Stored Product and Fabric Pests Identification Biology and Control

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Category: 7A

Fundamentally there are 5 broad categories of stored product pests.  These are based on how these pests feed on grain or other stored products.  These categories are internal feeders, external feeders, scavengers, secondary pests and miscellaneous pests.

Internal Feeders. Internal feeders develop as the larvae feed within kernels of whole grain or seeds such as beans and peas.  They feed primarily on whole grain as opposed to processed grain. The main symptom of infestation of these pests is the exit holes of emerging adults.  Examples include rice and granary weevils, lesser grain beetles, and Angoumois grain moth.

External Feeders. These arthropods feed on whole grain and may feed on grain products.  Normally they attack only that part of grain such as the germ or softer parts of grain. Examples include the cigarette beetle, cadelle beetle, drugstore beetle, warehouse beetle, Indian meal moth, and Mediterranean flour moth.

Scavengers.   These pests only attack grain and seeds that has been processed or injured by other insects. They consume flour and  grain parts.  Examples include the red legged ham beetle, merchant grain beetle, flour beetle, sawtoothed grain beetle, cadelle beetle and dried fruit beetle.

Secondary Pests.  These pests are found feeding in grain products that are moldy or severely damaged.  Such items are frequently found in grain bins, abandoned rodent nests, voids in granaries and mills.

Miscellaneous Pests.  These types of pests are not as commonly found on grain products. Occasionally they are rarely found feeding on grain.

Red Flour Beetle (Tribolium castaneum and Confused Flour (Tribolium confusum)

Identification. The most commonly encountered flour beetles are: the red flour beetle and confused flour beetle. Both are similar in physical characteristics. They are flat and oval in shape and usually range around 1/8 inches long. Adults are reddish, shiny and smooth textured. The chief characteristic that can be used to distinguish the adults of each species is the shape of the antennae. The antenna of the red four beetles terminates in a distinct 3 segment club while those of the confused flour beetle ends in a 4 segmented club.  In addition on the underside of the head the compound eyes of the red flour beetle are more narrowly spaced than those of the confused flour beetle.

 File:Tribolium castaneum.jpghttp://www.buckinghampestcontrol.com/Images/page_images/imm_larvae.jpg

Red Flour Beetle.  Image Courtesy Peggy Greb.

 

The eggs, larvae, and pupae of each species resemble each other closely in physical features and are virtually impossible to distinguish from each other. The eggs are tiny, barely visible to the naked eye and typically tend to be a white color, or at times even colorless.  Certain food particles (e.g. flour) tend to stick to their exoskeleton. The larvae have 6 legs, with two pointy projections toward the caudal end the abdomen. The pupae are usually a white or brownish color.

Biology. The biology of both species is quite similar.  Prior to becoming stored products pests, it is thought that these beetles originally lived under bark and in rotting logs. The life cycle (egg to adult) can range from one to three years or more depending on temperature, with the larval stage ranging anywhere from 20 to over 100 days, and the pupal stage around 8 days. Beetles usually breed in damaged grain, grain dust, high-moisture wheat kernels and flour. When found in flour in large numbers they may cause it to turn grey and mold more quickly.  In addition their presence may produce a disagreeable odor due to secretions from their scent glands.  They are quite active and will quickly seek cover when disturbed.  Due to their small size these beetle can invade many types of packaging.  They are unable to climb smooth surfaces such as polyethylene plastic or glass.  As a result, their dead bodies or living beetles could be found at the bottom of packages made of these types of packaging.

The female flour beetle can deposit between 300 and 400 eggs during her lifetime [a period of 5 to 8 months]. The flour beetles mainly infest grain or grain products including, but not limited to cereal, corn meal, oats, rice, flour, and crackers. These beetles are the most abundant insect pest of flour mills across the United States. Their small size allows them to maneuver through cracks and crevices and infest homes and other structures or areas. Once they are present in areas with potential food sources, they can infest material such as flour, resulting in a sharp odor or moldy flavor. The red flour beetle is able to fly short distances while the confused flour beetle is unable to fly. While the confused flour beetle is more commonly found in the northern United States, the red flour beetles are more predominant in the southern United States in areas with warmer climates.

 

American Black Flour Beetle-Tribolium audax

The American black flour beetle is found in temperate regions occurring throughout the northern and western states.

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American Black Flour Beetle

 

Identification. The adult is dark brown to black, 2.8 to 4.5 mm long and is elongate-oval in shape. The adult has dense pits on the surface of its head which meet between its eyes. It has a rounder eye than the European black flour beetle. It is most similar in appearance to the European black flour beetle, Tribolium madens; however, it is found more often than the European black flour beetle. 

Biology. It feeds on cereal grains, flour, meal, seeds and cereal products. This species does not normally infest stored grain. It can survive in unheated storage in milder-climatic regions. The American black flour beetle is a minor pest. The adult and larva are general feeders. Damage is not distinct and is sometimes found in packaged foods. Occasionally it has been found infesting flour mills in the northwest of the United States. A sign of infestation is a disagreeable odor in the commodity.

Adults live on average for 2 to 3 months, although they are reported to live up to 3 years in temperate conditions. The female lays eggs up to 1000 eggs at random, loosely in the food source. The larva is cylindrical and dark brown in color. It is active. It may eat smaller insects and other larvae. The optimal temperature for development is 32°C, and a relative humidity ranging from 50% to 72%. Under these conditions the development time ranges from 41 to 80 days. The larva pupates in the food source.

 

Saw-toothed Grain Beetle (Oryzaephilus surinamensis). Merchant grain Beetle (Oryzaephilus mercator).

 http://www.cals.ncsu.edu/course/ent010/storehouse_pests/sawtooth_grain.jpg

Sawtoothed Grain Beetle.  Image Courtesy North Carolina State Entomology

 

Identification. The sawtoothed grain beetle is closely related to the merchant grain beetle, and is commonly found in kitchen cabinets feeding and other locations as is the sawtoothed grain beetle.  Both beetles are very similar in appearance and are flattened, reddish-brown, and about 1/10-inch long. They have 6 sawtooth-like projections on each side of the thorax. It is difficult to separate these two beetles. Under magnification, the sawtoothed grain beetle has smaller  than eyes than those of the merchant grain beetle. As a result the merchant grain beetles is characterized by a spine like projection behind the eye, while this area is more rounded in the sawtoothed grain beetle

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Merchant grain beetle with spiny area behind the posterior margin of the eye.  Sawtoothed Grain beetle with rounded projection behind eye.

Food Preferences. Both species are common stored-food product pests infesting such products such as cereal, flour, dried fruit, crackers, drug, popcorn, macaroni, chocolate  cornmeal, corn starch  rice, breakfast foods, rolled oats, bran sugar, spices, nuts, herbs, bread, dried dog food, raisins, and other foodstuff.  These pests can easily chew into unopened paper, plastic, tinfoil cardboard, cellophane and, plastic. Once inside container of these materials, populations build up rapidly and frequently quickly spread to other food items. These beetles contaminate more food than they consume, and frequently leave the infested material to pupate in nearby crack and crevices.  Both adults and larvae are external feeders, consuming small food particles and not whole grains. Sawtoothed grain beetles are quite commonly pests in factories that use chocolate.

Both species deposit their eggs in small batches and singly and the sawtoothed grain beetle cannot fly while merchant grain beetle readily does so. Adults of both species are somewhat unusual for beetle in general living about 6 to 10 months with a few surviving as long as 3 years or more. Female sawtoothed grain beetles typically emerge in the spring depositing up to 300 eggs. Egg deposition typically occur a week after adult emergence days and can last up to nearly a month. Their life cycle is quite rapid and can be completed in less than a month under ideal temperatures. The merchant grain beetles deposit around 200 eggs in an average of 35 days and require a little more than a month to complete its life cycle. These beetles may produce several generations a year at high temperatures (85 degrees F to 95 degrees F and 70 % RH). At lower temperature, this number is greatly reduced. The sawtoothed grain beetle prefers cereal-based products, whereas the merchant grain beetle is attracted to dried fruit seeds and nuts. 

 

 Broadhorned  Flour Beetles-Gnathocerus cornutus.  Slenderhorned Flour Beetles-Gnathocerus maxillosus

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Broadhorned Flour Beetles.  Images Courtesy CSIRO

Identification. The broadhorned flour beetle is cosmopolitan in distribution and is a prominent pest of cereal products in the Pacific Coast States of California. The slender horned flour beetle is typically more common in tropical and subtropical areas and as with most cereal product pest is found in many areas of the world.  In the United States, it mainly occurs in the South. Both are readily recognizable by the horn-like extensions of the head. 

Biology. The larvae of both are recorded feeding on flour, corn, corn meal, dog biscuits yeast cakes, bran and even sugar cane.  It prefers flaky material. The life cycle is typically completed in a month (more or less depending on temperature) with adults long lived (to a year).

 

 Internal Feeders

 

Angoumois Grain Moth (Sitotroga cerealella).

Identification. This pest readily attacks corn in both the field and storage. It is quite intolerant to cold temperatures and as a result is not common in the northern United States.  The forewings of this small moth (wingspan of ½ inch) are yellow and without markings while the hindwings are grayish in color. The rear edges of both wings are fringed. As with many moths, adults do not feed. Full-grown larvae are usually yellow to white in color and bear a yellowish brown head with short hair-like projections. Larval size may vary depending on sex, instar, availability of food, and environmental conditions. The last larval instar is about 1/8 inch in length

 

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Angoumois Grain Moth.  Image Courtesy Clemson University - USDA Cooperative Extension Slide Series, Bugwood.org

 

Biology. Eighty to 200 eggs are deposited externally on kernels in grooves or holes that are made by other insects with hatching larvae boring into the seed. The larvae and subsequent pupae remain inside the kernel until adult emergence. The number of eggs is dependent on food, season, or temperature. Two or three larvae may develop on one kernel of corn, but with smaller grain only one adult can be produced. There are 3 larval instars with the last larval instar spinning a silken cocoon within the feeding cavity.

Adults emerge through a small round hole in the kernel. Upon adult emergence, females release a sex pheromone to attract males of the same species.  As with all insects development from egg to adult varies with temperature.  Development is 30 days at 30˚C (86˚F) and 40 days at 25˚C (77˚F).  Minimum temperature/Rh for development is 16˚C (60.8˚F)/30% Rh; optimum is 30˚C (86˚F)/75% Rh and the maximum is 36˚C (95˚F). Adults are generally short lived (around a week) and do not feed.
As with most moths the peak time for flight activity is dusk. Air moving through the mold infested grain is quite attractive to these moths.

These moths can coexist with sawtoothed grain beetles but lesser grain borers or maze weevils totally suppress populations of this pest. The larva may become inactive for 4 to 5 months during the winter in colder climates. This species typically generally 4 to 5 generations per year, although in ideal conditions (heated warehouses) there may be as many as 10 to 12.

Food Preference. Angoumois grain moths can be found infesting a variety of grain and food materials. They attack all cereal grains, however are most often found in corn and wheat. It prefers damp grain in as opposed to old dry grain and is the only stored product pest that will attack standing grains in the field. In dry stored grain, Sitotroga cerealella infestations may cause the grain to heat and increase its moisture content in the infested area. This encourages mold growth and creates an environment favorable for other insect infestations.

 

 Khaphra Beetle-Trogoderma granarium. From APHIS

The Khapra beetle (Trogoderma granarium), (also called cabinet beetle) is one of the world’s most destructive pests of seeds, grain and grain product. It is listed as one of the world’s 100 worst invasive species. Infestations are difficult to control because of the insect's ability to survive without food for long periods, its preference for dry conditions and low-moisture food, and its resistance to many insecticides. There is a federal quarantine restricting the importation of rice into the U.S from countries with known infestations of this beetle. Populations can build rapidly in a short time under hot, dry conditions. Grain damage, depending on existing conditions, often reaches 30% to 70% damage.  Feeding and contamination by Khapra beetles results in the following changes to grain: weight loss, reduction in grade, and quality damage of processed products.

In 1953, an extensive infestation was found in California, which may have been present since 1946. Subsequent surveys revealed its presence in Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas, as well as in Mexico in the states of Baja California, Chihuahua, Jalisco and Sonora. The infestation was finally eradicated in 1966 (USDA–APHIS–PPQ). Subsequently customs intercepted the beetle on several times in later years terminating on 100 times in 2011,

Like many beetles in this family, the body of the immature stage has barbed hairs that can contaminate grain. Exposure to grain contaminated with hairs can lead to dermal and gastric health hazards. The hairs can cause skin irritation in individuals handling heavily infested grain. If swallowed, victims can experience ulcerative colitis. This is particularly distressing for young children who often experience vomiting and diarrhea, and refuse food.

Identification. Adult beetles are brownish and 1.6-3 mm in length.  Total larval body length is .25 to 3 mm, a little more than half of which terminates in a long tail of hairs. The color is uniformly yellowish‐white, except for the head and body hairs, which are brown.

 

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Khaphra Beetle Adult and Larvae.  Images Courtesy Bugwood and USDA.

 

Feeding Habits.  Khapra beetle prefers grain and cereal products, particularly wheat, barley, oats, rye, maize, rice, flour, malt, and noodles. This pest will feed on almost any dried plant or animal matter, including dog food, dried orange pulp, bread, and dried coconuts. Khapra beetle can feed on products with as little as 2% moisture content, and can develop on animal matter such as dead mice, dried blood, and dried insects.  Reported grocery store commodities include bread, dried coconuts, cornmeal, crackers, white and whole wheat flour, hominy grits, baby cereals, pearl barley, and wheat germ.

Life Cycle.  In the absence of food, larvae are stimulated to diapause by adverse conditions, such as extremes of temperature, humidity and crowding. In this condition larvae may survive about nine months. With food, they may live for six years. In this state of very low metabolic activity, they are extremely resistant to the effect of contact insecticides or fumigants and complete control of an infestation may thus be difficult.

Adult females die soon after oviposition is complete.  Adults are usually short‐lived, but have been known to survive several months or years at temperatures below 16 F.  Under optimal conditions, Khapra beetle can sustain a population increase of 12.5 times per month.  As a result populations can build up rapidly in a short time under hot, dry conditions. They can survive in colder climates in heated situations such as warehouses, food plants, and grain storage. Completion of the life cycle usually lasts 4–6 weeks, but can last up to 3 years depending on temperature, available food supply, and potential for diapause. There are usually 4–5 generations per year, but there can be as many as 12 under optimum conditions.

Control. Fumigation with methyl Bromide is the most effective treatment.

 

Cowpea weevil- Callosobruchus maculates, Broad bean weevil-Bruchus rufimanus, Bean weevil-Acanthoscelides obtectus

Identification. The adults are relatively small beetles, 0.13 to 0.2 inch (3.5 to 5 mm) in length, somewhat teardrop or triangular in shape, olive-brown with darker brown and gray patches on the elytra.  The elytra are shorter than the abdomen leaving a few segments exposed.  The larva is a white grub with a brown head. It is about 1/8 inch long at maturity and has a wrinkled, hump-backed appearance.

Depending on the species the eggs of these beetles are typically glued to the pod or bean (cowpea weevil), to green pods (broad bean weevil), or deposited loosely among beans or cracks in the pods (bean weevil). The larval and pupal stages remain inside the bean. The cowpea weevil is possibly the most common of these beetles in California. Infestations may originate in the field via adults moving to bean fields from trash beans in planters, used sacks, harvesters, or feed areas. The cowpea weevil commonly attacks dried beans and as a result can be a serious storage pest.

As with cow pea weevils, bean weevil infestations can originate in the field and may also originate from trash beans. The bean weevil will readily consume dried beans and is frequently a pest in stored beans. Broad bean weevil infestations occur in the field, but this pest is not a storage problem.

 

 File:Bonenkever Acanthoscelides obtectus.jpgFile:Acanthoscelides obtectus 1236032.jpg

 

Infested Beans and Bean weevil.  Images Courtesy Bonenkever schade bij sperciebonen and USDA-Clemson University

Life History. Adult beetles deposit lay eggs on bean pods in the field.  Depending on prevailing temperatures in 3 to 30 days the emerging larvae and bore into the seeds where they feed until mature.  Pupation occurs in the seed which is followed by the adults cutting round holes through the seed coats. Multiple generations will occur as long as food left in the beans and viable temperatures prevail.

Management. Infestations of these weevils in the field are frequently not obvious. Heating or freezing temperatures can used to control these weevils.  Peas or beans may be exposed in freezers at 0 degrees F or less for 4 days.  The beans may be stored at freezing temperature to prevent reinfestation, or they may be stored in containers.  In order to avoid possible development of mold the beans should be thoroughly dried prior to storage.

Coffee Bean Weevil. Other common names include areca nut weevil, cocoa weevil, coffee weevil and nutmeg weevil. It is found in tropical regions of the world including Central and South America, Asia and the tropical Pacific, Australia and typically does not survive in temperate regions. It is of minor importance in the southern United States.                                                                                          

Identification. This weevil is a small dome shaped beetle that is a pest of stored food products.  Adult length varies from 3mm - 5mm. The beetle is mottled dark brown and lighter brown patches and with a body length of 3 to 5 mm. It has long legs and long antennae with three large segments on the end forming a club. The elytra almost cover the abdomen, but leave the last segment slightly exposed. The body is covered in fine short hairs. Other common names include areca nut weevil, cocoa weevil, coffee weevil, and nutmeg weevil.

It is found in tropical regions of the world including Central and South America, Asia and the tropical Pacific, Australia and typically does not survive in temperate regions. It is of minor importance in the southern United States.

 

 Coffee Bean Weevil | Araecerus fasciculatus photohttp://www.ces.csiro.au/aicn/images/cain1289.jpg

Coffee Bean Weevil Image Courtesy (left ) USDA-ARSCSIRO, (right) CSIRO.

Biology. The Coffee Bean Weevil is an agricultural pest and attacks stored products such as coffee, cocoa, yams, maize, corn, groundnuts, Brazil nuts, nutmeg and ginger. The larvae tunnel into and hollow out stored food products. They pupate inside and adults bore circular holes when they emerge.

 

 Grain Weevils-Sitophilus sp.

Identification. There are 3 species of weevils that commonly infest whole grain, namely the granary weevil (Sitophilus granaries), the rice weevil (Sitophilus oryzae) and the maze weevil (Stiphilus zeamai). All species are very similar in appearance with a few minor but significant differences.  These species have chewing mouthparts that are located at the end of their snouts and are about 1/8 to 3/16-inch in length.  In the case of small grains such as millet or milo maize, these weevils are small but are larger in corn. Unlike the other two, deep round punctures and light spots are lacking on the granary weevil. Also, the granary weevil cannot fly, whereas the maze and rice weevil can. The larvae of these weevils are legless, humpbacked and white to creamy in color with a small, tan head. The pupal stages of both have snouts as with the adults. The maize weevil is similar to the rice weevil, but larger.

 

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Left.  Rice Weevil Adult and Right. Granary Weevil. Images Courtesy Wikipedia.

 

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Rice or Granary Weevil Larvae.

 

Host Range.  Rice and Granary Weevils are not picky eaters, and can be found living in and eating not only rice, but also wheat, corn, oats, rye, birdseed, beans, barley, sunflower seeds, cashew nuts, cereals, fruits, and even clothing.  Larvae are legless, white, and round and develop and hatch within seed kernels or similar substances such as macaroni, and then eat their way out. They are cosmopolitan in distribution having been shipped all over the world in infested grain. The maze weevil has a similar distribution occurring throughout warm, humid regions around the world, especially in locations where maize is grown.  

Life Cycle and Habits.  The egg, larva, and pupa stages of both weevils occur in the grain kernels and are rarely seen. The female eats a hole in a kernel of gain large enough to insert its ovipositor and subsequently deposits a single egg.  Oviposition takes as little as 3 minute and is followed by the female sealing the hole.  Eggs hatch in 3 day at lower temperature (65 degree F.). Feeding is done within the grain kernel, and adults cut exit holes to emerge. Emergence holes of the granary weevil are larger than those of the rice weevil, and tend to be more ragged than smooth and round.

Female granary weevils deposit from 3 dozen to a few hundred eggs. The entire life cycle requires about 30 to 40 days during the summer, and 120 to 150 days during the winter. Adults live several months or slightly more. Female rice weevils lay significantly more eggs ranging between 300 to 400 eggs, with the life cycle requiring approximately a month. Rice weevil adults live 3 to 6 months and infest grain in the field, especially so in the South. With rice weevils 2 larvae can develop in a singly kernel of wheat, but with the granary weevil only a single larva can develop in a wheat. Adults of both species readily feign death by drawing up their legs close to the body, falling, and remain motionless when disturbed.

Non-Chemical Control Measures.  The most effective control measure is to find the source of infestation and eliminate it as fast as possible. A flashlight can be used to examine food products and food storage areas. Infested items should be wrapped in heavy plastic bags or in sealed containers for removal, or buried deep in the soil. If an infestation is detected quickly, disposal alone may solve the problem, especially so in limited situations.

Due their rapid reproductive capacity grains stored for a month in summer months or warm conditions may lead to infestations. When feasible grain should be purchased in small quantities and used quickly. In addition this should be stored in insect-proof glass, heavy plastic or metal containers with screw tops, airtight lids. When longer storage is required refrigeration is suggested.

When purchased whole grain whole grains, such as rice, rye, nuts, wheat, buckwheat, oats, barley, corn, rice, birdseed, beans, etc. for infestations. This is especially important when purchasing these products from processing plants, grain storage facilities and stores with minimal turnover. Fortunately, all stages of these weevils can be killed easily by super heating or cooling. Storage area should be well-ventilated to discourage the presence of moisture-loving stored product pests.

 

Broad Nosed Grain Weevil-Caulophilus oryzae

The broad-nosed granary weevil is primarily a Central American species. But it can be found in Central and South America, the West Indies and the southern United States. It is most often encountered in tropical subsistence agriculture where infestations begin prior to harvest.

Identification. The adult weevil ranges from brown to black in color. It is small in size, 2.5 to 3.5 mm. Caulophilus oryzae is most similar in appearance to the granary, rice and maize weevils. However, it has a shorter and wider snout and does not have spots on the elytra. The broad-nosed granary weevil also has elbowed antennae.

Adult - Broad-nosed granary weevil – Caulophilus oryzae

Broad Nosed Grain Weevil.  Image Courtesy Grain Canada.

Biology. The broad-nosed granary weevil is a minor pest of corn and stored products. It has been reported in avocado orchards in the southern United States where it infests the seeds of fallen avocado fruit. Damage is distinctive. Both the adult and larva feeds on the kernel. The female lays eggs in grain kernels. The larva feeds and develops inside the same. Larval feeding leaves a huge cavity in the kernel. The emerging adult leaves a ragged exit hole in the kernel.

The female lays eggs singly in the grain kernel and can lay between 200 to 300 eggs. It chews a small hole and then inserts one egg into the hole and plugs the hole with a waxy secretion. The larva is white, grub-like and legless. It develops inside the grain kernel. It pupates inside the kernel. When the adult emerges, it chews its way out of the kernel, leaving a ragged exit hole. The development time is approximately one month under optimal conditions. The adult beetle lives for 3 to 6 months; it can live longer in cooler temperatures.

 

Flat Grain Beetle, Cryptolestes pusillus

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 Flat Grain Beetle. Image Courtesy University of Nebraska Entomology.

 

Identification. These pests are frequently grouped with the "flat grain beetles" or "bran bugs." Technically they are the rusty grain beetle, the flat grain beetle, and the flour mill beetle. These beetles are quite flat and shiny and have comparatively long, slender antennae. The antennae of both sexes of the rusty grain beetles are approximately half the length of their body. The male antennae of the flour mill beetle and flat grain beetle narrows towards the posterior, as opposed to those of the flat and flour mill beetles which are more nearly square. All adults of these species are strong fliers. Last instar larvae are approximately 3 mm long, whitish and somewhat flattened. The posterior body is slightly broader than the anterior. The head and a sclerotized forked anal process are slightly darkened. The rusty grain beetle is more cold tolerant than the other species.

Life Cycle. If conditions are ideal (25°C and 75% relative humidity)), the females will begin laying eggs within 4 days after emergence and oviposition continuously for more than 34 weeks. Average fecundity is 242 eggs per female. Eggs are deposited singly in crevices or furrows in kernels of grain, in space between kernels, or in debris. Larvae burrow into kernels of grain but may leave their burrows in search of  more favorable food. There are 4 larval instars, the last of which often pupates inside kernels. Once emerges adults remain inside the pupal cases before emerging. The length of the entire life cycle  varies depending on  species, with both rusty and flat grain beetles taking slightly over 3 weeks  at 32 - 35°C and 75% Rh while flour mill beetle requires approximately 4 to 5 weeks. All fed on grain and cereal products and a variety of other stored products. They have been recorded in corn, wheat, corn, barley, flour, cassava root, oilseeds, dried fruits and chilies. The lava prefers on the germ of the whole kernels, but sometimes hollow out the entire kernel.  Moldy endosperm makes it more suitable to larval feeding. These beetles are considered unable to feed on sound grain, but will attack kernels with very slight imperfections or injuries.                                                                                                                                                   

 Foreign Grain Beetle-Ahasverus advena

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 Foreign Grain Beetle-Ahasverus advena

 

Identification. The foreign grain beetle is a rather small beetle, approximately 1⁄12 inch in length. This beetle can be distinguished chiefly by their small size, slight projections or knobs on each front corner of the pronotum (top of prothorax) and its club-shaped antennae. The larvae are worm-like, cream-colored and often reach a length of 3 mm before pupating into darker adults. Adults are a reddish brownish color (occasionally black). They are very similar to the saw-toothed grain beetle, but lack the "sawtoothed" projections on the pronotum. The foreign grain beetle is found in both tropical and temperate regions, since the temperature for complete development lies between 20 to 35 °C.

