grain and grain products, a wide variety of dried fruits, seeds, nuts, graham crackers, powdered milk, biscuits, chocolate, candies, dried red peppers, dry dog food, and bird seed.
When the larvae wander looking for pupating sites, they are often mistaken for clothes moth larvae. Likewise, when the moths are flying, they are also mistaken for clothes moths. See FABRIC PESTS for more information for comparison with clothes moths.
Indian Meal Moths are attracted to light.
CONTROL

Angoumois Grain Moth
Adults: Wingspan about 1/2 to 5/8 inch, color buff to pale yellowish brown. Hinge wings abruptly narrowed at tip towards front wing.
Larva: About 1/4 inch long, color white with yellowish head and dark reddish brown mouthparts
Other: This moth is commonly encountered in homes, warehouses, and stores. The Angoumois Grain Moth does not cause any damage. The larvae will usually attack whole kernel or caked material for development. Infested grain has a sickening smell and taste which makes it unpalatable. The moths will leave a lot of debris on top of the infested grain. They prefer to attack barley, rye, corn, oats, rice, and various seeds.
The adults are attracted to light.
CONTROL

Mediterranean Flour Moth
Adults: Wingspan about 1 inch or less, front wings pale gray, each with 2 black zigzag transverse lines, hind wings dirty white
Larva: About 5/8 to 3/4 inch long, pink white in color
Other: This is a common pest in homes. The adult causes no damage. The larvae cause the problems because they spin silken threads as they crawl around, causing food particles to mat together. They feed on such things as cereals, brans, biscuits, dry dog food, flour, nuts, chocolate, beans, and dried fruits.
Adults are attracted to light.
CONTROL

If you have any questions, please ask Pestdude!

See also:
CONTROL OF STORED PRODUCT PESTS
PEST MANAGEMENT PROFESSIONAL