Stored Product Pests

Stored Product Pests

For centuries humans have grown more food than they can immediately consume and so this excess requires storage for a period before consumption. Stored grain, dried fruit, milled cereals and the like, have always been vulnerable to attack from insects and the control of these insects is important however this can be difficult because sometimes these pests live inside the food product they attack so understanding the habits and life cycle of these stored product pests is crucial.

Stored product pests (sometimes referred to as pantry pests or food pests) can be a health hazard in both domestic and commercial situations. They can cause enormous economic losses through damage and contamination of foodstuffs as well, contaminated food is unsafe for human consumption and hence a health hazard.

As with all pests, stored product pests are not discriminatory . . . they will attack businesses, homes and agricultural food storage areas and anywhere else their favourite types of food are present so it’s wise to have an ongoing pest management program in place along with good sanitation and correct food storage techniques. Keep in mind that these pests will infest a product anywhere from production until it arrives at your home and we find this to be the case quite often when a shop, wholesaler, food processor etc. passes food stuffs along to their customer without knowing that the food or its packaging may contain stored product pest eggs.

Signs of the presence of stored product pests

This invasive collection of pests use stored food as both a source of nutrition and as a habitat and will be found commonly in food processing businesses, flour mills, grain storage facilities, bakeries, shops and of course our homes in our kitchen pantry. Signs of the presence of these pests may be:

  • Damage to grain products from larval feeding which may occur outside or inside a kernel.
  • Both live and dead insects can be found around the food or on nearby shelves
  • Cast larval skins may be present
  • Webbing may be evident on the outside of packets or in cracks and crevices near the food source
  • Unpleasant odours may arise
  • Moths may be seen flying in the pantry

When these signs are noticed, it’s important to act quickly to eliminate the threat and Tahmoor Pest Control is familiar with these pantry pests and have the experience to eliminate them.

Control of Stored Product Pests

When these pests are discovered either within stored food or in the vicinity, scrupulous cleaning is essential. Contaminated food needs to be discarded and all surfaces attended. The problem however, is a reoccurrence of these pests. They are very tenacious with eggs secreted in cracks and crevices and it’s not uncommon for an initial cleaning to have seemingly eliminated the infestation and then several days later find the pest have come back. Also, particularly in a commercial environment, it can be difficult to locate the source of the infestation.

Our technicians, when called in to treat the problem of stored product pests on your premises, will do a thorough survey to locate the cause of the problem and our treatment will include the light application of surface sprays that will eliminate both the immediate infestation and stop any future outbreaks. We may also conduct a steam vapour treatment.

Types of stored product pests

There’s a large variety of stored product pests but here we’ll only focus on those commonly found in NSW businesses and homes.

Indian Meal Moth

Size: adult wingspan 13 – 17mm. Larvae 8 – 15mm in length

Colour: wings are buff to yellow brown whilst larvae tend to be whitish in colour

Breeding pattern: Life cycle 1 – 3 months. Females lay eggs amongst grain the larvae then bore into the kernels.

Laying up to 200 eggs, the female passes from grain to grain spinning a silk thread as it moves and this can be seen as webbing on and around grain. Resultant larvae will then eat the grain and pupate in a cocoon that will be found in cracks and crevices. An extremely common pest found in pantries in NSW homes, the Indian Meal Moth will feed on dried fruits, biscuits, cereals, powdered milk and other common household foodstuffs. These moths are extremely persistent. Because their life cycle is a rapid one, a few moths present can suddenly turn into a full blown infestation. Eradicating the visible moths will only give a temporary fix as larvae will be present in cracks and crevices and will quickly progress to adulthood so a thorough, well planned treatment for this tenacious pantry pest is what’s required and what is the hallmark of the service you’ll receive from Tahmoor Pest Control