Biology. They usually become apparent in early summer to late fall when humidity levels are highest. These beetles can only survive if relative humidity exceeds 70%. Contrary to what their name suggests, the only things they eat are mold or fungi. The common name of this beetle relates from the fact that they often feed on moldy grain. Regardless, injury by this pest is not severe enough to cause noticeable economic loss. They can appear near bathtubs, sinks or any moist area and can enter houses from the walls near pipes.

Adult females begin laying eggs around 3–4 days after pupating to an adult female. Daily oviposition rates are 1-4 eggs, but can be as high as 8–12 eggs. These eggs are laid singly or in clusters of two or three, and hatch in 4–5 days. The larval stage is completed in 11–19 days, and then it will pupate for 3–5 days. Under laboratory conditions, and a temperature of 27°C, the transition from egg to adult beetle takes about 3 weeks. Larval development times increase with decreasing humidity and/or temperature.

Damage. These are harmless insects that sometimes inhabit dwellings. They infest a number of products such as grains, cereal products, oilseeds, dried fruit, and spices. An infestation will occur if mold has grown on these products due to a damp environment. Hence, these beetles are considered good indicators of damp storage conditions, and spoiled food. They do not bite or damage wood, fabric or stored food. They only feed on the mold and fungi that has grown on them. They are especially problematic in new houses due to the mold and fungal growth on new lumber or wet wall board.

 

 Lesser Grain Borer-Rhizopertha domonica

 Description. Adults beetle are very small (approximately 1/8 inches) and dark brown to black in color. The body is cylindrical in shape with the head not visible from a dorsal angle. The prothorax is pitted with blunt knobs or spines dorsally.  The elytre distinct rows of pits running longitudinally along its length.. The antennae are 10 segmented with a 3 segment club. The larvae are white, stout bodied and c-shaped.

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Lesser Grain Borer.  Image Courtesy USDA/Bugwood.

 

 Damage. This beetle is both internal and external feeder and a serious pest of both cereal products and whole kernel grain.  Both larvae and adults readily bore into undamaged kernels of grain and subsequently reduce them to hollow husks. They are also able reproduce in accumulated "flour" produced as the seeds are chewed up. This beetle is primarily a pest in stored corn and wheat, but it can infest nuts, tobacco, beans, bird seed, cassava biscuits, dried fruit, cocoa beans, spices, peanuts, rodenticide baits, and dried meat and fish.

Biology. Adult females lay eggs singly or in groups of up to 30. The eggs are laid on the outside of the grain or in the fine powdered grain associated with infestations of this beetle. A female can produce from 200 to 500 white eggs during a lifetime. Development from egg to adult depends on temperature. In hot summer conditions it may take as few as 30 days, but the average is about 58 days. Pupation takes place inside the hollow shell of the seed or in the "flour" that accumulates with infested grain.

Stores, Warehouses, feed and health food stores and grocery stores to name a few should monitored for beetle infestations with pheromone traps. Whole grains such as popcorn, wheat berries, bird seed, spice seeds, dried beans, and seeds for sprouting should be stored in insect-proof glass, plastic, or metal, or containers. Infested products should be discarded. Home infestations are occasionally a result of grain-stuffed animals, decorative corn or other ornaments. There is an unpleasant odor common to with infestations of this beetle that makes certain foodstuff unpalatable. As with many stored product pests. Sanitation is very important in control and prevention. As a result shelves and other storage areas should be vacuumed and wiped down with warm soapy water. Small, isolated infestations may be controlled with residual and space sprays. However, larger infestations typically require fumigation to eliminate pest populations. Grain protectants are commonly used to hinder infestations, but some are less effective against this beetle than they are against other insects.

 

Larger Grain Borer. Protephanus truncates. 

Identification.  These small (4mm) beetles have a uniform dark brown to black color.  The adults are similar in appearance to the lesser grain borer but slightly larger, about 1/16 inches. They have distinctive pits on the elytra and small teeth on the front of the thorax. The ends of the elytra appear jagged. These beetles are excellent fliers and are attracted to insect light traps. The immature stage is approximately 3-4 mm long, white to yellowish in color.  It has a grub like in appearance and stubby thoracic legs.  

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 Larger Grain Borer. Image Courtesy USDA.

 

Biology.  Female beetles will deposit 200 – 500 eggs in grains over a 4 -6 month life span.  Eggs hatch in about three days, and the larvae can mature within 30 days or as long as 58 days depending on temperature.  Adults will feed on grains continuously until death. The larger grain borer is a primary pest of whole grains, especially corn and cassava root. The adults chew small holes in the kernel and then lay several eggs in the grain or in the grain mass.  Damage is seldom noticed until exit holes appear and adults are seen roaming the grain mass.  

 

External Grain Feeders

Mediterranean Flour Moth -Ephestia kuehniella. 

Identification. This moth is somewhat larger than the Indian meal moth. The adult moth is a pale-gray color and from 1/4 to 1/2 inch long, with a wingspread of slightly less than one inch. The forewings are marked with two indistinct, black zigzag lines while the hindwings are a dirty white. This moth is easily recognized by its characteristic pose when resting. When at rest, the moth extends the forelegs which raises the head and gives the body a sloping appearance. None of the other house moths have this characteristic pose.

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Mediterranean Flour Moth.  Image Courtesy USDA/Bugwood.

 

Development and damage is similar to the Indian meal moth, except the larvae spin and develop and feed within in small silken tubes. Although flour is a more common source of the larvae, grains, bran, breakfast foods and pollen in beehives are also attacked. The life cycle takes about 10 weeks. The webbing and matting of the larvae often cause the greatest amount of damage by this insect, whether it is contaminating foods in the home or clogging industrial machinery.

Biology. The female moth lays from 116 to 678 small white eggs in accumulations of flour, meal, waste grain, nuts, chocolate, beans, dried fruits and other food sources. Within a few days (three days at 80 to 90 degrees F) the eggs hatch into small whitish or pinkish larvae, with a very hard and dark colored head and small black spots on the body, that immediately begin to spin silken tubes. The larvae remain within the tubes until fully mature, which takes approximately forty days. Once fully grown mature larvae leave wander in search of a pupation location, spin silken cocoons to transform into mature reddish-brown pupae. Adult emergence occurs in 8 to 12 days. In near ideal conditions (warm weather) this moth may complete its life cycle (egg to adult) in 5 to7 weeks.

 

Cadelle Beetle-Tenebroides mauritanicus

cadelle beetle (Tenebroides mauritanicus ) on wheat (Triticum spp. ) - 1234042

Cadelle Beete Adult and Larva.  Image Courtesy USDA-Clemson University.

 

Identification. Cadelles are the largest of the major stored product pests. They are shiny, dark brown/red and about 1/2 inch long. There is a distinct narrow gap between the prothorax and front of the elytra thus resembling a waist. Their larvae are elongated, creamy white with distinct black heads. There are 2 sclerotized dark plates on dorsum of the prothorax. The anal segment bears 2 horny points (urogomphi). Las instar larvae are about 0.6 to one inches in length.

Biology.  Females are long live and capable of depositing 1,000 eggs or more in batches of 10 to 60 in on grain or other food materials. Both active stages (adults and larvae) feed on grain going from kernel to kernel, typically only feeding on the germ. There are 4 larval instars with the species completing one or two generations per year in temperate regions. Larval development may be as short as eight weeks under optimum conditions. The larvae often migrate from the source of the infestation to pupate in a depression within wood or other materials. Cadelles are primary feeders on a variety of grains, flour, and meal. They produce irregular holes in undamaged kernels and prefer the seed germ but will also eat endosperm. This beetle is commonly found in wooden bins. Both larvae and adults will bore into wood surfaces during their development cycle.

Control. Eggs and pupae are easily killed at 0 degrees F; however, larvae and adults can survive at 15 to 20 degrees F for several weeks.

 

Drugstore beetle (Stegobium paniceum), Cigarette Beetle (Lasioderma serricorne).

Identification. Both of these closely related species are similar in size (1/8 inch), shape (cylindrical) and color (brown). In addition their heads are withdrawn into the thorax and are only slightly visible from a dorsal angle. The drugstore beetle characteristically differs from the cigarette beetle in that the former has rows of deep pits running the length of the elytra or wing cover.  In addition the antennae of the drugstore beetle terminate in three elongated segments while those of the cigarette beetle are saw-like or serrate. The larvae of each are white, c-shaped and have a well-developed head capsule and 3 pair of thoracic legs.

 http://i.pbase.com/o2/94/339594/1/124827894.HUGbgDkY.IMG_4370.JPGhttp://www.cyberpestcontrol.com/images/cigbtl.gif

 

Adults of A (left image). Drugstore Beetle. B (right image) Cigarette Beetle

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Drugstore and Cigarette Beetle and Drugstore Beetle Larvae.  Image Courtesy B. Cabrera. University Florida Entomology.

 

Feeding Habits.  Both of these beetles, as with most stored product pests, are worldwide in distribution.  They feed on a wide variety including many materials that are not consumed by humans.   Common foods include flour, meal. Breakfast foods, dried dog food, spices (e.g. red pepper, dried tomatoes), rice, raisins, dates, ginger, dried fish drugs, rodent baits and much, much more. Both species are can be serious pests of manuscripts and books. These beetles have been known to bore straight through all pages of a shelved book.  These beetles are external feeders and do not typically feed internally in grain.

Nonfood material includes wool, hair, leather and museum specimens. This pest has symbiotic yeasts that produce B vitamins, which allow it to survive even when consuming foods of low nutritional value.  The cigarette beetle is an important pest on tobacco feeding not only on stored cigars but also bailed tobacco leaves. 

Biology.  Both species are attracted to lights during the night or dark cloudy days. Females are capable of producing up to 75 eggs during a 13- to 65-day period. Larval development ranges from 4 to 20 weeks depending on temperature. Pupation typically occurs off the host and can range 12 to 18 days. At room temperature the entire life cycle lasts approximately two months, but can extend as long as seven at lower temperatures. Several overlapping generations can occur in warm climates or conditions.  In colder areas there is normally one generation per year.

Control. Insect traps are available for L. serricorne, which contain specific pheromones to attract male beetles and help to detect and monitor infestations. Infested bulk tobacco in the form of bales of hogsheads can be fumigated using methyl bromide or aluminum phosphide.

Dosage rates and treatment times with methyl bromide are 20 grams/m3 at 21 °C above and 32 grams/m3 for 48–72 hours at 7–20 °C. Methyl bromide is not recommended for cigar tobacco because it can produce off odors in the product.

With phosphine dosage rates are one gram of phosphine (equivalent to a 3-gram table) per 3 for 5 days at 12–15 °C and 4 days at 16–20 °C and 3 days above 20 °C. For localized infestations the approach is to find the infested product, dispose of it, and treat around the area with a residual insecticide such as cypermethrin to kill off any remaining beetles. These beetles are susceptible to cold temperatures which may be used in control or prevention of infestations. 

Identification. The longheaded flour beetle (Latheticus oryzae) is pale yellow-brown, slender, flattened, and about 2.5-3 mm in length. The antennae form a compact 5 segmented club. It resembles the red flour beetle  in size and shape, but is lighter in color. The larvae are light brown in color and about 5 mm long. They are elongate with 3 pairs of legs and are very similar in appearance to Tribolium larvae. The larva is light brown and 5 mm long. It is active and pupates in the food source.

 

 Longheaded Flour Beetle-Latheticus orzae

The longheaded flour beetle is distributed worldwide. It is not cold tolerant and typically thrives in hot, damp conditions. In temperate regions, it can be found only in heated storage areas. Latheticus oryzae is considered a minor pest of stored grain. It is destructive in mills and granaries. The longheaded flour beetle is of little importance in the United States but occurs in most parts of the Southwestern States.

Identification. The longheaded flour beetle (Latheticus oryzae) is pale yellow-brown, slender, flattened, and about 2.5-3 mm in length. The antennae form a compact 5 segmented club. It resembles the red flour beetle  in size and shape, but is lighter in color. The larvae are light brown in color and about 5 mm long. They are elongate with 3 pairs of legs and are very similar in appearance to Tribolium larvae. The larva is light brown and 5 mm long. It is active and pupates in the food source.

 http://agspsrv34.agric.wa.gov.au/ento/pestweb/images/longhead1rees.jpg

 

Longheaded Flour Beetle. Image Courtesy CSIRO.

Biology. The longheaded flour beetle is a generalist feeder. A sign of infestation is a disagreeable odor in the commodity. This beetle is a generalist feeder. It feeds on stored grain, cereals, oilseeds, flour and processed grains, pasta, oatmeal, tea and corn. Both the adult and larva are pests of cereals and oilseeds. A sign of infestation is a disagreeable odor. Breeding conditions require temperatures in the range of 25°C - 40°C and a relative humidity that is greater than 30%. The female lays eggs randomly and loosely in a food source. The female may lay up to 300 eggs during her lifetime. The longheaded flour beetle does not thrive in conditions below 27.5°C and requires a temperature higher than 25°C to complete its development. The average development time is 22 days.

 

Rice Moths-Corcyra  cephclonica 

IN-7.0 Rice Moth

Adult Rice Moth.  Image Courtesy USDA

 

Identification. The rice moth is similar in size to the Indian meal moth, but is much less common. The larvae are general feeders and prefer warm climates. The adult moth has pale buff-brown uniform colored forewings with 15-25mm wingspan with a nearly transparent hindwing. The wing tips are rounded and tightly folded to the body when at rest. The larvae are dull white, with long fine hair and dark brown heads.

Biology. As the larvae feed they web debris, grains, and other small item into galleries in which they ultimately develop. When fully-grown, they form white cocoons to pupate. Pupae are typically located in food or between pallets and sacks and require four to eight weeks prior to adult emergence. . As with many moths they do not feed and consequently live for one to two weeks. Females deposit from 100 to 200 eggs on or near potential food sources. This species can have several generations in tropical countries but temperate areas typically produce one. This is one of the key pests of biscuits, cocoa, sorghum, rice, pearl millet, sorghum and seeds. Larvae also contaminate foods by due the silk that web together food particles, dusts and frass. These will render infested products unaccepted for consumption.

 

Indian Meal Moth (Plodia interpunctella)

    File:Indianmeal moth 2009.jpgFile:Plodia interpunctella lrv 79.jpg

Indian Meal Moth Adult and Larvae. Image Courtesy kaldari (left) and (right) puddingforbrains.

Identification. Adult moths are approximately 3/8-inch long and have a wing spread of about 1/2 to 3/4 inch. When at rest and viewed from a dorsal angle with the wings folded over the back, the outer half of the front wing is reddish- bronze while the inner half is light gray to ochre-yellow.   The head and thorax are reddish-brown and the hind wings grayish. Last instar larvae are about 2/3 inch in length and dirty white, sometimes tinged green or pink. These active larvae molt 4 to 7 times prior pupating.

Life Cycle. This species is considered the most damaging of the grain-infesting moths. This commonly the result of larvae spinning silken threads as they move and feed in infested material, consequently webbing food particles together. Besides infesting all whole grains and cereal they also feed on a wide variety of food products such as dog and cat food, fish food, powdered milk, cornmeal, flour, raisins, dried fruits, nuts, prunes, candies, chocolate, health food, seeds, bird seed, graham crackers, dried red pastas, peppers and much more.

Biology.  These moths fly mostly at night and are attracted to lights. Occasionally, the larvae or "white worms with brown heads" crawl up walls and suspend from the ceiling attached to a single silken thread. Other times, a few larvae may be found in a food package along with unsightly webbing, cast skins and frass. Packages of whole wheat, graham flour and corn meal are often infested. Most activity occurs in the warmer month (faster life cycle), but often appear at other times. Some adult moths fly into structures during summer months, but most "hitchhike" inside in packaged goods and groceries. Not only homes, but restaurants, grocery stores, warehouses, pet stores, seed companies, mills and many more locations where their food is present become infested.

The reproductive capacity of females is quite variable depositing between 60 and 300 eggs, singly or in clusters, on or near potential food. Eggs hatch quickly (2 to 14 days) with dispersing within a few hours. Larvae seek food ultimately producing a tunnel-like case consisting of frass and silk.  As indicated food becomes matted with silken webbing. In stored grains, the larvae are surface feeders. Once fully developed, larvae  abandon their silken tubes and frequently "wander" a considerable distances from their food source prior to locating a pupation location (often in cracks and crevices). It is not uncommon for some crawl up walls and pupate where the wall and ceiling meet.

The length of the entire life cycle (egg to adult) l may range from as little as 4 weeks and up to 300 days depending on prevailing temperatures. In cold climates, the larvae overwinter with pupation subsequently occurring in March and adults emerging a few weeks later. There may be 5 generations a year, again deepening on prevailing temperatures.

Detection. The most common and obvious indication of a Indian meal moth infestation is the silk webbing the larvae (caterpillars) produce when feeding on the surfaces of foods. As indicated, their food becomes matted with silken webbing. In stored grains, the larvae are surface feeders. Once fully developed,  larvae leavetheir silken tubes an frequently "wander"  considerable distances from the food source prior to locating a pupation location (often in cracks and crevices). It is not uncommon for some crawl up walls and pupate where the wall and ceiling meet.  

As indicated, food becomes matted with silken webbing. In stored grains, the larvae are surface feeders. Once fully developed larvae l abandon their silken tubes an frequently "wander" a considerable distances from their food source prior to locating a pupation location (often in cracks and crevices). It is not uncommon for some crawl up walls and pupate where the wall and ceiling meet.

Meal Moth (Pyralis farinalis)

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Meal Moth  Image Courtesy Entomart

Identification.  This is a medium-sized moth with a wingspan of 15-30 mm. The basal third of the forewing is reddish-brown and the median area brownish-white and the terminal area reddish-brown. There are white bands running crosswise on both forewings and hindwings. At rest, the adults fold their wings flat while the abdomen is extended and curled over the body  The species farinalis gets its name from the Latin farina, a fine meal of vegetable matter (as cereal grains, nuts or sea moss).

Biology. The female deposits an average of 300+ eggs with hatching larvae developing in as little as 6 weeks. As with the Indian meal moth, the larvae silk tubes that are coated or mixed with food particles and feed from the open ends. Once fully developed they abandon these tubes to subsequently pupate in silken cocoons. The larvae feed on a variety of grain products. They are most frequently found infesting food products that are in poor condition, moldy, moist, or stored in damp places.  Other foods recorded as larval food are straw, hay, cork, dried fruit, and even candy.

Yellow Mealworm-Tenebrio molitor.  Dark Mealworm-Tenebrio obscures.

Identification. Both species are of similar size and shape.  The adult dark mealworm is a dull black beetle with flattened shape and parallel sides. It varies in color from brown to black. The larvae of dark mealworms are dark brown. The adult beetle is similar to the related yellow mealworm beetle, which has a more glossy appearance and is lighter in color with yellowish brown larvae. Full grown larvae measure 1 1/8 inch in length, are hard bodies and possess a pair of short upturned appendages on the top of the last abdominal segment.

Life Cycle.  Meal worms overwinter in the larval stage with adults emerging in the early spring to summer which subsequently live a few months.  Generally there is one generation per year although some individual larva may require 2 years to complete development. Larvae typically feed on the surface of the material within which they are found.  Females can deposit up to 500 eggs with subsequent hatching occurring in 4 to 19 days. There are up 20 larval instars. Due to their long life cycle the insects rarely do significant damage or reach large populations.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/38/Mealworms_in_plastic_container_of_bran.jpg/220px-Mealworms_in_plastic_container_of_bran.jpg yellow mealworm, Tenebrio molitor  (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) - 5462394

Mealworms nestled in a bedding of bran within a jabari plastic container. Image Courtesy Richard Chambers (left) and USDA/Bugwood (right)

Uses. Mealworms are high in protein and are frequently used as a commercial source of food source for reptiles, fish, and bird pets. They are also provided to wild birds in bird feeders, particularly during the nesting season when birds are raising their young. They are also commonly used for fishing bait.

Tenebrio molitor is also used for biological research because of its relatively large size, ease of rearing and handling, and status as a non model organism. These insects  can be purchased at most pet stores and bait shops, and are available via mail order or internet suppliers (by the thousand). They are typically sold in a container with bran or oatmeal for food.

Superworms-Zophobas morio

Zophobas morio is a species of darkling beetle where the larvae are known by the common name superworm or zophobas. Superworms are relatively new to the reptile pet industry. In the search for easy-to-raise insects to use as food for captive reptiles and amphibians, superworms quickly moved into the spotlight, and have been a staple feeder insect ever since.

 

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Superworm.  Image Courtesy André Karwath aka 

Identification. The insect larvae resemble very large mealworms but are much larger measuring about 1½ to 2¼ inches in length..

Biology. The larvae will not pupate if kept in a container with many other larvae. Apparently the constant bodily contact prevents pupation. Keeping superworms this way is commonly used to hinder pupation. Lizards, frogs, turtles, salamanders, frogs, birds, Koi and other insectivorous animals readily eat superworms. Since they have a relatively hard exoskeleton, arachnids and some predatory insects are less receptive. The nutritional values is similar to those of mealworms; as a result, their diet needs to be supplemented with calcium in the lack of other foods.

 Lesser mealworm, Alphitobius diaperinusThis species is worldwide in distribution and considered a general stored products pest and a vector and reservoir of several domestic fowl pathogens and parasites. On occasion adults can become a nuisance when they are attracted residential lights near fields where these beetles infested manure.

Identification. Adults of this beetle are oval, somewhat convex, black to dark brown and typically shiny. However, color can vary deepening on a number of factors including age or 'strain' of the species. Their length is approximately 5.8 to 6.3 mm. The antennae are covered with short yellowish hairs and bear lighter terminal segments. The pronotum is two times as broad as long and narrows posterior to anterior from base to apex.  The elytra bears striations with fine punctations. 

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Lesser Mealworm Adult.  Image Courtesy of Forestry Images.

Their larvae are elongated, well-segmented with a posterior tapering abdominal tip They bear 3 pair of segmented legs, and superficially resemble small wireworms or true mealworms. The last instar larvae measure approximately 7 to 11 mm in length. Freshly-emerged larvae are a milky color but gradually turn shades of yellow-brown in later instars.

Biology.  In maize, infestation can originate in fields and subsequently spread to storage.  Since they only feed on the germ of grain a single larva can destroy a significant quantity kernels and render seed corn unfit for germination.    The adult are strong fliers and have been collected at heights of 70–170 meters.

This beetle typically infests meal, flour and other grain products, most commonly in poorly maintained grain processing plants. It has been found feeding on oatmeal, rice, barley, wheat, soybeans, cowpeas, and peanuts but less commonly on oilseed products, linseed, tobacco cotton seed, and drugs. Due to its tropical origin, this species is well-suited for humid, warm conditions. It is commonly found in brooder or poultry houses where it breeds in poultry droppings and litter. In additions it is common in manure from poultry farms and hen houses.

This lesser mealworm has been observed in a variety of situations such as bat colonies, bird nests, and in ground squirrel and other rodent nests and other vertebrate sleeping locations. Beetle numbers in the hundreds of thousands have been discovered in caves inhabited by bats in various parts of the world, including Kenya and Texas.  They have been known to feed on bird feathers, and other lesser mealworms. Although skin beetles are best known to clean carcasses for various displays, the feeding habit of this is also used for this purpose.

Female beetles have a tremendous reproductive capacity and are capable of producing over 2,000 eggs at a rate of a few a day. Adults deposit their eggs in crevices and cracks in manure, litter, grain hulls and under water lines and feed trays. Female beetles live 3 to 12 months and produce eggs most of their life.

Larvae hatch in 4 to 8 days with the entire life cycle taking from 50 to 110 days, depending on food quality and temperature. Optimum environmental conditions for the development of this beetle are 33°C with around 90% relative humidity. Both active stages are mainly nocturnal, with most activity at dusk. The adults are quite active and will readily burrow into substrates when disturbed. Lesser grain beetles adults are relatively long lived, persisting in the field for more than a year.

Damage .Even though this species is not considered of major economic importance to whole grains, it does occur commonly on products already damaged by other biological agents, especially molds. However, it is of considerable importance in the poultry business as an avian disease vector, and there are human health risks associated with exposure to this beetle.  Lesser mealworms can also cause poultry house structural damage. When searching for suitable pupation sites, larvae will chew holes in Styrofoam, fiberglass, and polystyrene insulation panels in the walls of poultry houses. The resulting damage can cause increased heating bills and additional building repair costs when the infested area is replaced. Energy costs in beetle-damaged broiler houses are reported to be 67% higher than in houses without beetle damage.

