Stored Product Pests

General Description
Many kinds of moth larvae and beetles attack cereal products, flour and other dry foods derived from plants, as well as some stored foods of animal origin. Flour beetles, sawtoothed grain beetles and Indian meal moths are some of the more common ones. These insects can be found in opened, and sometimes unopened, packages or containers of grain or other plant material, and in cracks and crevices of cabinets or cupboards. In schools or other public buildings, infestations often originate from food packages brought into the structure. Many pantry pests are capable of flying, therefore they may enter buildings that way. Once inside, these insects can spread to other food.

The young (larvae) and some adult stored product pests feed on grains (e.g., rice, barley, corn, wheat), grain products (including oatmeal, cornmeal, pasta, breakfast cereals, flour, cake mixes, pancake flour, and dry pet food), nuts, dried fruits, and other dry plant material (even dried flower arrangements, ornamental corn, and seed displays), bird seed and pet food. Several types of beetles (cigarette beetles, carpet beetles and others) also will feed on spices and even drugs.

All life stages (egg, larva, pupa, adult) may be present simultaneously in infested products. The adult beetles and moths are frequently seen in cupboards, on counters and cabinets, and around windows. Beetle infestations often can be identified by the presence of old larval skins in the stored product. Indian meal moth larvae spin webbing on the infested product and mature larvae frequently crawl away from their food source to complete development to the adult. These dispersing larvae are often noticed crawling across walls and ceilings.

General Control
Inspections for pantry pests are essentially the same as for kitchen-infesting roaches. Be sure to check packages of cereal products and discard infested materials. Sanitation is the primary method of population reduction where infested stored products are found. In some cases, crack-and-crevice application of insecticides labeled for use in food-handling areas may be beneficial. Re-inspect problem areas frequently. Ongoing monitoring and inspection plans should be put into effect in all kitchens and foodstorage areas. A complete pest management program is recommended. Communication with staff is important. Cleaning and sanitation procedures should be monitored constantly.