Cultural and Mechanical Control. Cold weather is an effective mean of control for locations in northern locations. These beetles are susceptible to sub-freezing temperatures for a week or more. In addition are removing manure at these times increases the efficiency of this type of control. On the other hand, freezing temperatures can kill birds and damage water pipes. Frequent manure cleanout or removal of litter and replacement of fresh shavings in poultry houses can help greatly reduce beetle populations  

Almond Moth-Ephestia cautella. 

Identifcation.  Adult labial palps are upturned. The forewings are grey to dusty brown. There is a dark straight band across the forewing, which is paler on the inner edge. The hind wing is light grey to beige and has a fringe of hairs on the wing margin. Both the forewings and hind wings are rounded at the apex. The adult does not feed on the commodity.  The larva is white to pink in color and has a distinctive brown head. It can grow to 12.7mm in length. Each body segment has two black spots, which run in parallel lines down the back.

 http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/6d/Almond_moth.jpg/240px-Almond_moth.jpg 

http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQeqP-qtN0JHjzCufZA43U1hfSretpENbl5fopE9bg2SND_3RSp3g

Larval Infestation and life Cycle of Almond Moth. Images Courtesy of USDA-Clemson University and Grains Canada.

The almond moth is found worldwide. It is a scavenger which is found in mills, processing facilities, warehouses and households. The almond month occurs more often in heated structures than in non-heated structures. It feeds on grain, cereal products, oilseeds and dried plant products, like nuts, fruit and tobacco. However, it is more of a pest of nuts and dried fruits than on grains and cereals. During the day, the adult moth can be seen resting on walls and other surfaces. It flies mostly at dusk and dawn.

When feeding on whole grains the larva prefers to feed on the germ and bran where it burrows into food and creates silk tunnels in which it will be concealed while feeding. It produces silk webbing when it feeds and binds the surface of a grain bulk together. Large larva can burrow through packing. A sign of infestation is contamination with silk webbing, frass, cast skins, pupal cases and adult remains.

Biology.  Breeding conditions are temperatures between 17°C - 37°C and humidity greater than 20%. It breeds rapidly in conditions with high heat and humidity. The female lays 150 - 200 eggs loosely and randomly on a food source. The larvae are white to pink in color and have a distinctive brown head. It can grow to 12.7mm in length. The larva is active. Each body segment has two black spots, which run in parallel lines down the back. If the temperature is 30°C and the humidity is 80%, the larva can complete its development in 26 days. When the larva is mature, it will actively leave the food source and search for a site in which to pupate. The larva pupates in a silk cocoon. The larva can enter diapause if the conditions are unfavorable for development. Several generations a year can be produced.

Secondary Pests

Square-necked Grain Beetle, Cathartus quadricollisThis is considered a secondary pest when coexisting with primary pests as discussed above. It is more commonly found  in warm temperature and tropical areas, such as the Southern United States, Central and South America, and West Africa.  C. quadricollis infests maize in the field and is very common in the tropics as a pest of farm-stored maize in subsistence farming.  It appears to be restricted to southern USA states and much more widely distributed in Mexico.

 Identification. As a small active beetle which is attracted to ripening crops, it can continue to multiply in storage especially in damaged grain stored slightly damp. Adults are 2.1-3.5 mm in length, light brown in color, parallel sided and elongate in shape. Like other closely related species the beetles are flattened.  Its name is derived from the unique shape of the prothorax which sharply rectangular and has point on all 4 corners.                                                                       

Species image

Squarenecked Grain Beetle.  Image Courtesy Sarah McCaffrey Museum Victoria

 It is a mold feeder and a scavenger, and is considered to be a minor pest of stored grain. It feeds on plant and dried animal products, especially grain and cereal products. The squarenecked flour beetle feeds on damaged and moldy grain. It is found in stored grain, milled wheat, oat products and flour mills. It is often found associated with Sitophilus species infestations. It is one of the smallest flour beetle pests and looks like a small red flour beetle, Tribolium castanteum.

Identification. The adult is a small reddish-brown beetle. It is parallel-sided and slightly flattened. It is 2.4 to 3 mm long. When viewed from the side, its eyes are entirely rounded. The adult survives for 2-3 months and it can fly. The squarenecked flour beetle prefers to breed in milled products. Breeding conditions are temperatures between 17.5°C to 40°C and relative humidity greater than 20%. The female lays 300 eggs during her lifetime randomly in a food source. The eggs are sticky and become covered in food particles.

Biology. The larva molts 6 - 8 times. The larva forms a cell to pupate in the food source. Optimal conditions for development are temperatures between 27°C and 35°C and a relative humidity between 50 and 80%. Development times ranges from 25 - 114 days depending on conditions.

 Damage. The squarednecked grain beetle is a generalist feeder. The damage is not distinctive. Both the adult and larva feed on grain, flour, animal feeds, and milled products. The beetle is associated with damp grain, heated grain, mill machinery and previously infested grain. Its presence in stored grain indicates poor storage conditions. A disagreeable odor in the commodity is a sign of infestation.

Hairy Fungus Beetle-Typhaea stercorea

Identification. The adult is uniformly light brown, 2 to 3 mm in length, oval and slightly flattened in shape. It is. It is covered in hairs, arranged in parallel lines on the elytra. The antennae have a 3 segmented club. The head is visible when viewed from above. The adult is long lived and can fly. The female lays her eggs randomly in a food source or attaches them to grains.  The hairy fungus beetle larva is flat, pale and translucent. It is 4 to 4.5 mm long. It has a pair of dark, upwardly curved urogomphi. The urogomphi are separated at their base.

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Hairy Fungus Beetle. Image Courtesy CSIRO-AU

Biology. The hairy fungus beetle is found worldwide. It feeds on damaged grain and is associated with mold. It is a minor pest found in a range of products of vegetable origin. It is among the most common fungus beetle pests in the US.  It typically occurs in moldy food products and other organic materials, like newly harvested or damp grain. It is found in warehouses, stores, flour mill, feed mills and granaries. It infests stored grain, seeds, tobacco and nuts. It can be found in ripening crops before harvest, such as hay and cereal grains. It has also been found in cornfields and thought to be attracted to decaying ears of corn. The hairy fungus beetle is a generalist feeder. The damage is not distinctive and is caused by both adult and larva feeding. Their presence in stored grain indicates poor storage conditions.  The larva is active and moves through the commodity. Development time may range from 21-33 days from egg to adult when the temperature is at 25°C and relative humidity is between 80-90%.

The Depressed Flour Beetle Palorus subdepressus 

This species is a minor pest of fine materials such as flour, and moldy or damaged grains.  It occurs worldwide however it prefers warmer temperatures. Both adult and larvae will consume damaged stored products.                                                                                              

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Adult Depressed Flour Beetle. Image Courtesy of United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service

Identification. This is an elongated reddish-brown beetle. The sides of the anterior portion of the head extend backward hiding the front portion of the eyes when view from a dorsal angel. The relatively short filiform antennae are short and slightly wider towards the tip. The elytra bear lines of pits running their length. These tiny beetles are approximately 1/10 inch in length. .

Biology. This species is usually found in damp and moldy areas around stored food products. As a result they are also an indicator of poor and damp storage as they also feed on the mold that develops on the product. Possible contaminants include feces, larval skins and the bodies of deceased adults.

Adult beetles and larvae feed on damaged grain and moldy grain. It feeds on fine material and often coexists with other beetle pests that break the food down into fine particles. They are a minor pest of stored grain but can be a major pest in yams. The female beetle lays about 650 eggs in her life time. The eggs are sticky and accumulate a covering of particles from the food stuff. The larvae are cylindrical and almost transparent when newly hatched, becoming brown as they mature. The larvae pupate within the food product. The adult beetles live up to 6 months.

Miscellaneous Stored Product Pests

Fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster).

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Drosophila Fruitfly.  Image Courtesy of Boski.

Identification. The common fruit fly, or Drosiphila melanogaster, measures 2 to 4 millimeters in length and is tan or light brown in color. They typically have red protruding eyes, although mutations result in white eyed and eyeless specimens, as well. The front of the fruit fly’s body is tan or brown in color, while the rear portion is black.

Feeding Habits. Fruit flies are found near ripened or fermenting fruit. Common host include tomatoes, melons, squash, grapes and many fruits. Adults are also attracted to the fermenting sugars present in spilled alcoholic beverages.  Adult flies may also feed on organic material present in unclean drains. They enter homes in spring and summer on fresh fruit, as well as through open windows and doors. Because fruit fly larvae often assume the coloring of their host fruit, they are difficult to locate and are brought inside unwittingly.  These flies are attracted to bananas and other ripe fruit, especially when left in unprotected conditions.  Adults readily feed on yeast which develops on these and other materil1als Sap flows, overripe produce and mushrooms are also foods of choice. Fruit flies may also feed on organic material present in unclean drains. Females are capable of ovipositing 500+ eggs, typically in fermenting fruit. The only requisite for successful reproduction is moisture and fermenting material. Generally, these flies are typically problematic late summer and fall due to their attraction to ripening and fermenting fruits and vegetables

Life Cycle. Outdoors fruitflies are most active during warm, bright days and feed upon the surfaces of fruits, leaves, plant secretions and honeydew produced by aphids. During the preoviposition feeding stage, adult fruit flies spend approximately ten days feeding on fruits, vegetables and other decaying materials.

Following this phase, the female fruit fly places her eggs beneath the skins of fruits. This egg laying can cause disfiguration in fruit crops. Fruit fly larvae feed on the surface of decaying masses within which they are laid. Larvae are often present in the blemished and over-ripened areas of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Dried Fruit Beetle-Carpophilius hemipterus

Sap beetles or dried fruit beetles consist of several closely related species that exhibit similar life cycles and somewhat resemble each other in appearance. The species, Carpophilus hemipterus is the most commonly encountered species, but the Freeman sap beetle, C. freemani, and the confused sap beetle, C. mutilatus, are frequently encountered and commonly abundant in some orchards. Carpophilus marginellus and Urophorus humeralis are sometimes present in lesser numbers.

Identification. Adults are brown or black beetles which commonly have light spots on the elytra, depending on the species. They are 0.1 to 0.2 inch long and have a capitate antennae. They are shortened and do not cover the last 2 to 3 abdominal segments. Last instar larvae are white or cream colored and 0.1 to 0.2 inch long. They have tan to brown head well-developed head capsules, 3 pairs of true legs, and brown urogomphi on the anal segment.

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Dried Fruit Beetle. Image Courtesy USDA.

These beetles attack fresh fruit but are also a pest of dried process fruit.  They are cosmopolitan in distribution and are especially common where fruit is grown and processed. Considering their size the amount of food they consume, a few beetles in a box of dried fruits can produce a considerable mess with excrement, cast skins and dead adults.  The adult beetles are mostly attracted to moist or rotting fruits but can also be found in dried processed fruit.  These beetles have been recorded infesting dried packaged plums, peaches apricots, raisins, bananas, plums, drugs, nuts, bread, biscuits and grains.  Fresh figs and grape raisins are especially attractive to these beetles as these fruit are dried in the field of processing sheds. The presence of these beetles and their excrement not only contaminate these products but introduce bacteria and yeast that spoil the finished product.

Biology. As with most insect the length of the life cycle varies tremendously depending on temperature.  At 80 degrees F the average time of development of the egg, larva and pupal stages are 2, 5 and 9 days, respectively or 16 day total.  Multiple generations occur annual as the life cycle is typically completed in warm processing plants. The egg stage is typically deposited on the outside of fruit with the remaining stage found within the same.

Control.  As with most other types of stored product pests one of the most effective types of control is prevention.  Since these pest art attracted to ripening fruit sanitation starts in the field. Removal of fallen fruit will reduce the overall population of these pests tremendously. Dumpsters outside of processing plants where unwanted fruit or residue is deposited should be removed and picked up regularly.  Any spills and unwanted fruit within the processing plants should be cleaned up and destroyed or removed on a regular basis. 

Spider Beetles-Family Ptinidae. The American spider beetle, whitemarked spider beetle, and shiny spider beetle) are small beetles and so named because they are similar in appearance to small spiders having long legs and comparatively large rounded abdomens.  The latter species is the most commonly encountered species in the western US.  All 3 exhibit similar biologies and feeding habits. 

Identification.  The head, long legs and antennae, thorax and abdomen are uniformly reddish in color.  The shiny spider beetle resembles a large red mite with a hump and when viewed from a dorsal angle it is hidden underneath the body. The larvae of all 3 species are off-white and “c” shaped with a  light brown heads.

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Shiny Spider Beetles. Image Courtesy University Nebraska Entomology.

The shiny spider beetle occurs in much of North America. . Spider beetles are scavengers feeding on a wide variety of animal and plant material. It is not unusual to find them in food infested with other food stored product beetles. In these cases they frequently feed on the carcasses of these dead insects. Shiny spider beetles infest food contaminating it with their fecal matter, body parts, fecal matter, and pupal cases. This species is nocturnal reaming hidden during daylight hours in dark locations such as crevices and between food packaging. They are most frequently found towards the perimeter of a pile of food rather than the center.

In addition this species has been found feeding on dead animal carcasses and in bird and rat nests, woolen material, old paper, and unusual substances, such as opium and tallow.

Biology. All 3 specie shave been reported to feed and reproduce on a wide variety of material including but not limited to dried fruits, chocolate powder, dried mushrooms, excrement (dried), feathers, seeds, silk,  figs almonds, fish meal, various spice, ,flour, seeds, silk, ginger, animal skins, beans, books, stuffed birds, textile fabrics, various spices, bones, brushes, cacao, cereals, corn meal, dates, dead insects and insect collections, herbarium specimens, hops, dried soup, drugs derived from powdered leaves, excrement (dried), feathers, figs, grains, hair, leather, maize, nutmeg, old wood in houses, paprika, rye bread, rye, stuffed birds, textile fabrics, , wheat, and wool.

Management. Control of these pests is best achieved by the discovery and elimination of the infested foodstuff. In many ways, this is similar to the control of all stored-product pests, but is made exceedingly difficult because of the beetles’ ability to feed on such a wide host range. . For instance, although spider beetles may be found in the pantry, the real infestation could be in a rodent nest under the floor, in bat droppings in the attic space, or from dead overwintering insects trapped within an exterior wall. Sticky traps can be of use in detecting the presence of these pests. Efforts should focus the movement of traps until an infestation is located. Once found all efforts should focus on removal of all the infested material

Red-legged Ham Beetle-Necrobia rufipes. The red-legged ham beetle is a predatory beetle in the family Cleridae with a cosmopolitan distribution.

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Red Legged Ham Beetle.  Image Courtesy of Michael C. Thomas, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Bugwood.org

Description. The adult beetles are 3.5 to 7.0 millimeters (0.1–0.3 in) long, convex, straight sided, and the surface has indentations called punctures. They are shiny metallic green or greenish blue in color. The legs and antennae are red (dark clubs). The body is covered by many fine erect spines or setae.

Feeding Habits. They are also known as copra beetles. To a certain extent they could be considered beneficial as they feed on the meat-infesting larvae of Calliphora or blow flies, skin beetles and cheese skippers. However, the larvae bore into dry or smoked meat and have occasionally become pests in bone and dog biscuit factories.  They are often found in pet stores where they infest animal parts sold as dog chews. The red-legged ham beetle also attacks bones, hides, copra, dried egg, cheese, guano, bone meal, dried figs, museum mummies and palm nut kernels. Their damage is sporadic as their populations are quite small in nature. Although refrigeration has reduced the impact of the beetle on meats they are the most significant pest of dried and salt fish including herring. They have been recorded in Egyptian mummies and were once known as Necrobia mumiarum. Related species are Necrobia violacea which has all-dark legs and antennae and Necrobia ruficollis has light-colored bases of the elytra (shoulders).

Biology.  The species also commonly known as the copra beetle in tropical countries and is a serious pest of copra.  In India, it is also recorded as a serious pest of cashew nuts. These beetles can subsist on a diet of copra alone but their development is slow; their diet is almost certainly a supplement by predation on other insects and can promote cannibalism when there is a super-population.  The life cycle varies from 36 to 150 days or more depending on the types of food and temperature.

Raisin Moth Cadra figulilella. 

Identification. These insects live and develop primarily out-of-doors, although they are often brought into storages with infested commodities. The larvae attack all the usual varieties of drying and dried fruits, fallen figs, and damaged or moldy clusters of grapes on the vines. Raisins are attacked until they become too dry. Young larvae hatched on raisins in storage feed chiefly on the ridge crests of the raisins, but they may also bore into the flesh. They do not completely consume the raisin but move about, leaving masses of excreta and webbing. During its development one larva can damage about 20 Thompson Seedless or 9 Muscat raisins. Cottonseed cake, cacao beans, and cashew kernels are among the host foods. Fallen mulberries are important because they are available to the insects early in spring when other food is scarce.

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Raisin Moth

Biology. Female raisin moths deposit eggs on all common varieties of drying and dried fruits. The rate of development of the eggs, larvae, and pupae varies with temperature. From egg to adult, the elapsed time is about 43 days at 83° F. At that temperature, eggs hatch in 3 to 6 days, and larvae reach full growth in about 32 days. Larvae molt several times, usually six, with a range of from 4 to 8 times. Larval life is greatly extended during the winter. In raisin storages, any larvae that escape fumigation continue to feed, and in the spring they pupate and emerge. In vineyards, most of the larvae pass  the winter in cocoons in the upper few inches of soil near the vine trunks and along under the wires or under the rough bark of the grapevines. In fig orchards, many larvae overwinter in a 6-inch band of soil around the tree trunks. The overwintering larvae pupate in the spring. The prepupal period lasts 1 day and the pupal period, about 10 days. Emergence of the adult moths begins in April and reaches a peak in May. No adults or eggs are found during winter. There are about three overlapping broods of adults a year, and a partial fourth. The males live for an average of 1l days and the females, for 16 days.

The raisin moth is a prolific insect. In summer, mated females provided with water averaged 351 eggs. The record was 692. Most eggs are laid in the first few hours of darkness during the daily flight period. On warm nights, these moths are in the air from about one-half hour after sunset until sunrise, chiefly during the earlier part of that period.

Hide Beetle (leather beetle)-Dermestes maculatus. 

Identification. The larvae of the hide beetle or leather beetle are longer than their adult beetles. They are slim and covered with short and long setae. As compared to the larder beetle, they are reddish-brown to black in color. In addition, they also possess 2 spines on the posterior end on their abdomen. An identifying feature about the spine is that it curves forward unlike the larder beetle. The hide or leather beetle adult is similar in appearance to the larder beetle except the forewings are only dark brown and the sternum is mostly white with some black, which is a characteristic feature.

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  Hide Beetle.  Images Courtesy USDA.

Biology. Hide beetles or leather beetles are also known as the skin beetles. Both adults and larvae of skin beetles feed on raw skins and hides like the larder beetles.  Under optimum condition, the life cycle of D. maculatus on either a carcass in dry-decay or in stored animal products requires approximately 5 to 7 weeks to complete. The adults consume the remains of the carcass or the animal product. Pheromones, secreted by males through a gland on the base of the abdomen, are used to attract females. Males and females will mate multiple times and the female will lay eggs within 24 hours of the first mating. Eggs are laid in cracks and crevices.

Larvae of this beetle exhibit 5 to 11 instars depending on temperature and availability with this number increasing with unfavorable conditions. Once reaching maturity the last instar seeks a place to pupate, typically within the meat non-food substance such as wood. Exposed pupae are often cannibalized by larvae. Larvae not finding a suitable pupation location are capable of delaying pupation for up to 20 days. However this delay can result in lower adult body mass and increased risk to fatal disease. Survivorship for individuals is the highest between 25°C and 30°C.

Larder beetle, Dermestes lardarius. 

Identification.  Adult larder beetles are generally 1/3 to 3/8 of an inch long and are dark brown with a broad, pale yellow spotted band across the upper portion of the elytra. Three black dots arrange in a triangle shape on each wing. The sternum and legs of the larder beetle are covered in fine, yellow setae. The larva is longer than the adult larder beetle and thickly covered with short and long setae which are reddish-brown to black in color. Along with the coloration is a white undersurface. They also have two spine-like appendages on the posterior end on the abdominal segment. A distinguishing feature of the spine is that it curves backward. Mature larvae of both species tend to bore into hard substrates such as wood, cork, and plaster in order to pupate . 

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Larder beetle. Image Courtesy Andre Karwith,

Feeding Habits. As with the hide beetle, these are pests of hides and meat including ham and bacon. They have also been found on dried pet food, rawhide pet chews, dried museum specimens, store tobacco and dried fish.  When found in high numbers, they have been known to threaten the safety of building due to their burrowing into roof beams in an effort to find a suitable pupation site.

Life cycle. Larder beetles are infrequent pests of households. Both adults and larvae feed on raw skins and hides. Adult larder beetles are typically found outdoors in protected areas during the winter but during the spring and early summer they enter buildings. Females lay approximately 135 eggs near a food source and will hatch in about 12 days. The life cycle of larder beetles lasts around 40 to 50 days. The larvae pass through 6 instars and may or may not leave the host to pupate. There are records of wood damage due to the larval gnawing to form a pupation chamber.

Warehouse Moth Ephestia cautella.  This species is a common stored product insect in tropical and temperate are throughout most of the world.  Alternate common names are the cocoa and tobacco moth. This species infests shelled nuts, spices, cereal, fish, fruit, cocoa beans and tobacco. Infestations are especially serious where flour and wheat are stored in large quantizes

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Warehouse of Tobacco Moth. Image Courtesy Donald Hobern

Biology. Adult females deposit 120 to 150 eggs in cracks and crevices of the warehouse or food store facilities. Eggs hatch within 10 to 12 days; young larvae are a creamy-white with dark spots on their sides. Larvae pass through 4 to 5 molts attaining 10 to12 mm in length. The larvae winter diapauses prior pupation. Adults emerge in late spring.

This species can be found feeding on cereal, fruit, shelled nuts, cocoa beans, fish, tobacco and various spices. This is one of the most serious pests in the tobacco industry. Ephestia cautella larvae contaminate of foods with the silk which may end up in packaged products or in extreme cases block mill machinery.

Grain Mites/Flour Mite-Acarus siro. This is one of the most common and important mites that infest feed products and other food including dried vegetables materials, cheese, cereal, corn and dried fruits. Populations of the grain mite have the capacity to exploder under high moisture conditions and are often associated with fungal growth. With extreme infestations brownish tinge often is seen covering the commodity, called "mite dust". This coloration is actually due to the light brown color of the mite legs. There is a minty odor associated with such a heavy infestation may give off a "minty" odor, especially if the mites are crushed. Grain mites are very common and widely distributed especially in temperate regions of the world. In tropical areas they are less common unless there is http://ento.psu.edu/extension/factsheets/images/flour-and-grain-mites.jpg/image_mini

Grain Mite

Identification. These mites are pale, pearly or grayish white, with legs varying in color from pale yellow to reddish-brown. Each leg has one claw at the end. As with all mites, they are smooth, wingless, soft-bodied creatures. The males are from 0.013 to 0.017 inch long, and the female is from 0.014 to 0.026 inch. Diagnostically the males of this species have enlarged forelegs which bear a thick ventral spine. Immature mites are similar in appearance to the adults with the exception of the larvae which have 6 legs. Mite eggs are oval, smooth, white, and almost not visible to the naked eye.

Biology. The female is capable of depositing up to may lay up to 800 eggs at a rate of about 20 to 30 a day.  These are either be deposited singly or scattered over the food material. The entire life cycle is quite short and may be completed in as little 9 to 11 under ideal environmental conditions ninety 90% and 75 F. Of course temperate is the main factor determining the length of this development?

The larval or nymphal stage these mites may change into a form referred to as a hypopus. During this unusual form, the exoskeleton hardens and suckers-like structures develop on the underside. These suckers are used to attach to insects and other animals as hitchhikers and possibly be transported to a more favorable environment. . The mite eggs and especially the hypopuses are reportedly more tolerant of insecticides than adults or other juveniles. It follow they are the primary reason for population resurgence following pesticide treatments.

Presence of these mites may result the spread of fungal spores throughout a grain and into adjoining bins. With significant infestations, these mites promote sweating and a disagreeable odor to the grain. A common result of these mites is grocer's itch in humans and certain individuals may be allergic to their presence.

Control. Prevention is generally considered the best strategy to prevent problems with this pest in stored grain. Adequate sanitation prior to introduction of new grain will typically decrease the need for the use of pesticides. This typically consists of the removal of old grain and dust in and around grain bins including from floors, corners, and walls and ant that has been spilled on the exterior of a bin.

Subsequent to this  and all needed repairs have been accomplished, various surfaces both inside and outside the bin should be treated, including in all cracks, crevices, around doorways and other location when insects and mite can hide.  Pesticide application should be applied several weeks prior to introduction of new grain.  .

Prior to introduction on new grain, it should be screened in order to eliminate any fine materials and damaged kernels. Once introduced the commodity should be checked at 14 day intervals with warm weather and once a month during cooler weather for the presence of mold, hotspots, moldy, and mite activity. If mites are found the commodity, it may be aerated in order to lower the moisture level and temperature.

Mites cannot survive in commodities with less than 12% moisture content or less. Grain is stored for longer than 6 months may need an application of an acaracide. This can be accomplished as the grain loaded into the bin. Once the grain is leveled in the bin a surface application can be applied for further protection.  If problems still exist, fumigation may be required.

Booklice-Psocoptera. Identification. Booklice or psocids are typically less than 1/16th of an inch long and are light yellow, colorless, grey or light yellow. They have soft bodies, chewing mouthparts and relatively long antennae. The head and abdomen appear large the thorax, is narrow. One of the key characteristics of the order is that the clypeus is swollen, which basically mean they have a fat lip that projects forward as viewed from a dorsal angle. More simply they just look like booklice.  Some are winged but the forms that are typically found in the food products or cereal are wingless. Once you have seen one, that is pretty much it.

 Eliminate Book Lice - treatment and prevention

Booklice.

Biology. Many species are parthenogenetic, meaning that can reproduce without mating. Females can produce about 60 eggs during the warm summer months and their life cycle (from egg to adult) can be completed in less than one month. When cool temperatures prevail, female booklice produce fewer eggs and the time required to complete their life cycle is over three months. Females lay their eggs singly which are commonly covered by debris. They exhibit gradual metamorphosis or put more simply the nymphs look just like adults except that they are much smaller and not capable of reproducing. The most species normally have 4 nymphal stages. These nuisance pests feed on molds and quickly develop on any food material that has a high moisture content, including cereal and cereal products.  As a result, they  are a nuisance and high levels can render some foods unfit. They are called booklice since paste of wallpaper and book bindings can support mold growth. In addition the paper of books may be attacked directly by these nuisance pests. In these cases the actual damage is insignificant.

Control. The simplest and easiest means of eliminate moist environmental conditions by reducing the humidity below than 50%. Infested food material should be eliminated and susceptible foods should be kept dry.  The use a dehumidifier or fan or increasing sunlight in a damp room will typically help eliminate conditions favorable to the nuisance pests. Bring the humidity levels down below 50%.

Cork Moth-Nemapogon cloacella

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Cork Moth. Image Courtesy http://www.flickr.com/photos/dhobern/2940032630/

Identification and Biology. N. cloacella is a cosmopolitan species. Its natural habitat is woodlands with a large amount of dead trees. It has a wingspan of about ¾ inches and is very similar in habitat to the European grain moth.  While the former prefers a dry habitat such as grain the latter cannot survive in such conditions but flourishes in moister conditions.  The larvae of this moth, as its name implies, feeds on corks resulting in leaks in wine casks and bottles.  The damage to wine corks may result in losses due to both leakage and deterioration of the wine.

European Grain Moth-Nemapogon granella

Identification. The adult European grain moth has a wing span of 9 to14 mm. The head is covered in spiky hairs. The forewing is white with a basal black bar and mottled with dark bronze-brown patches and spotted with black. The hind wings are brown or grey and are fringed with long hairs. The hind wing is narrower than the forewing.

European Grain Moth. Image Courtesy of Olaf Leilinger.

The European grain moth is found in North America, Argentina, Europe, Northern Asia and Australia. It is more common in temperate regions. The moth is found in granaries, mills, warehouses, elevators and wine cellars. It is moderately cold hardy. It feeds mostly on cereals that have high moisture content. The moth feeds on rye, wheat, barley, oats, corn, soybeans, rice, nuts, seeds, dried fruit and mushrooms. It is also reported to infest wine corks and does similar damage as does the cork moth.

The European grain moth infests cereal grains that have moisture content higher than 14%. In grain he larva feeds first on the germ, then on the endosperm of a kernel. Damage is not distinct and is caused by larval feeding. In a grain bulk, the larva infests the top 5 – 6 cm of the grain. The larva produces silk webbing when it feeds. This webbing binds the surface of the grain bulk together. Signs of infestation are a disagreeable odor, clumped grain and contamination with silk and frass.

Biology. The adult does not feed on the commodity. The adult can fly. It is short-lived with a lifespan is 7 – 21 days. The female lays between 30 – 220 eggs. On average, the female lays 100 eggs. The female lays eggs singly in a food source or in dust, debris or on bags. The larva is white. It grows to be 7 to 10 mm long. It is active. The larva’s head ranges in color from pale yellow to reddish brown to dark brown. The thoracic plates are yellowish to pale brown. The optimal conditions for development are a temperature of 25°C and relative humidity of 90%. The time required for development is 70 days. In Canada, 2 generations of European grain moth can develop per year. When the larva is mature, it actively leaves the food source and searches for a site in which to pupate. The larva pupates in a silk cocoon. The mature lave of the second generation overwinters and pupates in the infested material.

Greater Wax Moth-Galleria mellonia

Wax moths are thought to originate from Asia but now inhabit much of the world today and under ideal conditions are thought to be found in every honey bee colony worldwide.
Identification. The greater wax moth is 1/2 to 3/4 inches long with forewings and a grayish-brown colored hindwing. The outer edge of the forewing is slightly concave.

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Larvae and Adult of The Greater Wax Moth.  Images Courtesy (left) dhobern and (right) Forestry Images.

Biology. The female wax moth deposits her eggs in the cracks and other places inside the hive. Ensuing larvae burrow through the comb feeding on comb contaminants (bee feces, pollen) eventually destroying or weakening the wax.  Fully developed larvae attach themselves to frames and hive body parts to spin cocoons just before they pupate. This attaching causes holes and deep burrows in these wooden parts of the hive. They prefer the dark wax of the brood comb as it contain more contaminants such as caste bee larval cast skins, pollen and larval feces.

Symptoms of wax moths infestations include live larvae (wax worm) and webbed like tunnels in combs, cocoons attached to wooden parts of frames and hive body and destroyed comb. Wax moths generally take over hives that are in a weakened or stressed condition. These are a major problem when comb is stored with the presence of adult bees.   

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Honeybee Frame Totally Destroyed with Greater Wax Moth.  Image Courtesy of Bee Informed.   

Control. Parachlorobenzene Directions Place up to 5 supers or 10 shallow supers in a stack. Cracks that occur between the supers should be sealed with tape. Subsequently the stack should be located on several thicknesses of newspaper or alternately on a smooth surface to avoid gas leaking from the stack. Place a 6 inch square piece cardboard containing 3 ounces of the chemical on the top bars in the top super. Then put the top cover tightly in place. . The chemicals should be checked every few weeks to insure their presence. Crystal should be present until the equipment is ready for use. Follow directions and precautions on the container label. This chemical should not be used on honeycombs containing honey intended for human use.

Phosphene Gas. Although this chemical will kill at all stages of this pest since, it is a fumigant and has no or little residual activity. Reinfestation can occur in stored equipment if it is not securely sealed. Fumigated equipment should be kept out in the open when a gentle breeze is blowing towards an uninhabited area. It should be secured in a locked area.  Supers containing combs can be stacked 5 high. . Each individual stack should have as a base a sheet of PVC 0.25 mm thick or heavier. Fold up the edges of the PVC sheet and seal with PVC tape or clips. Securely seal all joints and cracks between the boxes. Place one tablet in a container (to catch residue) on the top bars of the frames in the top box. Cover the stack with a lid of PVC sheeting and seal with PVC tape.

All stages of the wax-moths should be dead after a few days. If equipment is relocated to a storage area, it should be resealed in order to prevent adult moths access. .. All equipment must be ventilated in the open by allowing air to circulate through the equipment for 5 days.

Warning: Appropriate agencies require prominently displaying poison notices fumigation areas throughout the exposure and ventilation periods and on all doors leading into rooms where boxes are stored. Phosphine is toxic to all forms of animal life. Avoid inhaling. Suitable gas respirators must be on hand when phosphine tablets are being used.

Respirators must be fitted with a canister for phosphine and properly maintained, as they have a limited life. Gloves of plastic or synthetic rubber should be worn when handling phosphine tablets. Open tins in open air. Seal unused tablets in tins with flexible PVC tape. Phosphine tablets may explode on contact with water. Bury tablet remains.

Nonchemical Control -Heat. All states of this pest are susceptible to temperature of 115°F or higher for 80 minutes or a temperature of 120°F for 40 minutes. Exposing honey combs to temperatures above 120°F may soften and sag and become distorted). The same applies when combs are not exposed in the normal, upright position. Ventilation fans are useful in insuring that circulation is evenly distributed throughout the comb. Combs should be allowed to cool before moving the supers.

Cold. Wax moths are also susceptible temperatures and the use of this can prevent the sagging problem which sometimes occurs when combs are treated with heat. Combs with honey and pollen can be treated by use of low temperatures without much danger to the combs.

Plaster Bagworm

The pest is frequently misidentified. While the first record of this species came from the Virgin Islands, its feeding habits in Florida helped to distinguish it from other species of flat case-bearing moths. The "homes" these creatures construct often attract attention when found hanging on walls of houses. However, usually these larval or pupal cases are empty. Adult plaster bagworms are moths similar in appearance and closely related to clothes moths.

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Plaster Bagworm Larval Case and Adult Image Courtesy of Leyo. 

Identification.  The larvae of bagworms live in the characteristic gray, seed-shaped case, which measures about one-half inch long. The case is constructed of silken fiber and sand particles, lint, paint fragments, and other debris that is found in the environment. This protective home has a slit-like opening at each end, and the tiny caterpillar is able to move around and feed from either end.  With each molt, the larva enlarges its case. Later cases are flattened and widest in the middle, allowing the larva to turn around inside. A fully developed larva has a case 1/4 to 1/ 2 inch long and 1/16 to 3/8 inches wide.  It has a dark brown head, while the rest of the body is white, except for some darkened plates above and below the head. It is thought that these hardened plates protect the developing insect larva from natural enemies when it reaches out of its case to feed or move. The larva has three pair of well developed, brown legs. It also has several false legs (prologs) with hooks (crochets) on their ends. These hooks help it to walk inside its case, and to hold on to its protective home when the larva moves its head and thorax outside. The bagworm uses its true legs to walk on the floor or walls. Both ends of the case are identical, and are used by the larva as a place to hide. When disturbed, bagworm larva move inside the case, and pull the lower side up to enclose the whole worm. It is very difficult to open this case from outside.   

Biology. The plaster bagworm requires high humidity to survive. Because of this, they are not commonly found inside air conditioned buildings. The need for high humidity limits its range to many parts of Florida and Louisiana, as well as in Mississippi and North Carolina. Other related species of case-bearing moths are found in Florida, and are present in the coastal areas of Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia and many other parts of the world. Due to international movements of commercial products, other species of these case-bearing moths could reach southern states in the future.

Plaster bagworms are easily seen on light-colored walls. Close examination inside the house may reveal bagworms attached to the underside of chairs, bookcases, and other furniture. They are often found along the edge of rugs, near baseboards, or on the lower edges of walls. Bagworms are quite common in garages and underneath buildings. The larvae mainly feed on spider webs; however, they will also feed on fabrics made of certain natural fibers.

The most common food of the plaster bagworm is old spider webs, which are consumed in large quantities. Webs of insects such as booklice and webspinners from tree trunks are also suitable food. Old larval cases of its own species are sometimes chewed as well. Even though small portions of dried insects are found attached to its case, this insect has not been observed to feed on dried insects. Plaster bagworm larvae do not eat cotton fiber products, but woolen threads are eagerly consumed by the larvae. Another researcher fed the larva with dead mosquitoes and hair.

Due to its food habits, the plaster bagworm has potential as a household pest.  However, regular cleaning practices, increased use of air conditioning in houses, and fewer wool clothes in this part of the country have decreased the incidence of the plaster bagworm. The routine use of pesticide applications in cracks and crevices for household pest control has also reduced the chances of finding this critter in homes. Manual picking or vacuuming of cases and spider web removal should be enough to keep this species under control. Outside, there is no need for control measures, as these insects perform as valuable scavengers. A braconid wasp (Apanteles carpatus) has been found to parasitize the larvae of case-bearing moths, killing the larva before pupation. It is of importance that the plaster bagworm does not normally occur in Southern California.  There is a smaller species that is commonly found in this area and produces a similar case.  It is a case bearing moth that belongs to the same family of the clothing and webbing clothing moth (Tineidae).  The main difference is that this species is totally harmless feeding on dust, lint and other similar materials.  Little is known about its biology.

 Silverfish-Lepisma saccharina.

This pest is so named due to its silvery light grey and blue color, and fish-like appearance of its movements. The species name (saccharina) refers to the silverfish's preferred diet of carbohydrates.  As with many stored product pests, they are cosmopolitan in distribution.  They commonly inhabit moist area preferring RH between 75% and 95%. Common household locations are in bathrooms, basements, closets, garages, beds, pillows, and attics

Identification. Adult silverfish are elongated, flattened insects, with a tapering abdomen. They have elongated filiform antennal and chewing mouthparts. Early instars are whitish, but attain their grayish-metallic shine with maturity. They have 3 elongated anal cerci on the tips of their abdomens.

Life Cycle. The female of this pest deposit around 100 small oval shaped eggs in groups of less than 50 in cracks and crevices. Incubation requires between 2 weeks and 2 months depending on temperature.

Upon hatching the first instar nymphs are whitish in color, and look like smaller adults. The entire life cycle may be completed in 3 months to 3 years, again depending on prevailing temperatures. They exhibit what is referred to an indeterminate number of molts and may go through 17 to 66 molts in their lifetime

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 Immature Silverfish (left) Prior to Developing the Silvery. Image Courtesy GNU-sobre. Adult Silverfish (right). Image Courtesy of Iwok.

Damage. These pests feed on a variety of matter containing polysaccharides, such as starches and dextrin in adhesive including book bindings, glue, book, photos, paper, plaster, some paints and their own exoskeletons. When preferred food is not available, they have been known to feed leather, synthetic fabrics and can even survive for a year or more without eating.

Firebrat-Thermobia domestica.

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Firebrat. Image Courtesy gemeinfrei

Description. This pest is only slightly larger than its close relative the silverfish. It is also silvery in color but bear transverse gray to brown on the entire body giving it a mottled appearance. This coloration is due to scale-like structures which when removed the light-yellow color of the body can be seen.

Life Cycle. As with the silverfish this species is cosmopolitan in distribution. As their name implies they prefer high temperatures and high humidities, namely around heating units, ovens, heating units, attics, fireplaces, and hot water pipes.  As might be expected they can be serious problems in bakeries.  Optimum temperature range from 98 to 102F which is unusual for most insects.  Adults can survive in temperature up to 112 F and eggs fail to hatch when held at 70F

At temperatures of 90 to 106 °F (32 to 41 °C), the female may oviposit when she is 45 to 135 days old. She deposites her eggs in crevices, an average of about 50 in a lifetime. Like the silverfish, the firebrat continues to molt during its adult life. Only 1 clutch of eggs is laid between molts, and fertilization must take place before each clutch of eggs is laid. The elliptical, nearly white eggs are about 1 mm long and 0.7 mm wide in their greatest dimensions. Optimum conditions for incubation of eggs are 99 °F (37 °C) and 76 to 85% relative humidity, and eggs kept at these conditions will hatch in 14 to 18 days. Under optimum conditions, only 1 day or less is spent in the first instar, 4 in the second, about 6 in the third and fourth, and about 8 in the fifth to tenth. This period gradually increases to 12 or 13 days in further instars, and the insect may pass through 45 to 60 instars before death.  It was found that discovered that females started to oviposit in the 14th instar, and that molting of the growing firebrats appeared to be continuous, with very little change in size occurring after the 35th instar.

The courtship of firebrats has been described as a "love dance" wherein the male constantly approaches the female and repeatedly contacts her antennae, mouthparts, and legs. As the male whirls about, he curves his abdomen and deposits a sperm bundle about one-half inch in front of the female. He then contacts her head and legs and comes to rest, apparently losing all interest in her. After his final contact, the female moves forward, straddles the sperm bundle, and secures it to certain reproductive structures. Lepisma saccharina and Thermobia domestica are seldom seen outdoors in temperate regions, but have been occasionally found under bark, in bird, mammal, and insect nests, and in debris.

Fourlined Silverfish, Ctenolepisma lineate = quadriseriata

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Fourlined Silverfish.  Image Courtesy Paethon.

This species occurs in the Eastern US as well as California.  The fourlined silverfish is not limited in distribution in a building by temperature and moisture conditions as are silverfish and the firebrat.  It can be found throughout the house and in basements, in wall voids, and in the attic where it is often seen in large numbers, especially in homes with shingle covered roofs.  It can also be found outdoors in situation such as flower beds and in garages as well.

Description. The fourlined silverfish is about 15 mm long, tannish gray, and has 4 dark lines extending down the length of its back. The young are light brown, and are often tinged with pink until the fourth molt, which occurs a month or so after hatching. The subspecies Ctenolepisma lineata pilifera  frequently enters homes in rural areas of northern California.

Gray Silverfish, Ctenolepisma longicaudata= urbana

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Gray Silverfish Image Courtesy Alvesgaspa

This species is similar in size to the fourlined silverfish but differs in that it is uniformly light to dark gray.  It has been reported for a few of the eastern and southern state, California and Hawaii. Indications are that this species are much more harmful to paper and paper product from other common species.  It is a fairly common species in Southern California occurring in throughout homes, but not outdoors.

Control of Insect Stored Product Pests in Homes

Potential Food Items of Stored Product Pests. These pests vary widely in their food preferences. A partial list of items susceptible to infestation include bean bags, dry soups, , cork, corn, biscuit mix, and pasta, dried herbs and spices, door stops filled with beans, popped and un-popped popcorn, peas, rodent baits, bird seed, shelled and unshelled peanuts, dog bones and related treats, beans, corn kernels, breakfast foods (especially hot and cold cereals), flour, cake mix, cookies, cornmeal, grits, , candy, chocolate, rice, dried fruits and vegetables, , nuts and seeds (of all kinds of plants), crackers, , powdered milk and protein (e.g., meat and chicken flavorings), dry pet food, biscuit mix, and pasta. dried flower arrangements (such as potpourri), animal products made into treats (e.g., rawhides), dried fish and fishmeal, drugs, cigars and other tobacco products, decorative wall and table arrangements containing plant or animal material, dried fruit peels, jewelry or holiday decorations containing nuts or seeds (especially corn kernels), cork, corn, or rice, and stashes of food (mainly seeds) stockpiled by birds and rodents in wall voids, attics, crawlspaces, and chimneys.

Most Common Stored Product Pests in Home Situations.

The Indian meal moth. This is the most common stored product pest in homes, restaurants and other food establishments where it infests breakfast cereals, bird seed, and other consumables. Indian meal moths are most commonly found in kitchen cupboards, but the active adults may be found throughout the home and other structures as they readily fly from items they are infesting.

Sawtoothed Grain Beetle-. These are almost as prevalent as the Indian meal moth, and infest many of the same foods (especially nuts, breakfast cereals, bird seed, chocolate, and dried fruits. Their relatively small size allows easy access to cracks and crevices especially creases in packaged food. Adult beetles are most commonly found in the kitchen. They are not strong fliers but adults are quite active and long lived active (6-8 months or more). They frequently hide around the folds of packaged foods and enter once opened.

Red flour beetle. These insects are serious pests of food warehouses and grain processing facilities but also frequently occur in home cupboards and grocery stores. They do not attack sound, intact kernels of grain. In order to feed on grain it must be damaged or milled (i.e., flour). Females beetle are capable of depositing up to 1,000 eggs during their lifespan and are long lived (several years under ideal conditions).  Adults are very active, fliers, and are attracted to light.  Both adult beetles and larvae readily feed.

Rice Beetles- The larvae develop in whole seeds (e.g. beans, cereals, wheat, nuts, bird seed, corn kernels, rye, barley dried peas or rice). Female of this species deposit eggs in whole kernel grains by first gnawing a small hole in the grain, depositing an egg in the and subsequently sealing the hole with a gelatinous plug. Once hatched the larvae develops and consumes the content of the kernel. All larval stages are spent inside the kernel including the pupae. Adults emerge several days later, leaving a small, round hole. Like drugstore beetles, rice weevils can be found both in food (kitchen) and non-food areas of homes because of their mobility (adults readily fly) and the variety of items they are capable of infesting, including decorative items containing grains and nuts. Adults are long-lived (3 to 6 months) and feed on a wider variety of items than larvae. They sometimes "play dead" when disturbed.

Cowpea Weevils . These beetles deposit their eggs on seeds (chiefly legumes) such as black eyed peas, lima bean, soy beans, mung bean, garden peas, chickpea, pigeon pea, cowpeas, , soybeans, peas, , and lentils. Once hatched and the larvae burrow into the seed consume it from the inside. All instars remain inside and remain concealed and protected. Pupation occurs inside the seed. After emergence the adult beetle chews its way out leaving a characteristic round hole in the shell. Although are short-lived, strong fliers, do not feed and are very active, known to run rapidly.

Warehouse Beetle. Larvae of this species readily penetrate boxes, wrapping and other common packaging materials. Heavy infestations are frequently characterized by an abundance of living larvae, cast skins, live larvae, and adults, all on the same food item. Exposure to these types of materials can result in allergenic reactions. In the absence of available food, Trogoderma larvae may enter a lengthy reproductive diapause, where insects are completely inactive, do not reproduce and do not feed. Once coming out of this condition they can resume infestations. This diapause combined with the ability to chew through most type of packaging can make control of these beetles very difficult.

Drugstore Beetle.  In homes and other locations these beetles commonly infest spices, dried herbs and as well many other commodities including rodent bait, books, dried flowers and plant material, dog bones, rodent baits, taxidermy mounts and considerably more. As with a number of stored product pests, these beetles can chew through many types of food packaging such as paperboard boxes, aluminum foil and bags. Adults are active, readily fly and are attracted to lights. Due to these behaviors, these beetles can be found in areas away from the source of the infestation, often near windows and lights. As a result, considerable searching may be required to find the source of an infestation.

Prevention of Infestations. The first step in any overall control of stored product pest is prevention. If possible purchase dried food in packages that can be used up in a short time. Although buying such products in bulk may be economical if these remain around for long periods of time there is and increases the chance of eventual infestation. Ideally such products should be used up in 2 to 4 months Keep foods in storage less than two to four months.  Obviously older packages should be used before older packages of the same material. Open packages of the same material should be used before closed package

When purchasing packaged foods with clear plastic or wax paper coverings, they should be checked for the presence of insects as these tyoes of material on occasion are sometimes infested prior to introduction into homes or other structures dealing with food.  Susceptible food materials should be stored in insect-proof containers, such as heavy plastic, metal containers or screw-top glass.  Generally speaking, the lids of metal kitchen canisters are not tight enough to exclude insects of gaining access to their contents. On the other hand, some plastic containers with tight fitting lids may prevent entrance of most of the stored product pests.

In almost all cases paper, tinfoil, cardboard, or plastic wrapping will not prevent stored product pest infestations. Susceptible stored dried foods in a home freezer will prevent pests from developing although in main cases will not kill some of these pests.  Sanitation is the first step in preventing infestation of these pests. Food storage areas should be kept clean and is essential to not allowing crumbs or food particles to accumulate. Sanitation is also important in locations where pet food and birdseed are stored.

Packaging.  Insect free products are occasionally infested prior to reaching the consumer. One of primary functions of packaging is to keep stored products free of pests prior to and after reaching market. As previously discussed, these types of materials vary considerably as to their vulnerability to insect penetration and subsequent infestation.

In most cases these pests deposit their eggs on the outside of packaging with hatching subsequently penetrating susceptible packaging.  Various species of stored product moth larvae crawl until reaching an opening. Locations near closures are the weak spots with folds and seams possibly providing a first biting point for these larvae.  In one report, 75 percent of initial infestation occurred in folds in the corners, overwraps, corners of a carton, or a pinhole. Obviously metal cans and sealed glass jars with tight fitting lids typically totally exclude insects. Of course there is always the possibility that material could be infested prior to packaging.

Reportedly newly hatched larvae of the confused flour beetles, Indian meal moth and saw-toothed grain beetle can invade crevices of under 0.1 mm in width. Factor that increase the protective nature of packaging include thickness walls, rough edges, lack, and minimum or lack of folds and seams. The most efficient penetrators of packaging materials are the larval stages of the cadelle beetle and adults of the lesser grain beetle, cadelle beetle, and rice weevil, the most common insect that occurs in ready mixed packages of biscuit flour are confused flour beetle, saw-toothed grain beetle, and Indian meal moth. Odor is the most common factor that draws these pests to package foods.

As indicated there is a considerable range in packaging material as far as resistance to insect penetration: some of these materials and there considered resistance are as follows: Polycarbonate and Polyethelens terphthalate (PET)=All excellent; Cellulose acetate, Polyamide, Polyethylene (0.254mm)=PE 10 ml, Polypropylene (biaxlly oriented) PP, Polyvinyl chloride(unplasticized)=PVC, = All good: Acrylonitrile, Poly(tetraflouroetylene)=Teflon, Polyethelene 90.123 mm) PE 5 ml=All fair: Regenerated cellulose,  Corrugated paperboard, Ethylene,  vinyl acetate copolymer, Lonomer, Kraft paper, Paper, foil, polyethylene laminate pouch, Polyetnelene (0.25-0100mm=PE 1-4 mil: Polychloride (plasticized), Vinyl chloride (plasticized)-All Poor.

Control. Home Infestations Of course the first step is to try to determine the sources of infestation. It is important to make sure all susceptible  material are checked for signs  of infestation keeping in mind that most of these insect have a wide host range. Once found all heavily infested materials should be properly eliminated. If some material is questionable as to an infestation (e.g. egg, tiny larvae that may not be readily visible it can be heated in shallow plans in the oven at 130ºF for at least 30 minutes, kept in a deepfreeze at 0ºF for four days or microwaved. Cabinets and shelves should be vacuumed and subsequently washed with soap and hot water. Application of insecticides in cabinet and pantries typically will result in minimal control in the absence of an extensive cleaning program.

There are some formulations of pyrethrin and pyrethroid insecticides that are labeled for use as crack and crevice treatments in homes near food storage area and other areas. None of these should come in direct contact with food or food utensils. If registered for use in food storage areas, all food should be removed prior to use. Normally treatment of cracks and crevices is most productive for control of these pests since these are common locations where they hide. Prior to using any pesticide the label should always be read and followed. Only products that are specifically labeled for use in food storage areas can be used in these areas, Once applied, shelves should be covered with paper or foil prior to replacing food and cooking utensils

Detection of Pests-Pheromone Traps.  Various pheromone chemicals have been identified for a significant number of these stored-product insects.  Once the chemical structure of these pheromones have been identified they can be synthesized and are commercially available along with a variety of traps.  These chemicals in combination with traps have been very effective for monitoring the presence of small numbers of these pests.

  Advantages: These traps provide 24 hour a day monitoring.  In addition they can be used to help in pinpoint the location of an infestation.  As a result early detection of an infestation can reduce the amount of pesticide used for control by targeting the specific area to be treated and indicating when applications are necessary thus reducing the amount of product lost.  These devices are easily moved around in a warehouse and are nontoxic.  They do not involve additional product inspection (unless an infestation is indicated) and are not labor intensive.

Disadvantages. Some traps will collect insects other than the target species; this can be advantageous in some circumstances and collected specimens can be difficult to remove intact from some traps for identification.   Some trap designs do not work well in dusty areas and floor-placed traps may frequently be lost or damaged.

Trap pheromone lures have been developed for several stored-product insects.  Currently, the lures developed for species with short-lived adults have proven to be more effective.  However, good results have also been attained with the lure for lesser grain borer (Rhyzopertha dominica).  At a minimum, traps utilizing lures for Trogoderma spp., cigarette beetle (Lasioderma serricorne) and flour beetles (Tribolium spp.) should be used in subsistence areas.  Indian meal moth (Plodia interpunctella) traps, in addition to the beetle traps, should be considered for use in commissary storage areas.

Food attractant lures for stored-product insects (predominantly oil lures consisting of oat oil, wheat germ oil extracts and mineral oil) are used for species having long-lived adults and for some larvae.  These lures may be used with or without pheromones.  In general, these lures have a smaller effective range than pheromone lures.  They have been reported effective for sawtoothed grain beetle (Oryzaephilus surinamensis).  They can be used to enhance the effectiveness of pheromone traps for the flour beetles and to attract Khapra beetle/warehouse beetle (Trogoderma spp.), Attagenus, and Anthrenus larvae.  Oil baits should not be used beyond their indicated shelf life.  The oil lures oxidize and solidify over time.  Collected specimens may have to be freed from the oil before they can be identified. Researchers have used sesame oil in Khapra beetle traps as a substitute for the standard oil lure.  Sesame oil can be quickly dissolved with a 5% detergent solution.  This method removes most of the oil from the collected specimens.

Lures for different species can be combined into a single trap. Cigarette beetle, warehouse beetle, lesser grain borer and Tribolium lures can be combined, as these insects are active on the floor or at relatively low levels in the warehouse.  Lures for species that are active fliers can also be combined in a single trap (e.g., wing or hanging delta trap).  Some traps are designed to hold as many as four different pheromones plus a food oil attractant.  However, some researchers suggest a maximum of three pheromone lures plus the oil.  At this time, there have not been reports of inhibition effects by combining lures in a single trap. However, the Tribolium lure should not be combined with an Indian meal moth lure due to the marked difference in flight activity of these insects.

Facilities that monitor specifically for Khapra beetle can place Trogoderma lures in suspended traps as well as wall-mounted or floor traps.  The suspended traps will attract non-Khapra and other Trogoderma.  Because Khapra beetles do not fly, these specimens would not require Khapra beetle verification.  This will reduce the number of beetles requiring verification.  Khapra beetle is a quarantine insect, and if suspected must have its identification confirmed by an expert in Khapra beetle taxonomy.

Trap Placement. There are a variety of trap designs.  The adhesive surface of some traps is exposed and can quickly become coated with dust and dirt.  For dusty areas, the pitfall, funnel or other covered trap design would be more appropriate.

The initial trap density will vary according to the species of insect and the pheromone used.  For Indian meal moth, the trap density should be about 1 trap per 25,000 cu ft.  Beetle traps should be arranged in a grid pattern at intervals of 25 to 50 feet.  Infestations can be pinpointed by increasing the trap density around areas suspected of containing infested stores.  Traps may be placed outside structures and away from buildings to determine if an infestation(s) is originating from an external source. To reduce the chance of attracting insects from outside the facility, traps should not be placed within 30 feet of exterior doors or open windows. Traps should be placed to minimize damage to the traps from normal facility operations.  

Most beetle traps are designed to lie flat.  However, depending upon design, some traps can be mounted on vertical structures/walls, pallet rack systems or pillars.  Wing type and most funnel traps need to be suspended, which can limit their placement.  Nevertheless, they should be placed as close to dry pet food and breakfast cereal areas as possible because these products are prone to infestation by Indian meal moth.  The traps can be hung from small pulleys over or near pallets, allowing them to be out of the way but still accessible.  The trap height for Indian meal moth can range from 6-30 ft. If highly infestible products are consolidated into a few areas, trap placement can be concentrated in those areas.

Trap Monitoring. In temperate climates, traps should be utilized from at least April 1 through October 31.  In warm climates or where heated warehouses are utilized, year-round monitoring is recommended. Pest management personnel should maintain an accurate map or listing of trap locations. Traps should be checked on a weekly basis, and a log or record sheet of catches should be maintained.  Trap and/or lure replacement and other actions should be documented for maintenance purposes or precision targeting.)

A warehouse which contains infestible commodities should be monitored for the following arthropod pests (at the end of this paragraph.) If possible combine locate all infestible commodities in a single area of the facility. Deploy an appropriate number of wing or diamond traps located approximately 6 to 10 feet from the floor.  Traps must be mapped. Each wing or diamond trap mounted at 6-10 feet may contain lures for the following pests: Indian Meal Moth, Tobacco Moth, Raisin Moth, Cigarette Beetle, Drugstore Beetle, Lesser Grain Borer, Warehouse Beetle

Each surface mounted beetle trap (FliteTrack) may contain lures for the following pests: Flour Beetles, Sawtoothed Grain Beetle, Warehouse Beetle, Drugstore Beetle, Cigarette Beetle

For those traps that contain insects record the number of each species/type collected.  To prevent specimens from being recounted on sticky traps, they should be removed or marked or the trap should be replaced.

 If justified, trap density should be increased in the area where activity is evident.  This will help pinpoint the location of the infestation.  These additional traps should be checked daily. Appropriate pest management procedures should be implemented when a stored-product infestation is located.  After the insect source is eliminated, monitor the facility at the former trap density. Traps will collect non-target insects that wander into them.  It is advisable to have a verified, representative reference specimen collection available to aid in identifications or in separating target from non-target insects. The presence of large numbers of a non-stored-product insect (e.g., Phoridae, Psychodidae, Drosophilidae) in traps indicates other potential pest management problems in the warehouse (e.g., leaking product, dirty drains, etc.) that need to be located and eliminated.

Trap Maintenance. Replace damaged and dirty traps as necessary.  Lures from such traps should be reused if possible.  Moth lures may be used up to 6 months and beetle lures 1 to 3.5 months, depending on the specific lure.  Damaged or unusable lures must be destroyed and not left on or near the premises because these lures can attract insects. Lures should be handled with tweezers (forceps) or rubber gloves to avoid contamination of the lure.  Staples or other fastening methods that damage the surface of a lure can reduce its longevity and/or effectiveness. Unused lures should be stored in a refrigerator or freezer to reduce oxidation and to maintain their shelf life of approximately 2+ years.  Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions that accompanied the lures for specific product information.   

Traps require regular monitoring and good maintenance of the bait or attractant.  If neglected, traps may become the foci for infestations.  The more rapid monitoring techniques used in precision targeting may eliminate the need for trap maintenance.

 Interpretation of Trap Catch for Target Species .The catch over time for the trap at each location is evaluated instead of the total catch for all traps in a warehouse or bay.  The trends and patterns for the collections in each trap are important part.   If one to two specimens are infrequently collected in a week at scattered locations, the catch is probably incidental.  The specimens probably wandered in or came in on pallets or packaging.  A few (2-5) specimens collected on a regular basis in the same location probably represents a small infestation.  The trap density in the area of the suspected infestation should be increased and product inspection considered.  An exception to this is that trapping efficiency for dermestid larvae is not as high as with a sex attractant.  A catch of more than 1 larva in a week requires greater scrutiny of an area and a catch of greater than 2 should be considered a probable infestation. Several (6-9) specimens collected weekly indicate that a small to moderate infestation may be present.  Trap density and monitoring frequency should be increased to identify the extent of the infestation.  Product inspection should be initiated.

Numerous (10+) specimens collected in a trap indicates that an active infestation is present and that immediate action should be taken to isolate and control the stored-product pest.  Product inspection is necessary.  Additional traps should be placed in the area to aid in determining the extent of the infestation. 

The above numbers are to be used as guidelines.  There are no "magic" or standardized numbers to correlate trap catches to actual infestation levels.  Each storage facility must be evaluated individually.  Generally, any deviation from a normal trend or baseline indicates a point where additional integrated pest management actions are necessary.  Additionally, if Khapra beetle is collected and verified from a CONUS facility, USDA eradication procedures must be followed. Trap catches also can be used to determine the seasonality and migration of the target species at a storage facility.  This information can be used in refining the pest management programs for the facility.

 Stored Product Pest Control in Grocery and Retail Stores.  Grocery stores, supermarkets, and specialty retail stores create unique problems as far as stored product pest control. These are due to the sheer volume of merchandise and tremendous variety of foods shipped in from all over the world. Food often spills behind and under large shelves and gondolas leaving hard to reach reservoirs of food for insect breeding sites.  The void created by large back to back shelves or gondolas are especially difficult to reach for cleanup.  Tunnels in floors for refrigeration lines create additional voids where food can accumulate. Storage areas in supermarkets are limited and sanitation is often poor. Space treatment does no typically penetrate packages nor reach inaccessible areas where insects are breeding.   Such treatment is of limited value without proper cleaning.  If space treatments are used, food such fruits and vegetables much be properly covered.

Stored Product Pest Control in WarehousesAs with most type of modern pest control an integrated approach will give best control in this type structure.  Key items to consider in warehouse management are exterior entrance management, inspection of incoming products, proper rotation of stored products including the FIFO principle (first in, first out), floor level sanitation, pallet management, and interior and exterior light management.

 Pests may enter storage or food processing facilities in two ways, namely penetration through ineffective pest-proofing of walls, doors, windows and roofs, and entry with commodities, ingredients or other raw materials and/or supplies. Widows should be screened and doors to the outside should be tight fitting.  Air doors can be used on loading dock to prevent insect entrance.  All incoming products should be closely screened for signs of infestation. Cracks, crevices and other places should be filled where pests may hide.

Warehouses have several areas of activity where pests must be controlled.  The building exterior and the area around the plant should be kept as clean as possible.  Outside the building all exposed dirt surfaces, parking lots and road should be paved and lawns. This will reduce contamination from dirt, microbes and other airborne particles. Good drainage should be established to help keep these areas cleans and dry. Many stored product insect evolved in natural setting and therefore are commonly found outdoors.  Of course the same can be said or rodents.  Rodent-proofing and bird-proof loading docks, doors, walls, windows and roofs should be present.

Outside lighting should be away from buildings and focused toward buildings. This helps keep night-flying insects away from doors and windows.  Potential bird roosting areas should be screened. Equipment should be stored so it does not become a place for pests to hide.

There are a variety of traps and monitoring systems that can detect initial small level infestations of insects and or rodents.  It is extremely important to eliminate these prior to where they reach a level where it is difficult to eliminate.  Insect pheromone traps should be placed in a 50 foot grid pattern throughout a warehouse with the exception in front of doors. Products should be visually inspected on a regular basis as pheromone traps are not available or not effective for all stored product pests. Where possible, equipment should be located off the floor and away from walls for inspect.  The same should be followed for product storage racks

As indicated product rotation is of the essence.  The longer a product remains in a warehouse the better the chance it will become infested.  Sanitation is of upmost importance. In essence a warehouse is a third party clearing house (between the food manufacturer and retailer).   Regardless it is their responsibility to minimize the chance that stored products do not become infested while on their premises.

Chemical Controls.  Bait stations should be used for rodents. Bait stations are not only effective means of controlling rodents but maintain grain based in a safe location and virtually eliminate any chances of product contamination. Nonresidual insecticides should be uses for space, spot and crack and crevice treatment.

Stored Product Pests (True/False Statements)

Version 1. CEU Credit

1.  The antenna of the red flour beetle terminates in a distinct 4 segmented club, while those of the confused flour beetle ends in a 3 segmented club.

2.  The  confused flour beetle is able to fly short distances while the red flour beetle is unable to fly.

3.  The sawtoothed grain beetle is closely related to the merchant grain beetle, and is commonly found in kitchen cabinets feeding and other locations as is the sawtoothed grain beetle

4.  The sawtoothed grain beetle has smaller eyes than eyes of the merchant grain beetle. As a result the merchant grain beetles is characterized by a spine like projection behind the eye while this area is more rounded in the sawtoothed grain beetle

5. The red legged ham beetle is also known as copra beetle. To a certain extent they could be considered beneficial as they feed on the meat-infesting larvae of Calliphora or blow flies, skin beetles and cheese  skippers.

6.  The adult granary weevil is a shiny reddish-brown with elongated pits on the thorax, whereas the adult rice weevil is a dull reddish-brown with round or irregularly shaped pits on the thorax and four light spots on the wing covers. These  deep round punctures and light spots are lacking on the granary weevil.

7.  The angoumois grain moth (Sitotroga cerealella) readily attacks corn in both the field and storage.   

8.  The Khapra beetle (Trogoderma granarium), (also called cabinet beetle) is one of the world’s most destructive pests of seeds, grain and grain product.   

9.     In the absence of food, larvae of the Khaphra beetle are stimulated to diapause by adverse conditions, such as extremes of temperature, humidity and crowding.

10.  In this condition larval Khaphra beetles may survive about nine months. With food, they may live for six years. In this state of very low metabolic activity, they are extremely resistant to the effect of contact insecticides or fumigants and complete control of an infestation may thus be difficult.

11.  As with cow pea weevils, bean weevil infestations can originate in the field and may also originate from trash beans 

12.  The drugstore beetle characteristically differs from the cigarette beetle in that the former has rows of deep pits running the length of the elytra or wing cover.  In addition the antennae of the drugstore beetle terminate in three elongated segments while those of the cigarette beetle are saw-like or serrate.

13.  Due to their long life cycle the common meal worm rarely does significant damage or reaches large populations.  

14.  The shiny spider beetle occurs in much of North America.  Spider beetles are scavengers feeding on a wide variety of animal and plant material. It is not unusual to find them in food infested with other food stored product beetles. In these cases they frequently feed on the carcasses of these dead insects. 

15.  Phosphate tablets used for control of stored product pests may explode on contact with water.

16.  Female grain mites can lay up to 1800 eggs with ensuing offspring capable of completing development in as little as 9 to 11 days.

17.  While in the larval or nymphal stage these mites may change into a form referred to as a hypopus. During this unusual form the exoskeleton hardens and suckers-like structures develop on the underside. These suckers are used to attach to insects and other animals as hitchhikers and possibly be transported to a more favorable environment.

18.  Psocoptera feed mainly on mold with many species capable of producing offspring without mating.

19.  Many species of psocopera are parthenogenetic, meaning that can reproduce without mating

20.  Firebrats prefer temperatures of 80 degrees F with an optimum of 98 to 102 F. 

21.  Adults firebrats can survive in temperatures up to 112 F and, reportedly, their eggs fail to hatch when held at 60 F.

22.  Silverfish exhibit an indeterminate number of molts and may go through 17 to 66 molts in their lifetime-sometimes 30 in a single year.

23.  Symptoms of wax moths infestations include live larvae (wax worm) and webbed like tunnels in combs, cocoons attached to wooden parts of frames and hive body and destroyed comb.

24.  Wax moths generally take over hives that are in a weakened or stressed condition.

25.  The larvae of plaster bagworms live in the characteristic gray, seed-shaped case, which measures about one-half inch long.

26.  The Indian meal moth is the most common stored product pest in homes, restaurants and other food establishments where it infests breakfast cereals, bird seed, and other consumables.

27.  Indian meal moths are most commonly found in kitchen cupboards, but the active adults may be found throughout the home and other structures as they readily fly from items they are infesting.

28.  Broad bean weevil infestations occur in the field, but this pest is a storage problem..

29.  In one report, 75 percent of initial infestation of common stored product insects occurred in folds in the corners, overwraps, corners of a carton, or a pinhole.

30.  In warehouses product rotation is of the essence.  The longer a product remains in a warehouse the better the chance it will become infested with stored product insects.  Sanitation is of upmost importance. In essence a warehouse is a third party clearing house (between the food manufacturer and retailer.

31. Insect free products are occasionally infested prior to reaching the consumer. One of primary functions of packaging is to keep stored products free of pests prior to and after reaching market. These typesof materials vary considerably as to their vulnerability to insect penetration and subsequent infestation.

32.  Microwaving small amounts of infested products can also be effective on killing store product pests.

33.  Generally speaking pheromone trap lures developed for species with short-lived adults have proven to be more effective than for those with a long life cycle. 

34.  Pheromone trap lures for different species can be combined into a single trap. Cigarette beetle, warehouse beetle, lesser grain borer and Tribolium lures can be combined.ures for different species can be combined into a single trap.

35.  In temperate climates, pheromone monitoring traps should be utilized from at least April 1 through October 31.  In warm climates or where heated warehouses are utilized, year-round monitoring is recommended.

36.  Moth pheromone trap lures may be used up to a year and beetle lures 1 to 3.5 months, depending on the specific lure. 

37.  Numerous (10+) specimens collected in a pheromone trap indicates that an active infestation is present and that immediate action should be taken to isolate and control the stored-product pest. 

38.  Several (6-9) specimens collected weekly in insect pheromone traps indicate that a small to moderate infestation may be present.

39.  A few (2-5) specimens collected in pheromone traps on a regular basis in the same location probably indicate a small infestation.

40.  Warehouses have several areas of activity where pests must be controlled.  The building exterior and the area around the plant should be kept as clean as possible.  Outside the building all exposed dirt surfaces, parking lots and road should be paved and lawns. This will reduce contamination from dirt, microbes and other airborne particles. Good drainage should be established to help keep these areas cleans and dry. Many stored product insect evolved in natural setting and therefore are commonly found outdoors. 

  

 

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Stored Product and Fabric Pests

There are five broad categories of stored product pests. These are based on how these pests feed on grain or other stored products. These categories are internal feeders, external feeders, scavengers, secondary pests, and miscellaneous pests.

Internal Feeders

Internal feeders develop as the larvae feed within kernels of whole grain or seeds such as beans and peas. They feed primarily on whole grain as opposed to processed grain. The main symptom of infestation of these pests is exit holes of emerging adults. Examples include rice and granary weevils, lesser grain beetles, and Angomois grain moth.

External Feeders

These arthropods feed on whole grain and may feed on grain products. Normally, they attack only part of grain such as the germ or softer parts of grain. Examples include the cigarette beetle, cadelle beetle, drugstore beetle, warehouse beetle, Indian meal moth, and Mediterranean flour moth.

Scavengers

These pests only attack grain and seeds that has been processed or injured by other insects. They consume flour and grain parts. Examples include the red legged ham beetle, merchant grain beetle, flour beetle, sawtoothed grain beetle, cadelle beetle, and dried fruit beetles.

Secondary Pests

These pests are found feeding in grain products that are moldy or severely damaged. Such items are frequently found in grain bins, abandoned rodent nests or grain waste found in exteriors or voids in granaries and mills.

Miscellaneous Pests

These types of pests are not as commonly found  in grain products. Occasionally, they are found feeding on grain and grain products.

Scavengers

Red flour beetle  (Tribolium castaneum) and Confused flour beetle (Triboleum confusum)

Identification. The most commonly encountered flour beetles are the red flour beetle and confused flour beetle. Both are similar in physical appearance. They are flat and oval in shape and usually are 1/8 inches long. Adults are reddish, shiny, and smooth textured. The chief characteristic that can be used to distinguish the adults of each species is the shape of the antennae. The antenna of the red four beetle terminates in a distinct 3 segmented club, while those of the confused flour beetle ends in a 4 segmented club. On the underside of the head, the compound eyes of the red flour beetle are more narrowly spaced than those of the confused. flour beetle.

File:Tribolium castaneum.jpg
Image red flour beetle. Image by Peggy Greb (Public Domain).

The eggs, larvae, and pupae of both of these species resemble each other closely and are very difficult to distinguish from each other. The eggs are tiny, barely visible to the naked eye and typically tend to be a white color or at times even colorless. Certain food particles (e.g. flour) tend to stick to their exoskeleton. The larvae have 6 legs. The pupae are usually a white or brownish color.

The biology of both species is quite similar. Prior to becoming stored products pests, it is thought that these beetles originally lived under bark and in rotting logs. The life cycle (egg to adult) can range from 1 to 3 years or more depending on temperature. The larval stage development ranges anywhere from 20 to over 100 days; development of  pupal stage takes around 8 days. These beetles usually breed in damaged grain, grain dust, high-moisture wheat kernels and flour. When found in flour in large numbers, they may cause it to turn grey and mold more quickly. In addition, their presence may produce a disagreeable odor due to secretions from their scent glands. They are quite active and will quickly seek cover when disturbed. Due to their small size, these beetles can invade many types of packaging. They are unable to climb smooth surfaces such as polyethylene, plastic or glass. As a result, their dead bodies or living beetles can frequently be found at the bottom of packages made of these types of material.

The females deposit between 300 and 400 eggs. These beetles mainly infest various grains or grain products including, but not limited to cereal, corn meal, oats, rice, flour, and crackers. In the U.S., they are the most common stored product pest in flour mills. Their relative small size permits them to maneuver through cracks and crevices and infest homes and other structures. Once they are in areas with potential food sources, long term infestations can result in a sharp odor or moldy flavor. The red flour beetle is capable of short distances flights; the confused flour beetle is unable to fly. The confused flour beetle is more commonly found in the northern United States, and the red flour beetles are more predominant in the southern U. S.

American black flour beetle

The adult is dark brown to black, 2.8 to 4.5 mm long and elongate-oval in shape. The adult has dense pits on the surface of its head and prothorax. It has rounder eyes than the European black flour beetle. It is most similar in appearance to the European black flour beetle, Tribolium madens; however, it is found more commonly than the European black flour beetle.

It feeds on cereal, grains, flour, meal, seeds, and cereal products. This species does not normally infest stored grain. It can survive in unheated storage in milder climatic regions. The American black flour beetle is a minor pest. The adult and larva are general feeders. Damage is not distinct, and it is sometimes found in packaged foods. Occasionally, it has been found infesting flour mills in the northwestern United States. A sign of infestation is a disagreeable odor in an infested commodity.

Adults live on average for 2 to 3 months, although they are reported to live up to 3 years in temperate conditions. The female lays up to 1,000 eggs at random, loosely in food sources. The larva is cylindrical and dark brown in color. It is active and may eat smaller insects and other larvae. The optimal temperature for development is 32°C and a relative humidity ranging from 50% to 72%. Under these conditions, the development time ranges from 41 to 80 days. The larva pupates in the food sources.

Saw-toothed Grain Beetle (Oryzaephillus surinamensis), Merchant Grain Beetle (Orzyaephillus mercantor)

http://www.cals.ncsu.edu/course/ent010/storehouse_pests/sawtooth_grain.jpg
ISaw-toothed grain beetle. Courtesy of North Carolina State Entomology

The saw-toothed grain beetles and merchant grain beetles are closely related, and both are commonly found in kitchen cabinets and other similar locations. Both are very similar in appearance; they are flattened, reddish-brown and about 1/10 inch long. They have 6 saw-tooth-like projections on each side of the prothorax. The merchant grain beetle has a spike-like projection behind the eye; this area is more rounded in saw-toothed grain beetles.

   http://crawford.tardigrade.net/bugs/figures/sawtooth.jpg
Image. Merchant grain beetle with spiny area behind the posterior margin of the eye (10) and saw-toothed grain beetle with rounded
projection behind eye.

Both species are common stored-food product pests that infest materials such as cereal, flour, dried fruit, crackers, candy, dried meats, chocolate, bread, drugs, popcorn, macaroni, cornmeal, corn starch rice, breakfast foods, rolled oats, bran, sugar, bread, dried dog food, raisins, and other foodstuff. They are capable of chewing into food containers made of paper, plastic, tinfoil, cardboard, and cellophane. Once inside, their populations build up rapidly and frequently quickly spread to other food items. They contaminate more food than they consume and characteristically leave infested material to pupate in close crack and crevices. Both adults and larvae are external feeders and commonly consume small food particles, but not whole grains. Sawtoothed grain beetles are quite commonly pests in factories that use chocolate.

Both species deposit their eggs in either small batches or singly. The sawtoothed grain beetles cannot fly, while merchant grain beetles readily can. Adults of both species are somewhat unusual for stored product beetles, in that the adults generally live about 6 to 10 months; a few a canb survive as long as 3 years or more. Female sawtoothed grain beetles typically emerge in the spring and deposit up to 300 eggs. Egg deposition typically occurs a week after adult emergence and can last up to nearly a month. Their life cycle is quite rapid and can be completed in less than a month under ideal temperatures. The merchant grain beetles deposit around 200 eggs in an average of 35 days, and require a little more than a month to complete their life cycles. These beetles may produce several generations a year at high temperatures and moderate relative humidity, 85ºF to 95ºF and 70% RH. At lower temperature, this number is greatly reduced. The sawtoothed grain beetle prefers cereal-based products, whereas the merchant grain beetle is attracted to dried fruit seeds and nuts.

Broadhorned Flour Beetles (Gnathocerus conutus, Slenderhorned Flour Beetle (Gnathocerus maxilosus)

http://agspsrv34.agric.wa.gov.au/ento/pestweb/images/broadhorned1rees.jpg
Image: Broad-horned flour beetles. Courtesy of CSIRO au

The broadhorned flour beetle is cosmopolitan in distribution and is a prominent pest of cereal products in the Pacific Coast States. The slender horned flour beetle is typically more common in tropical and subtropical areas. In the United States, it mainly occurs in the South. The males of both species are readily recognizable by the horn-like extensions of the head. These are lacking in females.

The larvae of both species are recorded feeding on flour, corn, corn meal, dog biscuits, yeast cakes, bran, and even sugarcane. They prefer flaky material. The life cycle is typically completed in a month (more or less depending on temperature) with adults long lived (to a year).

Internal Feeders

Angoumois Grain Moth (Sitotroga cereallea)

This pest readily attacks corn in both the field and storage. It is quite intolerant to cold temperatures and is not common in the northern United States. The forewings of this small moth (wingspan of ½ inch) are yellow without markings, and the hindwings are grayish in color. The rear edges of both wings are fringed. As with many moths, adults do not feed. Full-grown larvae are usually yellow to white in color, with a yellowish brown head bearing short hair-like projections. Larval size may vary depending on sex, instar, availability of food and environmental conditions. The last larval instar is about 1/4 inch in length.

File:Sitotroga cerealella 1435095.jpg
Angoumois grain moth. Courtesy of Clemson University - USDA Cooperative Extension Slide Series, Bugwood.

Eighty to 200 eggs are deposited externally on kernels in grooves or holes that are made by other insects. Hatching larvae bore into the seed. The larvae and subsequent pupae remain inside the kernel until adult emergence. The number of eggs produced is dependent on availability of food, season, and temperature. Two or 3 larvae may develop on 1 kernel of corn but with smaller grain, only 1 adult can be produced. There are 3 larval instars, with the last larval instar spinning a silken cocoon within the feeding cavity.

Adults emerge via small round holes in kernels. Upon adult emergence, females release a sex pheromone to attract males of the same species. As with all insects, development from egg to adult varies with temperature. Development is 30 days at 30˚C (86˚F) and 40 days at 25˚C (77˚F). As with most moths, the peak time for activity is dusk. Air moving through mold infested grain is quite attractive to these moths.

The Angoumois grain moth can coexist with sawtoothed grain beetles, but the presence of lesser grain borers or maze weevils totally suppress populations of this pest. The larva may become inactive for 4 to 5 months during colder winter climates. This species typically produces 4 to 5 generations per year, although in ideal conditions (heated warehouses), there may be as many as 10 to 12.

Angoumois grain moths can be found infesting a variety of grain and food materials. They attack all cereal grains but are most often found in corn and wheat. It prefers damp grain as opposed to old dry grain and is the only stored product pest that will attack standing grains in the field. In dry stored grain, Sitotroga cerealella infestations may cause the grain to heat and increase the overall moisture content. This encourages mold growth and creates an environment favorable for other insect infestations.

Khphra Beetles (Trogoderma granarium)

Worldwide, this is one of the top pests of seed, grain and grain products. It is considered as one of the world's 100 worst invasive species. Infestations are difficult to eliminate due this insect's ability to survive without food for long periods, its preference for dry conditions and low-moisture food, and resistance to many insecticides. There is a federal quarantine that restrict the importation of rice into the U.S. from countries with known infestations of this beetle. Populations can build quickly in a short time under hot, dry conditions. Grain damage, depending on existing conditions, often reach 30 to 70 % . Feeding and contamination by these beetles results in weight loss, reduction in grade, and quality to processed products.

In 1963, an.extensive infestation was found in California, which may have been present since 1946. Subsequent surveys revealed its presence in Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas, as well as in Mexico in the states of Baja California, Chihuahua, Jalisco, and Sonora. The infestation was finally eradicated in 1966 (USDA–APHIS–PPQ). Subsequently, customs has intercepted the beetle on several different occasions in later years.

As with many beetles in this family, the larval body has barbed hairs that can contaminate grain. Exposure to grain contaminated with these hairs can lead to dermal and gastric health hazards. The hairs can cause skin irritation in individuals handling heavily infested grain. If swallowed, victims can experience ulcerative colitis. This is particularly distressing for young children who develop vomiting and diarrhea and refuse food.

Adult beetles are brownish and 1.6 to 3 mm in length. Total larval body length is .25 to 3 mm, a little more than half of which terminates in a long tail of hairs. The color is uniformly yellowish‐white, except for the head and body hairs which are brown.

http://t1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRG6l3k_keLRc3Cm4YHVmfh8g8bXgR5jA2P2_VXQwRYXXkL5Hijhttp://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/urban/beetles/khapra_beetle_02.jpg
Left image Adult Khaphra beetle. Right image larvae Khaphra. Images courtesy of Bugwood and USDA

Khapra beetle prefers grain and cereal products, particularly wheat, barley, oats, rye, maize, rice, flour, malt, and noodles. This pest will feed on almost any dried plant or animal matter, including dog food, dried orange pulp, bread, and dried coconuts. Khapra beetle can feed on products with as little as 2% moisture content and can develop on animal matter such as dead mice, dried blood, and dried insects. Reported grocery store commodities include bread, dried coconuts, cornmeal, crackers, white and whole wheat flour, hominy grits, baby cereals, pearl barley, and wheat germ.

In the absence of food and other adverse conditions such as extremes of temperature, humidity and crowding, larvae of this beetle enter diapause. In this condition, larvae may survive about 9 months. With food, they may live for 6 years. In this state of very low metabolic activity, they are extremely resistant to the effect of contact insecticides or fumigants and complete control of an infestation may thus be difficult.

Adult females die soon after completing oviposition. Adults are usually short‐lived; but they have been known to survive several months or years at temperatures below 16 F. Under optimal conditions, Khapra beetles can sustain a population increase of 12.5 times per year. As a result, populations can build up rapidly in a short time under hot, dry conditions. They can survive in colder climates, heated situations such as warehouses, food plants, and grain storage. Completion of the life cycle usually lasts 4 to 6 weeks, but can last up to 3 years, depending on temperature, available food supply, and potential for diapause. There are usually 4 to 5 generations per year, but there can be as many as 12 under optimum conditions.

Fumigation with methyl Bromide is the most effective treatment.

Cowpea Weevil (Callosobruchus maculates), Broad Bean Weevil (Bruchus rufimanus), Bean Weevil (Acanthocelides obtectus).

The adults are relatively small beetles, 0.13 to 0.2 inch in length, somewhat teardrop or triangular in shape, and olive-brown with darker brown and gray patches on the elytra. The elytra are shorter than the abdomen thus leaving a few segments exposed. The larvae are white grubs with abrown head. They are about 1/8 inch long at maturity and have a wrinkled, hump-backed appearance.

Depending on the species, the eggs of these beetles are typically glued to a pod or bean (cowpea weevil), to green pods (broad bean weevil), or deposited loosely among beans or cracks in the pods (bean weevil). The larval and pupal stages remain inside the bean. The cowpea weevil is possibly the most common of these beetles in California. Infestations may originate in the field via adults moving to bean fields from trash beans in planters, used sacks, harvesters, or feed areas. The cowpea weevil commonly attacks dried beans and as a result, can be a serious storage pest. As with cow pea weevils, bean weevil infestations can originate in the field and from trash beans. The bean weevil will readily consume dried beans and is frequently a pest in stored beans. Broad bean weevil infestations occur in the field, but this pest is not a storage problem.

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Image. Beans infested by bean weevil. Courtesy of Bonenkever schade bij sperciebonen and USDA-Clemson University

Depending on prevailing temperatures, eggs hatch in 3 to 30 days; the emerging larvae bore into the seeds where they feed until mature. Pupation occurs in the seed which is followed by the adults cutting round holes through the seed coats. Multiple generations will occur as long as food is available and viable temperatures prevail.

Infestations of these weevils in the field are frequently not obvious. Heating or freezing temperatures can used to control these weevils. Control may be achieved by exposing peas or beans to 0 degrees F or less for 4 days. The beans may be stored at freezing temperature to prevent reinfestation, or they may be stored in containers. In order to avoid possible development of mold, the beans should be thoroughly dried prior to storage.

Coffee Bean Weevil

Other common names include acrea nut weevil, cocoa weevil, coffee weevil and nutmeg weevil. It is found in tropical regions of the world including Central and South America, the tropical Pacific, and Australia. It typically does not survive in temperate regions and is of minor importance in the southern United States.                                                                                        

This weevil is a small dome shaped beetle that is a pest of stored food products. Adult length varies from 3 mm to 5 mm. The beetle is mottled with dark brown and lighter brown patches and has a body length of 3 to 5 mm. It has long legs and long antennae with a large 3-segmented club. The elytra almost cover the abdomen but leave the last segment slightly exposed. The body is covered in fine short hairs.

Coffee Bean Weevil | Araecerus fasciculatus photo
Coffee-bean weevil. Image courtesy of  USDA-GSMRC Public Domain

The coffee bean weevil is an agricultural pest and attacks stored products such as coffee, cocoa, yams, maize, corn, groundnuts, Brazil nuts, nutmeg and ginger. The larvae tunnel into and hollow out stored food products. They pupate inside and adults bore circular holes upon emergence.

Grain Weevils (Sitophilus sp.)

There are 3 species of weevils that commonly infest whole grain, namely the granary weevil (Sitophilus granarius), the rice weevil (Sitophilus oryzae) and the maze weevil (Sitophilus zeamais). All species are very similar in appearance with a few minor but significant differences. These species have chewing mouthparts that are located at the end of their snouts and are about 1/8 to 3/16 inches in length. In the case of developing on small grains such as millet or milo, these weevils are small but are larger when feeding in corn. Unlike the other 2, deep round punctures and light spots are lacking on the granary weevil. Also, the granary weevil cannot fly, whereas the maze and rice weevil can. The larvae of these weevils are legless, humpbacked and white to creamy in color with a small, tan head. The pupal stages of both have snouts, as do the adults. The maize weevil is similar to the rice weevil but larger.

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Image adult rice weevil. Courtesy Olaf Lellinger. CC BY-SA 2.5

Rice and granary weevils are not selective and can be found living in and eating not only rice but also wheat, corn, oats, rye, birdseed, beans, barley, sunflower seeds, cashew nuts, cereals, fruits, and even clothing. They are cosmopolitan in distribution having been shipped all over the world in infested grain. The maze weevil has a similar distribution and  occurs throughout warm, humid regions around the world, especially in locations where maize is grown.

The egg, larva, and pupa stages of these weevils are found in the grain kernels and are rarely seen. The female eats a hole in a kernel of grain large enough to insert its ovipositor and subsequently deposits a single egg. Oviposition takes as little as 3 minutes and is followed by the female sealing the hole. Eggs hatch in 3 days at lower temperature (65 degree F.). Feeding occurs within the grain kernel and adults cut exit holes to emerge. Emergence holes of the granary weevil are larger than those of the rice weevil, and tend to be more ragged than those of the granary weevils.

Female granary weevils deposit from 36 to a few hundred eggs. The entire life cycle requires about 30 to 40 days during the summer and 120 to 150 days during the winter. Adults live approximately several months. Female rice weevils lay significantly more eggs than granary weevils. This number ranges from 300 to 400. The life cycle requires approximately a month. Rice weevil adults live 3 to 6 months and infest grain in the field, especially so in the South. With rice weevils, 2 larvae can develop in a singly kernel of wheat, but with the granary weevil only a single larva can develop in a wheat kernel. When distrurbed, adults of both species readily feign death by drawing up their legs close to the body and remain motionless.

Non-Chemical Control. The  most effective control measure is to find the source of infestation and eliminate it as fast as possible. A flashlight can be used to examine food products and food storage areas. Infested items should be wrapped in heavy plastic bags, placed in sealed containers for removal, or buried deep in the soil. If an infestation is detected quickly, disposal alone may solve the problem.

Due the rapid reproductive capacity of these weevils, grains stored for a month in the summer or under otherwise warm conditions may lead to infestations. When feasible, grain should be purchased in small quantities and used quickly. In addition, it should be stored in insect-proof glass, heavy plastic or metal containers with screw top airtight lids. When longer storage is required, refrigeration is suggested.

Turnover is especially important when purchasing whole grains from processing plants, grain storage facilities and stores. Fortunately, all stages of these weevils can be killed easily by super heating or cooling. Storage area should be well-ventilated to discourage the presence of moisture-loving stored product pests.

Broad Nosed Grain Weevil. (Cauloplilius oryzae)

The broad-nosed granary weevil is primarily a Central and South American species, but it can be found in the West Indies and the southern United States. It is most often encountered in tropical subsistence agriculture, where infestations begin prior to harvest.

The adult weevil ranges from brown to black in color. It is small in size, ranging from 2.5 to 3.5 mm long. Caulophilus oryzae is most similar in appearance to the granary, rice and maize weevils. However, it has a shorter and wider snout and lack spots on the elytra. The broad-nosed granary weevil also has elbowed antennae.

Adult - Broad-nosed granary weevil – Caulophilus oryzae
Broad-nosed grain weevil, Courtesy Grain Canada

The broad-nosed granary weevil is a minor pest of corn and stored products. It has been reported in avocado orchards in the southern United States; there it infests the seeds of fallen avocado fruit. Damage from this beetle is distinctive. Both the adult and larva feeds on the kernel. The female lays eggs in grain kernels. Larval feeding leaves a huge cavity, and emerging adult leaves a ragged exit hole.

The female lays eggs singly in the grain kernel and is capable of producing between 200 to 300 eggs. IShe chews a small hole, inserts 1 egg into the hole and plugs it with a waxy secretion. The larva is white, grub-like and legless. Development time is approximately 1 month under optimal conditions; adults lives for 3 to 6 months, depending on prevailing temperatures.

Flat Grain Beetles (Cryptolestes pusillus)

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Flat grain beetle. Courtesy of University of Nebraska Entomology

These pests are frequently grouped with the "flat grain beetles" or "bran bugs." Technically, they are the rusty grain beetle, the flat grain beetle, and the flour mill beetle. These beetles are quite flat and shiny and have comparatively long, slender antennae. The antennae of both sexes of the rusty grain beetles are approximately half the length of their body.  All adults of these species are strong fliers. Last instar larvae are approximately 3 mm long, whitish and somewhat flattened. The posterior body is slightly broader than the anterior. The head and a sclerotized forked anal process are slightly darkened. The rusty grain beetle is more cold tolerant than the other species.

If conditions are ideal (25°C and 75% relative humidity)), the females will begin laying eggs within 4 days after emergence and may continue to do so for more than 34 weeks. Average fecundity is 242 eggs per female. Eggs are deposited singly in crevices or furrows in kernels of grain, in space between kernels, or in debris. Larvae burrow into kernels of grain but may leave their burrows in search of more favorable food. There are 4 larval instars; pupation occurs inside kernels. Once emerged from the pupae, adults remain inside the pupal cases for a period of time. The length of the entire life cycle varies depending on species, with both rusty and flat grain beetles taking slightly over 3 weeks at 32 -to 35°C and 75% Rh. Under the same environmental conditions, the flour mill beetle requires approximately 4 to 5 weeks. All feed on grain and cereal products and a variety of other stored products. They have been recorded in corn, wheat, barley, flour, cassava root, oil seeds, dried fruits, and chilies. The lavae prefer to feed on the germ of the whole kernels, but sometimes hollow out the entire kernel. Moldy endosperm makes it more suitable to larval feeding. These beetles are considered unable to feed on sound grain, but will attack kernels with very slight imperfections or injuries. 

Foreign grain Beetle (Ahasverus advena)                                                                                                                                                

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Foreign grain beetle. Image courtesy Dick Belgers at waarmeming ni CC BY-SA 2.5 change

The foreign grain beetle is a rather small beetle, approximately 1⁄12 inch in length. This beetle can be distinguished chiefly by its small size, slight projections or knobs on each front corner of the pronotum (top of prothorax) and its club-shaped antennae. The larvae are worm-like, cream-colored and often reach a length of 3 mm before pupating and ultimately emerging as dark brown adults. Adults are a reddish brownish color (occasionally black). They are very similar in shape to the saw-toothed grain beetle, but lack the "sawtoothed" projections on the pronotum. The foreign grain beetle is found in both tropical and temperate regions, preferring temperatures between 20º to 35ºC for complete development.

They usually are most common in early summer to late fall, when humidity levels are highest. These beetles can only survive if relative humidity exceeds 70%. Contrary to what their name suggests, the only things they eat are mold or fungi. The common name of this beetle relates to the fact that they often feed on moldy grain. Regardless, injury by this pest is not severe enough to cause noticeable economic loss. They can appear near bathtubs, sinks or any moist area and can enter houses from the walls near pipes.

Adult females begin laying eggs around 3 to 4 days after emergence from the pupae. Daily oviposition rates are 1 to 4 eggs but can be as high as 8 to 12 eggs. These eggs are laid singly or in clusters of 2 to 3  and hatch in 4 to 5 days. The larval stage is completed in 11 to 19 days, and then it pupates for 3 to 4 days. Under laboratory conditions and a temperature of 27°C, the transition from egg to adult beetle takes about 3 weeks. Larval development times increase with decreasing humidity and/or temperature

These are harmless insects that sometimes inhabit dwellings. They infest a number of products such as grains, cereal products, oil seeds, dried fruit, and spices. An infestation will occur if mold has grown on these products due to a damp environment. Hence, these beetles are considered good indicators of damp storage conditions and spoiled food. They do not bite or damage wood, fabric, or stored food. They only feed on the mold and fungi that has grown on them. They are especially problematic in new houses, due to the mold and fungal growth on new lumber or wet wall board.

Lesser Grain Borer (Rhizopertha domonica)

Adults beetles are very small (approximately 1/8 inches) and dark brown to black in color. The body is cylindrical in shape with the head not visible from a dorsal angle. The prothorax has dorsal blunt knobs or spines. There are distinct rows of pits running longitudinal along the elytra. The antennae are composed of 10 segments, including a 3 segment club. The larvae are white with a stout C-shaped body.

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Lesser grain borer. Image courtesy USDA/Bugwood

This beetle is both internal and external feeder and a serious pest of both cereal products and whole kernel grain. Both larvae and adults readily bore into undamaged kernels of grain and subsequently reduce them into hollow husks. They are also able to reproduce in accumulated "flour" produced as the seeds are chewed up. This beetle is primarily a pest of stored corn and wheat, but it can infest nuts, tobacco, beans, bird seed, cassava biscuits, dried fruit, cocoa beans, spices, peanuts, rodenticide baits, and dried meat and fish.

Adult females lay eggs singly or in groups of up to 30. The eggs are deposited on the outside of the grain or in the fine powdered grain associated with infestations of this beetle. A female can produce from 200 to 500 white eggs during a lifetime. Development from egg to adult depends on temperature. In hot summer conditions, it may take as few as 30 days, but the average is about 58 days. Pupation takes place inside the hollow shell of the seed or in the flour that accumulates in infested grain.

Stores, warehouses, feed and health food stores and grocery stores, to name a few, should be monitored for beetle infestations with pheromone traps. Whole grains such as popcorn, wheat berries, bird seed, spice, dried beans, and seeds for sprouting should be stored in insect-proof glass, plastic, or metal, or containers. Infested products should be discarded. Home infestations are occasionally a result of grain-stuffed animals, decorative corn or other ornaments. There is an unpleasant odor common to with infestations of this beetle; this makes certain foodstuff unpalatable. As with many stored product pests, sanitation is very important in control and prevention. As a result, shelves and other storage areas should be vacuumed and wiped down with warm soapy water. Small isolated infestations may be controlled with residual and space sprays. However, larger infestations typically require fumigation to eliminate pest populations. Grain protectants are commonly used to hinder infestations, but some are less effective against this beetle than they are against other insects.

Mediterranean Flour Moth

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Mediterranean flour moth. Courtesy of USDA/Bugwood.

Development and damage is similar to the Indian meal moth, except the larvae spin, develop and feed within in small silken tubes. Although flour is a more common food, grains, bran, breakfast foods, and pollen in beehives are also attacked. The life cycle takes about 10 weeks. The webbing and matting of the larvae often cause the greatest amount of damage by this insect; this material contaminates foods  and clogs industrial machinery.

The female deposits from 116 to 678 small white eggs in accumulations of flour, meal, waste grain, nuts, chocolate, beans, dried fruits and other food sources. Within a few days (3 days at 80 to 90 degrees F), the eggs hatch into small whitish or pinkish larvae; these have very hard dark colored heads and small black spots on the body. Once hatched, they immediately begin to spin silken tubes. The larvae remain within the tubes until fully mature, which takes approximately 40 days. Once fully grown, larvae wander in search of  pupation locations and subsequently spin silken cocoons to transform into mature reddish-brown pupae. Adult emergence occurs in 8 to 12 days. In near ideal conditions (warm weather), this moth may complete its life cycle (egg to adult) in 5 to 7 weeks.

Cadelle Beetles (Tenebriodes mauritnicus)

cadelle beetle (Tenebroides mauritanicus ) on wheat (Triticum spp. ) - 1234042
IAdult cadelle beetle and larva. Courtesy of USDA-Clemson University

Cadelles are the largest beetles of the major stored product pests. They are shiny, dark brown/red and about 1/2 inch long. There is a distinct narrow gap between the prothorax and front of the elytra, thus resembling a waist. Their larvae are elongated, creamy white with distinct black heads. There are 2 sclerotized dark plates on dorsum of the prothorax of the larvae. In addition, the anal segment of the larvae bears 2 horny spine-like structures (urogomphi). Last instar larvae are about 0.6 to 1 inches in length.

Females are long live and capable of depositing 1,000 eggs or more in batches of 10 to 60 in on grain or other food materials. Both active stages (adults and larvae) feed on grain traveling  from kernel to kernel and typically only feed on the germ. There are 4 larval instars, with the species completing 1 or 2 generations per year. Larval development may be as short as 8 weeks under optimum conditions. The larvae often migrate from the source of the infestation to pupate in a depression within wood or other materials. Cadelle beetles are primary feeders on a variety of grains, flour, and meal. They produce irregular holes in undamaged kernels and prefer the seed germ but will also eat endosperm. This beetle is commonly found in wooden bins. Both larvae and adults bore into wood surfaces during their developmental cycle.

Eggs and pupae are easily killed at 0 degrees F;  however, larvae and adults can survive at 15 to 20º F for several weeks.

Drugstore Beetle (Stegobium paniceum), Cigarette Beetle (Lasioderma serricorne)

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Left image. Adult of drugstore beetle. Right image: adult cigarette beetle. Change

Both of these closely related species are similar in size (1/8 inch) and shape (cylindrical). In addition, their heads are withdrawn into the thorax and are only slightly visible from a dorsal angle. The drugstore beetle differs from the cigarette beetle in that the former has row of pits running the length of the elytra. In addition, the antennae of the drugstore beetle terminates in 3 elongated segments,while those of the cigarette beetle are saw-like or serrate in appearance. The larvae of both species are white, C-shaped and have 3 pair of thoracic legs.

Feeding Habits. Both of these beetles, as with most stored product pests, are worldwide in distribution. They feed on a wide variety of material including many things that are not consumed by humans.  Common foods include flour, meal, breakfast foods, dried dog food, spices (e.g. red pepper, dried tomatoes), rice, raisins, dates, ginger, dried fish, drugs, rodent baits and much, much more. Both species may be serious pests of manuscripts and books. These beetles have been known to bore straight through all pages of a shelved book. They are external feeders and do not typically feed internally in grain. These beetles occasionally feed on wool, hair, leather, and museum specimens. They have symbiotic yeasts that produce B vitamin. This allows them to survive when feeding on material of low nutritional value. The cigarette beetle is a key pest on tobacco feeding not only on stored cigars but also bailed tobacco leaves. 

Biology. Both species are attracted to lights during the night or dark cloudy days. Females are capable of producing up to 75 eggs during a 13 to 65 day period. Larval development ranges from 4 to 20 weeks, depending on temperature. Pupation typically occurs off the host and can range from 12 to 18 days. At room temperature, the entire life cycle lasts approximately 2 months, but can extend as long as 7 at lower temperatures. Several overlapping generations may occur in warm climates or conditions. In colder areas, there is normally 1 generation per year.

Control.. Insect traps are available for L. serricorne; these contain specific pheromones to attract male beetles, and help to detect and monitor infestations. Infested bulk tobacco in the form of bales or hogsheads can be fumigated using methyl bromide or aluminum phosphide.

With phosphine dosage, rates are 1 gram of phosphine (equivalent to a 3 gram table) per cubic meter - for 5 days at 12 to15°C and 4 days at 16 to20 °C and 3 days above 20°C. For localized infestations the approach is to find the infested product, dispose of it, and treat around the area with a residual insecticide such as cypermethrin to kill off any remaining beetles. These beetles are susceptible to cold temperatures which may be used in control or prevention of infestations.

Lonheaded Flour Beetle (Latheticus orzae)

The longheaded flour beetle occurs throughout most of the world. However, it is not cold tolerant and typically thrives in hot, damp conditions. In colder climates, it can be found only in heated storage areas. This species is considered a minor pest of stored grain. It is destructive in mills and granaries.The longheaded flour beetle is of little importance in the U. S. but occurs in most parts of the Southwestern States.

Identification. The longheaded flour beetle (Latheticus oryzae) is pale yellow-brown, slender, flattened, and about 2.5 to 3 mm in length. The antennae form a compact 5-segmented club. It resembles the red flour beetle in size and shape, but is lighter in color. The larvae are light brown in color and about 5 mm long. They are elongate with 3 pairs of legs and are very similar in appearance to Tribolium larvae. The larva is light brown and 5 mm long. It is active and pupates in the food source.

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Longheaded flour beetle. Courtesy of CSIRO Biology

The longheaded flour beetle is a generalist feeder. A sign of infestation is a disagreeable odor in the commodity. It feeds on stored grain, cereals, oil seeds, flour, processed grains, pasta, oatmeal, tea, and corn. Both the adult and larva are pests of cereals and oil seeds. Breeding conditions occur at temperatures in the range of 25°C to 40°C and a relative humidity that is greater than 30%. The female lays eggs randomly and loosely in a food source. The female may lay up to 300 eggs during her lifetime. The average development time is 22 days.                                                     

Rice Moth (Corcyra cephclonica)                       

IN-7.0 Rice Moth
Adult Rice Moth. Courtesy of USDA

Identification. The rice moth is similar in size to the Indian meal moth but is much less common. The larvae are general feeders and prefer warm climates. The adult moth has pale buff-brown uniform colored forewings with a 5 to 25 mm wingspan and nearly transparent hindwings.The wing tips are rounded and tightly folded to the body when at rest. The larvae are dull white with long fine hair and dark brown heads.

Biology. As the larvae feed, they web debris, grains, and other small items into galleries or clumps in which they ultimately develop. When fully-grown, they form white cocoons to pupate. Pupae are typically located in food or between pallets and sacks and require 4 to 8 weeks prior to adult emergence. As with many moths, they do not feed and consequently live for 1 to 2 weeks. Females deposit from 100 to 200 eggs on or near potential food sources. This species can have several generations in tropical countries, but in temperate areas they typically annually produce 1. This is one of the key pests of biscuits, cocoa, sorghum, rice, pearl millet, sorghum, and seeds. Larvae also contaminate foods by the silk that web together food particles, dusts and frass.

Indian Meal Moth (Plodia interpundtella)

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Adult Indian Meal Moth. Courtesy of kaldari Public Domain. Larvae. Courtesy Pudding4Brains. Public Domain.

Identification. Adult moths are approximately 3/8 inch long and have a wing spread of about 1/2 to 3/4 inches. When at rest and viewed from a dorsal angle with the wings folded over the back, the outer half of the front wing is reddish- bronze while the inner half is light gray to tan. The head and thorax are reddish-brown and the hind wings are grayish. Last instar larvae are about 2/3 inch in length and dirty white and sometimes tinged green or pink. These larvae molt 4 to 7 times prior pupating.

Life Cycle. This species is considered the most damaging of the grain-infesting moths. A considerable portion of their damage is the result of larvae spinning silken threads as they move and feed in infested material; as a result, they web food particles together. Besides infesting all whole grains and cereal, they also feed on a wide variety of food products such as dog and cat food, fish food, powdered milk, cornmeal, flour, raisins, dried fruits, nuts, prunes, candies, chocolate, health food, seeds, bird seed, graham crackers, dried red pastas, peppers, and much more.

Biology. These moths fly mostly at night and are attracted to lights. Occasionally, they crawl up walls and suspend from the ceiling attached to a single silken thread. Other times, a few larvae may be found in a food package along with unsightly webbing, cast skins and frass. Packages of whole wheat, graham flour and corn meal are often infested. Most activity occurs in the warmer months (faster life cycle), but often appear at other times. Some adult moths fly into structures during summer months, but most "hitchhike" inside in packaged goods and groceries. Infestation of this species occurs not only homes, but restaurants, grocery stores, warehouses, pet stores, seed companies, mills, and many more locations where their food is present.

Females deposit between 60 and 300 eggs, singly or in clusters, on or near potential food. Eggs hatch quickly (2 to 14 days). Larvae seek food and ultimately produce a tunnel-like case consisting of frass and silk. As indicated, food becomes matted with silken webbing. In stored grains, the larvae are surface feeders. Once fully developed, larvae abandon their silken tubes and frequently wander a considerable distances from their food source prior to locating a pupation site (often in cracks and crevices). It is not uncommon for some to crawl up walls and pupate where the wall and ceiling meet.

The length of the entire life cycle (egg to adult) may range from as little as 4 weeks and up to 300 days, depending on prevailing temperatures. In cold climates the larvae overwinter, with pupation subsequently occurring in March and adults emerging a few weeks later. There may be up to 5 generations a year, again depending on prevailing temperatures.

Meal Moths (Pyralis farinalia)

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Image: Meal Moth. Courtesy of Entomart                 

Identification. This is a medium-sized moth with a wingspan of 1/2 to 1 inch. The basal 1/3 of the forewing is reddish-brown and the median area brownish-white. There are white bands running crosswise on both forewings and hindwings. When at rest, the adults fold their wings flat while the abdomen is extended and curled over the body. The genus Farinalis gets its name from the Latin farina, meaning a fine meal of vegetable matter.

Biology. The female deposits an average of 300 plus eggs, with hatching larvae developing in as little as 6 weeks. As with the Indian meal moths, the larval develop in silken tubes that are coated or mixed with food particles. They feed from the open ends. Once fully developed, they abandon these tubes and subsequently pupate in silken cocoons. The larvae feed on a variety of grain products. They are most frequently found infesting food products that are in poor condition, moldy, moist, or stored in damp places. Common larval food includes are straw, hay, cork, dried fruit, and even. candy.

Yellow Mealworm (Tenebrio molitor). Dark Mealworm (Tenebrio obscures)

Identification. Both species are of similar size and shape. The adult dark mealworm is a dull black beetle with a flattened shape and parallel sides. It varies in color from brown to black. The larvae of dark mealworms are dark brown. The adult beetle is similar to the related yellow mealworm beetle, which has a more glossy appearance and is lighter in color with yellowish brown larvae. Full grown larvae measure 1 1/8 inch in length with hard bodies and possess a pair of short upturned appendages (urogomphi) located on the top of the last abdominal segment.

Life Cycle. Meal worms overwinter in the larval stage, with adults emerging in the early spring to summer. Adults typically only live few months. Generally there is 1 generation per year, although some individual larva may require 2 years to complete development. Larvae typically feed on the surface of infested material. Females can deposit up to 500 eggs, with subsequent hatching occurring in 4 to 19 days.There are up 20 larval instars. Due to their long life cycle, these insects rarely do significant damage or reach large populations.                                                       

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/38/Mealworms_in_plastic_container_of_bran.jpg/220px-Mealworms_in_plastic_container_of_bran.jpgyellow mealworm, Tenebrio molitor  (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) - 5462394
Mealworms nestled in a bedding of bran. Courtesy of Richard Chambers GNU Free Documention License 1.2.  Adult. Courtesy of USDA/Bugwood

Mealworms are high in protein and are frequently used as a commercial source of food for reptiles, fish, and bird pets. They are also common used in bird feeders, particularly during the nesting season when birds are raising their young. They are also commonly sold as fish bait. Because of its relatively large size, ease of rearing and handling, and status as a non-model organism, Tenebrio molitor is also used for biological research. 

These insects can be purchased at most pet stores and bait shops and are available via mail order or internet suppliers (by the thousands). They are typically sold in a container with bran or oatmeal for food.

Lesser mealworm (Alphitobius diaperinus. )

This species is worldwide in distribution and considered a general stored products pest and a vector and reservoir of several domestic fowl pathogens and parasites. On occasion, adults can become a nuisance when they are attracted residential lights near fields where these beetles infested manure.

Identification. Adults of these beetles are oval, somewhat convex, black to dark brown and typically shiny. However, adult color can vary depending on a number of factors, including age or 'strain' of the species. Their length is approximately 5.8 to 6.3 mm. The antennae are covered with short yellowish hairs and bear lighter terminal segments. The pronotum is 2 times as broad as long and narrows anteriorly.The elytra bear striations with fine punctations.

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Image: Adult lesser mealworm. Courtesy of Forestry Images

Their larvae are elongated, distinctly segmented with a posterior tapering abdominal tip. They bear 3 pair of segmented legs, and they superficially resemble small wireworms (Elateridae). The last instar larvae measure approximately 7 to 11 mm in length. Freshly emerged larvae are a milky color but gradually turn shades of yellow-brown in later instars.

Biology. Infestations in maize can originate in fields and subsequently spread to storage. Since they only feed on the germ of grain, a single larva can destroy a significant quantity kernels and render seed corn unfit for germination. The adult are strong fliers and have been collected at heights of 70 to 170 yards.

This beetle typically infests meal, flour and other grain product that are commonly found in poorly maintained grain processing plants. It has been found feeding on oatmeal, rice, barley, wheat, soybeans, cowpeas, and peanuts but less commonly on oil seed products, linseed, tobacco, cotton seed, and drugs. Due to its tropical origin, this species is well-suited for humid, warm conditions. It is commonly found in brooder or poultry houses where it breeds in poultry droppings and litter.

This lesser mealworm has been observed in a variety of situations, such as i bat colonies, bird nests, ground squirrel burrows and other rodent nests. Beetles numbering in the hundreds of thousands have been discovered in caves inhabited by bats in various parts of the world, including Kenya and Texas. They have been known to feed on bird feathers, and other lesser mealworms. Although skin beetles are best known to clean carcasses for various displays, the feeding habit of these mealworms is also used for this purpose.

Female beetles have a tremendous reproductive capacity and are capable of producing over 2,000 eggs at a rate of a few a days. Adults deposit their eggs in crevices and cracks in manure, litter, grain hulls and under water lines and feed trays. Female beetles live 3 to 12 months and produce eggs most of their life.

Larvae hatch in 4 to 8 days with the entire life cycle taking from 50 to 110 days, depending on food quality and temperature. Optimum environmental conditions for the development of this beetle are 33°C with around 90% relative humidity. Both active stages are mainly nocturnal, with most activity at dusk. The adults are quite active and will readily burrow into substrates when disturbed. Lesser grain beetles adults are relatively long lived persisting in the field for more than a year.

Damage. Even though this species is not considered of major economic importance to whole grains, it does occur commonly on products already damaged molds. However, it is of considerable importance in the poultry industry as an avian disease vector, and there is human health risks associated with exposure to this beetle. Lesser mealworms can also cause poultry house structural damage. When searching for suitable pupation sites, larvae will chew holes in Styrofoam, fiberglass, and polystyrene insulation panels in the walls of poultry houses. The resulting damage can cause increased heating bills and additional building repair costs, when the infested area is replaced. Energy costs in beetle-damaged broiler houses are reported to be 67% higher than in houses without beetle damage.

Cultural and Mechanical Control. Cold weather is an effective mean of control in northern locations. These beetles are susceptible to a week or more exposure to sub-freezing temperatures. Removing manure at these times increases the efficiency of this type of control. On the other hand, freezing temperatures can kill birds and damage water pipes. Frequent manure clean-out,  removal of litter and replacement of fresh shavings in poultry houses can help greatly reduce beetle populations. 

Almond Moths (Ephestia cautella)                                                                                  .                               

Identifcation. Adult labial palps are upturned. The forewings are grey to dusty brown. There is a dark straight band across the forewing which is paler on the inner edge. The hindwings are light grey to beige and have a fringe of hairs on the inner wing margin. Both the forewings and hindwings are rounded at the apex. The adult does not feed on the infected commodity. The larva is white to pink in color and has a distinctive brown head. It can grow to 1/2 inch in length. Each body segment has black spots which run in parallel lines down the dorsum of the thorax and abdomen..

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Images by Clemson University - USDA Cooperative Extension Slide Series, Bugwood.org, CC BY 3.0 us,
https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10483479

The almond moth is found worldwide. It is a scavenger which is found in mills, processing facilities, warehouses, and households. The almond month occurs more often in heated structures than in non-heated structures. It feeds on grain, cereal products, oil seeds and dried plant products like nuts, fruit and tobacco. However, it is more of a pest of nuts and dried fruits than on grains and cereals. During the day, the adult moth can be seen resting on walls and other surfaces. It flies mostly at dusk and dawn.

When feeding on whole grains, the larva prefers the germ and bran where it burrows. This creates silk tunnels in which it remains while feeding. It produces silk webbing that binds the surface of a grain bulk together. Large larva can burrow through packing. A sign of infestation is contamination with silk webbing, frass, cast skins, pupal cases, and adult remains.

Biology. Breeding conditions are temperatures between 17° to 37°C and humidity greater than 20%. It breeds rapidly in conditions with high heat and humidity. The female lays 150 to 200 eggs loosely and randomly on food sources. The larva is active. Each body segment has black spots, which run in parallel lines down the back. At temperatures of 30°C and humidity is 80%, the larva can complete its development in 26 days. When mature, the larvae will actively leave the food source and search for a site in which to pupate in a silk cocoon. The larva can enter diapause, if conditions are unfavorable for development. Several generations a year can be produced.

Secondary Pests.

Square-necked Grain Beetle (Cathartus quadricollis)

This species is more commonly found in warm temperature and tropical areas, such as the Southern United States, Central and South America, and West Africa. C. quadricollis infests maize in the field and is very common in the tropics as a pest of farm/stored maize in subsistence farming. It appears to be restricted to southern USA states and is much more widely distributed in Mexico.

Species image
Image: Square-necked grain beetle. Courtesy of Sarah McCaffrey Museum Victoria

Identification. The adult is a small, reddish-brown beetle. It is parallel-sided and slightly flattened. It is 2.4 to 3 mm long. When viewed from the side, its eyes are entirely rounded. The larva molts 6 to 8 times. The larva forms a cell in the food source for pupation.. Optimal conditions for development are temperatures between 27°C and 35°C and a relative humidity between 50 and 80%. Development times ranges from 25 to 114 days depending on conditions.

Biology. It is a mold feeder and a scavenger and is considered to be a minor pest of stored grain. It feeds on plant and dried animal products, especially grain and cereal products. The square-necked flour beetle feeds on damaged and moldy grain. It is found in stored grain, milled wheat, oat products and flour mills. It is often found associated with Sitophilus species infestations. It is one of the smallest flour beetle pests, and it is similar in appearance to a small red flour beetle, Tribolium castanteum. The adult survives for 2 to 3 months and can fly. The square-necked flour beetle prefers to breed in milled products, The female lays 300 eggs during her lifetime, randomly in a food source. The eggs are sticky and become covered in food particles.

Damage. The squared-necked grain beetle is a general feeder. The damage is not distinctive. Both the adult and larva feed on grain, flour, animal feeds, and milled products. The beetle is associated with damp grain, heated grain, mill machinery and previously infested grain. Its presence in stored grain indicates poor storage conditions. A disagreeable odor in the commodity is a sign of infestation.

Hairy Fungus Beetle (Typhaea sterorea)

Identification. The adult is uniformly light brown, 2 to 3 mm in length, oval and slightly flattened in shape. It is covered in fine hairs that are arranged in parallel lines on the elytra. The antennae are a 3-segmented club. The head is visible when viewed from above. The adult is long lived and can fly. The hairy fungus beetle larva is flat, pale, and translucent. It is 4 to 4.5 mm long. It has a pair of dark, upwardly curved urogomphi on the top of the last abdominal segment.The urogomphi are separated at their base.

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Hairy fungus beetle. Courtesy of CSIRO-AU

Biology. The hairy fungus beetle is found worldwide. It feeds on damaged grain and is associated with mold. It is a minor pest found in a range of products of vegetable origin. It is among the most common fungus beetle pests in the US. It typically occurs in moldy food products and other organic materials, like newly harvested or damp grain. It occurs in warehouses, stores, flour mill, feed mills and granaries. This beetle  infests stored grain, seeds, tobacco and nuts, and can be found in ripening crops prior to harvest, such as hay and cereal grains. It has also been found in cornfields and thought to be attracted to decaying ears. The hairy fungus beetle is a general feeder. The damage is not distinctive and is caused by both adult and larva. Their presence in stored grain indicates poor storage conditions. The larva is active and moves through the commodity. Comple development may range from 21 to 33 days when the temperature is at 25°C and relative humidity is between 80 to 90%.

Depressed Flour Beetle (Palorus subdepressus)

This species is a minor pest of fine materials such as flour, and moldy or damaged grains. It occurs worldwide; however, it prefers warmer temperatures. Both adult and larvae will consume damaged stored products.                                                                                             

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Adult depressed flour -beetle. Image Courtesy of USDA, Agricultural Research Service

Identification.This species is an elongated, reddish-brown beetle. The sides of the anterior portion of the head extend backward hiding the front portion of the eyes when view from a dorsal angel. The relatively short filiform antennae are slightly wider towards the tip. The elytra bear long lines of parallel pits. These tiny beetles are approximately 1/10 inches in length. .                                  

Biology. This species is usually found in damp and moldy areas around stored food products. As a result, they are also an indicator of poor and damp storage. Possible contaminants associated with their feeding include feces, larval skins and the bodies of dead adults. It feeds on fine material and often coexists with other beetle pests that break the food down into fine particles. They are a minor pest of stored grain but can be a major pest in yams. The female beetle lays about 650 eggs. The eggs are sticky and as a result are covered by particles from the food stuff. Early instar larvae are cylindrical and almost transparent but turn brown as they mature. The larvae pupate within the food product. The adult beetles live up to 6 months.                                                                                                            

Miscellaneous Stored Product Pests

Fruit Flies (Drosophila melanogaster)

 File:Drosophila repleta lateral.jpgFile:Fruit fly larva 01.jpg       

Top  image: Drosophila fruit fly. Right image: larvae. Courtesy of Boski change

Identification. The common fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, measures 2 to 4 mm in length and is tan or light brown in color. They typically have red protruding eyes, although mutations result in white eyed and eyeless specimens, as well. The front of the fruit fly’s body is tan or brown in color.

Feeding Habits. Fruit flies are found near ripened or fermenting fruit. Common host include tomatoes, melons, squash, grapes, and many fruits. Adults are also attracted to the fermenting sugars present in spilled alcoholic beverages. Adult flies may also feed on organic material present in unclean drains. They enter homes in spring and summer on fresh fruit, as well as through open windows and doors. Because fruit fly larvae often assume the coloring of their host fruit, they are difficult to locate and are brought inside unwittingly. These flies are attracted to bananas and other ripe fruit, especially when left in unprotected conditions. Adults readily feed on yeast which develops on these and other materials. Sap flows, overripe produce and mushrooms are also foods of choice. Females are capable of ovipositing 500 plus eggs, typically in fermenting fruit. The only requisite for successful reproduction is moisture and fermenting material. Generally, these flies are typically problematic late summer and fall due to their attraction to ripening and fermenting fruits and vegetables

Life Cycle. Outdoors fruit flies are most active during warm, bright days and feed upon the surfaces of fruits, leaves, plant secretions, and honeydew produced by aphids. During the preoviposition feeding stage, adult fruit flies spend approximately 10 days feeding on fruits, vegetables, and other decaying materials.

Following this phase, the female fruit fly places her eggs beneath the skins of fruits. This egg laying can cause disfiguration in fruit crops. Fruit fly larvae feed on the surface of decaying masses within which they are laid. Larvae are often present in the blemished and over-ripened areas of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Dried Fruit Beetle (Carpophilius hemipterus)

Sap beetles or dried fruit beetles consist of several closely related species that exhibit similar life cycles and somewhat resemble each other in appearance. Carpophilus hemipterus is the most commonly encountered species, but the Freeman sap beetle, C. freemani and the confused sap beetle, C. mutilatus are frequently encountered and commonly abundant in some orchards. Carpophilus marginellus and Urophorus humeralis are sometimes present in lesser numbers.

Identification. Adults are brown or black beetles which commonly have light spots on the elytra. They are 0.1 to 0.2 inches long and have capitate antennae. The elytra are shortened and do not cover the last 2 to 3 abdominal segments. Last instar larvae are white or cream colored and 0.1 to 0.2 inch long. They have tan to brown head well-developed head capsules, 3 pairs of true legs, and brown urogomphi located dorsally on the anal abdominal segment.

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Image: Dried fruit beetle. Image Courtesy of USDA

These beetles attack fresh fruit but are also a pest of dried process fruit. They are cosmopolitan in distribution and are especially common where fruit is grown and processed. Regardless of their size and the amount of food they consume, a few beetles in a box of dried fruits can produce a considerable mess with their excrement, cast skins and dead adults. The adult beetles are mostly attracted to moist or rotting fruits but can also be found in dried processed fruit. These beetles have been recorded infesting dried packaged plums, peaches apricots, raisins, bananas, plums, drugs, nuts, bread, biscuits and grains. Fresh figs and raisins are especially attractive to these beetles, as these fruit are dried in the field of processing sheds. The presence of these beetles and their excrement not only contaminate these products, but introduce bacteria and yeast can readily spoil the finished product.

Biology. As with most insect, the length of the life cycle varies tremendously depending on temperature. At 80 degrees F, the average time of development of the egg, larva and pupal stages are 2.5, 4 and 9 days, respectively or 16 day total. Multiple generations occur annually; the life cycle is typically completed in warm processing plants. The egg stage is typically deposited on the outside of fruit, with the remaining stage found within the same.

Control. As with most other types of stored product pests, one of the most effective types of control is prevention. Since these pest are attracted to ripening fruit, sanitation starts in the field. Removal of fallen fruit will tremendously reduce the overall population of these pests. Dumpsters outside of processing plants where unwanted fruit or residue is deposited, should be removed and picked up regularly. Any spills and unwanted fruit within the processing plants should be cleaned up and destroyed or removed on a regular basis.

Spider Beetles (Family Ptinidae)

The American spider beetle, whitemarked spider beetle, and shiny spider beetle are small beetles and so named because they are similar in appearance to small spiders. They have long legs and comparatively large rounded abdomens.The latter species is the most commonly encountered species in the western U.S. All 3 have a similar biology and feeding habits.

Identification. The head, long legs, antennae, thorax and abdomen are uniformly reddish in color. The shiny spider beetle resembles a large red mite with a hump, and when viewed from a dorsal angle, its head is hidden underneath the body. The larvae of all  species are off-white and “C” shaped with light brown heads.

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Shiny spider beetles. Courtesy of University Nebraska Entomology

The shiny spider beetle occurs in much of North America. Spider beetles are scavengers and feed on a wide variety of animal and plant material. It is not unusual to find them in food infested with other food stored product beetles. In these cases, they frequently feed on the carcasses of these dead insects. Shiny spider beetles infest food  and contaminate it with their fecal matter, cast skins, body parts, and pupal cases. This species is nocturnal and remains  hidden during daylight hours in dark locations,  such as crevices and between food packaging. They are most frequently found towards the perimeter of a pile of food, rather than the center.

In addition, this species has been found feeding on dead animal carcasses, in bird and rat nests, woolen material, old paper, and unusual substances, such as opium and tallow.

Biology. All 3 species have been reported to feed and reproduce on a wide variety of materials,  including but not limited to dried fruits, chocolate powder, dried mushrooms, excrement (dried), feathers, seeds, silk, figs almonds, fish meal, various spice, flour, seeds, silk, ginger, animal skins, beans, books, stuffed birds, textile fabrics, various spices, bones, brushes, cacao, cereals, corn meal, dates, dead insects and insect collections, herbarium specimens, hops, dried soup, drugs derived from powdered leaves, excrement (dried), feathers, figs, grains, hair, leather, maize, nutmeg, old wood in houses, paprika, rye bread, rye, stuffed birds, textile fabrics, wheat, and wool.

Management. Control of these pests is best achieved by the discovery and elimination of the infested foodstuff. In many ways, this is similar to the control of all stored-product pests, but it is exceedingly difficult because of the beetles’ ability to feed on such a wide host range. For instance, although spider beetles may be found in the pantry, the real infestation could be in a rodent nest under the floor, in bat droppings in the attic space, or from dead overwintering insects trapped within an exterior wall. Sticky traps can be of use in detecting the presence of these pests. Efforts should focus on the movement of traps until an infestation is located. Once found, all efforts should focus on removal of all the infested material.

Red-legged Ham Beetle (Necrobia rufipes)

The red-legged ham beetle, Necrobia rufipes, is a cosmopolitan predatory beetle in the family Cleridae.
 

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Red-legged ham beetle. Courtesy of Michael C. Thomas,Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Bugwood.org

Description. The adult beetles are 0.1–0.3 inches in length, convex in shaped and the head, thorax and abdomen are covered with multiple indentations (puncture) and fine hairs or setae. They are shiny metallic green or greenish blue in color. The legs brown and the antennae are dark and clubbed.

Feeding Habits. They are also known as copra beetles. To a certain extent, they could be considered beneficial as they feed on blowfly maggots, skin beetles and cheese skippers. However, the larvae of these beetles bore into dry or smoked meat and have occasionally become pests in bone and dog biscuit factories. They are often found in pet stores where they infest animal parts sold as dog chews. The red-legged ham beetle also attacks hides, copra, dried egg, cheese, guano, bone meal, dried figs, museum mummies, and palm nut kernels. Their damage is sporadic, as their populations are quite small in nature. Although refrigeration has reduced the impact of these beetles on meats, they are the most significant pest of dried and salt fish, including herring. They have been recorded in Egyptian mummies and were once known as Necrobia mumiarum. Related species are Necrobia violacea, which has all-dark legs and antennae . Necrobia ruficollis has light-colored bases of the elytra..

Biology.The species also commonly known as the copra beetle in tropical countries and is a serious pest of copra. In India, it is also recorded as a serious pest of cashew nuts. These beetles can subsist on a diet of copra alone, but their development is slow; their diet is almost certainly  supplemented by predation on other insects and can promote cannibalism when there is a super-population. The life cycle varies from 36 to 150 days or more, depending on the types of food and temperature.

Raisin Moth (Cadra figulilella)

Identification. These insects live and develops primarily out-of-doors, although they are often brought into storages with infested commodities. The larvae attack all the usual varieties of drying and dried fruits including, fallen figs, and damaged or moldy clusters of grapes on the vines. Raisins are attacked until they become too dry. Young larvae hatched on raisins in storage and feed chiefly on the ridge crests, but they may also bore into the flesh. They do not completely consume the raisin but move about leaving masses of excreta and webbing. During its development, a single   larva can damage about 20 Thompson Seedless or 9 Muscat raisins. Cottnseed cake, cacao beans, and cashew kernels are among host foods. Fallen mulberries are important because they are available to this insects early in spring, when other food is scarce.

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IRaisin moth

Biology. Female raisin moths deposit eggs on all common varieties of drying and dried fruits. The rate of development of the eggs, larvae, and pupae varies with temperature. From egg to adult, the elapsed time is about 43 days at 83°F. At that temperature, eggs hatch in 3 to 6 days, and larvae reach full growth in about 32 days. Larvae molt several times, usually 6, with a range of from 4 to 8. Larval development is greatly extended during the winter. In raisin storage, any larvae that escape fumigation continue to feed, and in the spring pupate and emerge. In vineyards, most of the larvae pass the winter in cocoons in the upper few inches of soil near the vine trunks and along under the wires or under the rough bark of the grapevines. In fig orchards, many larvae overwinter in a 6 inch band of soil around the tree trunks. The overwintering larvae pupate in the spring. The prepupal period lasts 1 day and the pupal period, about 10. Emergence of the adult moths begins in April and reaches a peak in May. No adults or eggs are found during winter. There are about 3 1/2  overlapping broods annually. The males live for an average of 1l days and the females for 16 days.

The raisin moth is a prolific insect. In summer, mated females provided with water averaged 351 eggs. Most eggs are deposited in the first few hours of darkness. On warm nights, these moths flyabout 1/2 hour after sunset until sunrise, chiefly during the earlier part of that period.

Larder beetle (Dermestes lardarius) 

Identification. Adult larder beetles are generally 1/3 to 3/8 of an inches long and are dark brown with a broad, pale yellow spotted band across the upper portion of the elytra. Three black dots are arranged in a triangle shape on each wing. The sternum and legs of the larder beetle are covered in fine, yellow setae. The larva is longer than the adult and thickly covered with short and long setae which are reddish-brown to black in color. The larval underside is white in coloration. They also have 2 spines on the posterior end on the abdomen. A distinguishing feature of the spine is that it curves backward. During pupation, mature larvae tend to bore into hard substrates such as wood, cork and plaster. 

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Image: Larder beetle. Courtesy of Andre Karawith AKA CC BY-SA 2.5

Feeding Habits. As with the hide beetle, these are pests of hides and meat including ham and bacon. They have also been found on dried pet food, rawhide pet chews, dried museum specimens, store tobacco, and dried fish. When found in high numbers, they have been known to threaten the safety of building due to their burrowing into roof beams in an effort to find a suitable pupation site.

Life cycle. Larder beetles are infrequent pests of households. Both adults and larvae feed on raw skins and hides. Adult larder beetles are typically found outdoors in protected areas during the winter. but during the spring and early summer, they enter buildings. Females lay approximately 135 eggs near a food source. These typically hatch in about 12 days. The life cycle of larder beetles lasts around 40 to 50 days. The larvae pass through 6 instars and may leave the host to pupate.

Grain Mites/Flour Mite (Acarus siro)

This is one of the most common and important mites that infest feed products and other food including dried vegetables materials, cheese, cereal, corn and dried fruits. Populations of the grain mite have the capacity to explode under high moisture conditions and are often associated with fungal growth. With extreme infestations, a brownish tinge often covers the commodity. This is called "mite dust." This coloration is actually due to the light brown color of the mite legs. There is a minty odor associated with such a heavy infestation, especially if the mites are crushed. Grain mites are very common and widely distributed in temperate regions of the world. In tropical areas, they are less common unless there is a continuous influx of new mites (via contaminated products)

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Image: Grain mite

Identification. These mites are pale, pearly or grayish white with legs varying in color from pale yellow to reddish-brown. Each leg has a single claw at the end. As with all mites, they are smooth, wingless, soft-bodied creatures. The males are from 0.013 to 0.017 inches in length and the female varies from 0.014 to 0.026 inches in length. Diagnostically, the males of this species have enlarged forelegs which bear a thick ventral spine. Immature mites are similar in appearance to the adults, with the exception of the larvae which have 6 legs. Mite eggs are oval, smooth, white, and almost not visible to the naked eye.

Biology. The female is capable of depositing up to 800 eggs at a rate of about 20 to 30 a day. These are either deposited singly or scattered over the food material. The entire life cycle is quite short and may be completed in as little 9 to 11 days, under ideal environmental conditions (90% RH and 75 F). Of course, temperate is the main factor determining the length of development.

Control. Prevention is generally considered the best strategy to prevent problems with this pest in stored grain. Adequate sanitation prior to introduction of new grain will typically decrease the need for the use of pesticides. This typically consists of the removal of old grain and dust in and around grain bins, including from floors, corners, and walls and any that has been spilled on the exterior of a bin.

Subsequent to this and when all needed repairs have been accomplished, various surfaces inside and outside the bin should be treated, including in all cracks, crevices, around doorways and other location where insects and mite can hide. Pesticide application should be applied several weeks prior to introduction of new grain.

Prior to introduction on new grain, it should be screened in order to eliminate any fine materials and damaged kernels. Once introduced, the commodity should be checked at 14 day intervals with warm weather and once a month during cooler weather for the presence of mold, hotspots, and mite activity. If mites are found, the commodity may be aerated in order to lower the moisture level and temperature.

Mites cannot survive in commodities with less than 12% moisture content or less. Grain that is stored for longer than 6 months may need an application of an acaracides. This can be accomplished as the grain loaded into the bin. Once the grain is leveled in the bin, a surface application can be applied for further protection. If problems still exist, fumigation may be required.

Booklice (Psocoptera)

Identification. Booklice or psocids are typically less than 1/16 inch long and are light yellow, colorless or grey. They have soft bodies with chewing mouthparts and relatively long antennae. The head and abdomen are larger than the thorax. One of the key characteristics of this order is that the clypeus is swollen. This basically means they have a fat lip that projects forward when viewed from a dorsal angle. More simply, they just look like booklice. Some are winged but the forms that are typically found in the food products or cereal are wingless. Once you have seen one, that is pretty much it.

Eliminate Book Lice - treatment and prevention
Image: Booklice. Courtesy pestfreesydney, au

Biology. Many species are parthenogenetic, meaning that can reproduce without mating. Females can produce about 60 eggs during the warm summer months and their life cycle (from egg to adult) can be completed in less than 1 month. When cool temperatures prevail, female booklice produce fewer eggs and the time required to complete their life cycle is over 3 months.

Females lay their eggs singly. These eggs are commonly covered by debris. They exhibit gradual metamorphosis or put more simply, the nymphs look just like adults, except that they are much smaller and not capable of reproducing. Most species normally have 4 nymphal instars. These nuisance pests feed on molds and quickly develop on any food material that has high moisture content, including cereal and cereal products. As a result, they are a nuisance and high levels can render some foods unfit for consumption. They are also called booklice because paste of wallpaper and book bindings can support mold growth. Besides feeding on the mold, the paper of books may be attacked directly by these pests. In these cases, the actual damage is insignificant.

Control. The simplest and easiest means of control is to eliminate moist environmental conditions. Infested food material should be eliminated and susceptible foods should be kept dry. The use a dehumidifier or fan or increasing sunlight in a damp room will typically help eliminate conditions favorable to these nuisance pests. Bring the humidity levels down below 50%.

Cork Moth (Nemapogon cloacella)

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Cork moth. Courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/dhobern

Identification and Biology. Nemapogon cloacella is a cosmopolitan species that typically inhabits woodlands with  large numbers of dead trees. It has a wingspan of about 3/4 inches and is very similar in habitat to the European grain moth. While the former prefers a dry habitat such as grain, the latter cannot survive in such conditions but flourishes in wet conditions. The larvae of this moth feed on corks, resulting in leaks in wine casks and bottles. The damage to wine corks may result in losses due to both leakage and deterioration of the wine.

European Grain Moth (Nemapogon granella)

Identification. The adult European grain moth has a wing span of 9 to14 mm. The head is covered in spiky hairs.The forewings are mottled with dark bronze-brown patches. The hindwings are brown or grey and are fringed with long hairs. The hindwing is narrower than the forewing.

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European grain moth. Courtesy of Olaf Leilinger CC BY-SA 2.5

The European grain moth is found in North America, Argentina, Europe, Northern Asia and Australia. It is more common in temperate regions. The moth is found in granaries, mills, warehouses, elevators and wine cellars. It is moderately cold hardy.\ and feeds mostly on cereals that have high moisture content. The moth feeds on rye, wheat, barley, oats, corn, soybeans, rice, nuts, seeds, dried fruit and mushrooms. It is also reported to infest wine corks and does similar damage as does the cork moth.

The European grain moth infests cereal grains that have moisture content higher than 14%. In grain, the larva feeds first on the germ and then on the endosperm. In a bulk grain, the larva infests the top 5 to 6 cm. The larva produces silk webbing that binds the surface of the grain bulk together. Signs of infestation are a disagreeable odor, clumped grain and contamination with silk and frass.

Biology. The adult does not feed on the commodity. The adult can fly and are short-lived with a lifespan is 7 to 21 days. Females deposits anywhere from 30 to 220 eggs. On average, the female lays 100 single eggs The active larva is white and grows to be 7 to 10 mm long. The optimal conditions for development are a temperature of 25°C and relative humidity of 90%. The time required for development is approximately 70 days. In Canada, 2 generations of European grain moth can develop annually. When mature, the larva leaves the food source and searches for a site in which to pupate in a silk cocoon. The mature lavae of the second generation overwinters and pupates in the infested material.

Greater Wax Moth (Galleria mellonia)

Wax moths are thought to originate from Asia, but now inhabit much of the world and under ideal conditions are thought to be found in every honeybee colony worldwide. The adult is 1/2 to 3/4 inches in length with brown forewings and a grayish-brown colored hindwings. The outer edge of the forewings are slightly concave.

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Larvae and adult of the greater wax moth. Adult Courtesy of dhobern CC BY-SA 2.0. Larvae  courtestyForestry Images

Biology. The female wax moth deposits her eggs in the cracks and crevices inside beehives. Once hatched, it burrows through the comb feeding on comb contaminants (bee feces, pollen), eventually destroying or weakening the wax. Fully developed larvae attach themselves to frames and hive body parts to spin cocoons prior to pupation.This activity results in holes and deep burrows in these wooden parts of the hive.They prefer to feed on dark, well used bee comb as it contains more contaminants such as bee larval cast skins, pollen, and feces.

Symptoms of wax moths infestations include active larvae (wax worm), webbed tunnels in combs, cocoons attached to wooden parts of frames and hive body, and destroyed comb. Wax moths generally take over hives that are in a weakened or stressed condition. These are a major problem when comb is stored without the presence of adult bees. 

Heat. All states of this pest are susceptible to temperature of 115°F or higher for 80 minutes or a temperature of 120°F for 40 minutes. Exposing honey combs to temperatures above 120°F may soften, sag and become distorted. The same applies when combs are not exposed in the normal, upright position. Ventilation fans are useful in insuring that circulation is evenly distributed throughout the comb. Combs should be allowed to cool before moving the supers.

Cold. Wax moths are also susceptiblelow  temperatures and the use of this can prevent the sagging problem which sometimes occurs when combs are treated with heat. Combs with honey and pollen can be treated by use of low temperatures without much danger to the combs.

Plaster Bagworm.

This pest is frequently misidentified. While the first record of this species came from the Virgin Islands, its feeding habits in Florida helped to distinguish it from other species of flat case-bearing moths. The "homes" these creatures construct often attract attention when found hanging on walls of houses. However, usually these larval or pupal cases are empty. Adult plaster bagworms are moths similar in appearance and closely related to clothes moths.                                                                                    

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Plaster bagworm larval case. Larval case courtesy Leyo CC BY-SA 3.0 ch. Adult Courtesy of Leyo CC BY-SA 2.0

Identification. Mature bagworm larvae construct a unique gray, seed-shaped case that is approximately 1/2 inch in length. The case is made of silken fiber and covered with sand particles, lint, paint fragments, and a variety of other debris found in the larval environment. This home has a slit-like opening at each end and is large enough to allow the tiny caterpillar to move around and feed from either end. With progressive molts, the larvae enlarge its case. These cases are flattened and widest in the middle, allowing the larva adequate space to turn around inside. The case of a fully developed larva is 1/4 to 1/ 2 inch long and 1/16 to 3/8 inches wide. The larvae have a dark brown head and white body with the exception of darkened, hard plates on the top of the prothorax. It is thought that these plates function to protect the developing larva from their natural enemies. As with most caterpillars, it has 3 pair of thoracic legs and 5 pair of ventral fleshy prologs. When disturbed, bagworm larvae move inside the case, and pull the lower side up to enclose the whole worm.

Biology. Due to the fact that the insects require high humidity, they are not commonly found inside air conditioned buildings. Due to their humidity requirements, they are more commonly found in many parts of Florida and Louisiana, as well as in Mississippi and North Carolina. Due to international movements of commercial products, other species of these case-bearing moths could reach southern states in the future (they occur in California).

Plaster bagworms are readily seen on light-colored walls. Close examination may reveal these larvae attached to the underside of chairs, bookcases, and other furniture. They frequently inhabit the perimeter of rugs, close to baseboards, on the lower edges of walls, in garages and underneath buildings. The larvae predominately feed on spider webs; however, they will also feed on fabrics made of certain natural fibers, such as silk and wool. Insect webbing, such as that associated with booklice, stored product moths and soil inhabiting webspinners are also suitable food. Even though parts of dried insects are occasionally attached to its case, dried insect parts are not thought to be part of their diet.

Pesticide applications in cracks and crevices should decrease the chances of finding these critters in homes. Manual picking or vacuuming of cases and spider web removal should be enough to keep this species under control. Outside, there is no need for control measures, as these insects perform as valuable scavengers. A braconid wasp (Apanteles carpatus) has been found to parasitize the larvae of case-bearing moths, killing the larva before pupation. It is of importance that the plaster bagworm does not normally occur in Southern California. There is a smaller species that is commonly found in this area and produces a similar case. It is a case bearing moth that belongs to the same family of the clothing and webbing clothing moth (Tineidae). The main difference is that this species is totally harmless feeding on dust, lint, and other similar materials. Little is known about its biology.

Silverfish (Lepisma saccharin)

This pest is so named due to its silvery light grey and blue color and fish-like appearance of its movements. The species name (saccharina) refers to the silverfish's preferred diet of carbohydrates. As with many stored product pests, they are cosmopolitan in distribution. They commonly inhabit moist area, preferring RH between 75% and 95%. Common household locations are in bathrooms, basements, closets, garages, beds, pillows and attics

Identification. Adult silverfish are elongated, flattened insects with a tapering abdomen. They have elongated filiform antennae and chewing mouthparts. Early instars are white, but attain their grayish-metallic shine with maturity. They have 3 elongated anal cerci on the tips of their abdomens.

Life Cycle.The female of this pest deposit around 100 small oval shaped eggs in groups of less than 50 in cracks and crevices. Incubation requires between 2 weeks and 2 months, depending on temperature. Upon hatching, the first instar nymphs are whitish in color and look like smaller adults. The entire life cycle may be completed in 3 months to 3 years, again depending on prevailing temperatures. They exhibit what is referred to an indeterminate number of molts and may go through 17 to 66 molts in their lifetime 

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Immature silverfish. Courtesy of sobre GNU Free Documentation License 1.2

DamageThese pests feed on a variety of matter containing polysaccharides, such as dextrin and starches in adhesive including book bindings, glue, book, photos, paper, plaster, some paints, and their own exoskeletons. When preferred food is not available, they have been known to feed on leather, synthetic fabrics, and can survive for a year or more without eating.

Firebrat (Thermobia domestica)

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Firebrat. Courtesy of Klemens Bottig Public Domain

This pest is only slightly larger than its close relative, the silverfish. It is also silvery in color but bear transverse gray to brown on the entire body, thus giving it a mottled appearance. This coloration is due to scale-like structures.

Life Cycle. As with the silverfish, this species is cosmopolitan in distribution. As their name implies, they prefer high temperatures and high humidity, namely around heating units, ovens, attics, fireplaces, and hot water pipes. As might be expected, they can be serious problems in bakeries. Optimum temperature ranges from 98 to 102ºF, which is unusual for most insects. Adults can survive in temperature up to 112ºF, and eggs fail to hatch when exposed to 70ºF or lower..

At temperatures of 90 to 106 °F (32 to 41°C), the female may oviposit in crevices when she is 45 to 135 days old. Females produce an average of about 50 eggs in a lifetime. Like the silverfish, the firebrat continues to molt during its adult life. Only 1 clutch of eggs is produced between molts, and fertilization must take place before each clutch of eggs is deposited. Optimum conditions for development of eggs are 99°F and 76 to 85% relative humidity. Under these conditions, eggs hatch in 14 to 18 days. Under optimum conditions, development from the first to 10th instar requires approximately 56 days.

The courtship of firebrats has been described as a "love dance" . The male constantly approach female and repeatedly contacts her antennae, mouthparts and legs. As the male whirls about, he curves his abdomen and deposits a sperm bundle about 1/2 inch in front of the female. He then contacts her head and legs and comes to rest, apparently losing all interest in her. After his final contact, the female moves forward, straddles the sperm bundle, and secures it to her reproductive structures. Lepisma saccharina and Thermobia domestica are seldom seen outdoors in temperate regions, but have been occasionally found under bark, in bird, mammal, and insect nests..

Four-lined Silverfish (Ctenolepisma lineata) = quadriseriata

This species occurs in the Eastern U.S., as well as California. The fourlined silverfish is not as limited in distribution to indoor situations by temperature and moisture conditions as are silverfish and firebrats. It can be found throughout houses and in basements, wall voids, and attis. There it is often seen in large numbers, especially in homes with shingle covered roofs. It can also be found outdoors in situation such as flower beds, leaf litter and garages.

The four-lined silverfish is about 15 mm long, tannish gray and has 4 dark lines extending down the length of its back. The young are light brown and are often tinged with pink until the fourth molt. The subspecies Ctenolepisma lineata pilifera frequently enters homes in rural areas of northern California.

Control. Potential Food Items of Stored Product Pests

Stored product pests vary widely in their food preferences. A partial list of items susceptible to infestation includes bean bags, dry soups, cork, corn, biscuit mix, pasta, dried herbs, spices, beans, popcorn, peas, rodent baits, bird seed, other seeds, shelled and unshelled peanuts, dog bone and related treats, vegetables, nuts, animal products made into treats, dry pet food, pasta, dried flower arrangements, dried fish and fishmeal, cigars, drugs, decorative wall and table arrangements containing plant or animal material, dried fruit peels, jewelry or holiday decorations containing nuts or seeds (especially corn kernels), stashes of food stockpiled by birds and rodents in wall voids and other places. 

Moth Common Stored Product Pests.

Indian Meal Moth. This is the most common stored product pest in homes, restaurants and other food establishments where it infests breakfast cereals, bird seed, and other consumables. Indian meal moths are most commonly found in kitchen cupboards, but the active adults may be found throughout the home and other structures as they readily fly from items they are infesting.

Sawtoothed Grain Beetle. These are almost as prevalent as the Indian meal moth, and infest many of the same foods (especially nuts, breakfast cereals, bird seed, chocolate, and dried fruits). Their relatively small size allows easy access to cracks and crevices, especially creases in packaged food. Adult beetles are most commonly found in the kitchen. They are not strong fliers but adults are quite active and long lived (6 to 8 months or more). They frequently hide around the folds of packaged foods and enter once opened.

Red Flour Beetle. These insects are major pests of food warehouses and grain processing facilities but also frequently occur in home cupboards and grocery stores. They do not attack sound, intact kernels of grain. In order to feed on grain, it must be damaged or milled (i.e., flour). Females beetle are capable of depositing up to 1,000 eggs during their lifespan and are long lived (several years under ideal conditions). Adults are very active fliers and are attracted to light. Both adult beetles and larvae readily feed.

Rice Beetles. The larvae develop in whole seeds (e.g. beans, cereals, wheat, nuts, bird seed, corn kernels, rye, barley dried peas or rice). Female of this species deposit eggs in whole kernel grains by first gnawing a small hole in the grain, depositing an egg and subsequently sealing the hole with a gelatinous plug. Once hatched, the larvae develop and consume the content of the kernel. All larval stages are spent inside the kernel including the pupae. Adults emerge several days later, leaving a small, round hole. Like drugstore beetles, rice weevils can be found both in food (kitchen) and non-food areas of homes because of their mobility (adults readily fly) and the variety of items they are capable of infesting. Adults are long-lived (three to six months) and feed on a wider variety of items than larvae. They sometimes "play dead" when disturbed.

Cowpea Weevils. These beetles deposit their eggs on seeds (chiefly legumes) such as black eyed peas, lima bean, soy beans, mung bean, garden peas, chickpea, pigeon pea, cowpeas, soybeans, peas, and lentils. Once hatched and the larvae burrow into the seed and consume it from the inside. All instars remain inside the host and remain concealed and protected. Pupation occurs inside the seed. After emergence, the adult beetle chews its way out leaving a characteristic round hole in the shell. Adults are short-lived, strong fliers, do not feed and are very active.

Warehouse Beetle. Larvae of this species readily penetrate boxes, wrapping, and other common packaging materials. Heavy infestations are frequently characterized by an abundance of living larvae, cast skins, and adults. Exposure to these types of materials can result in allergenic reactions. In the absence of available food, Trogoderma larvae may enter lengthy reproductive diapauses. In this case, the insects are completely inactive, do not reproduce and do not feed. Once coming out of this condition, they can resume feeding and activity. This diapause combined with the ability to chew through most type of packaging can make control of these beetles very difficult.

Drugstore Beetle. In homes and other locations, these beetles commonly infest spices, dried herbs and as well many other commodities including rodent bait, books, dried flowers and plant material, dog bones, rodent baits, taxidermy mounts and considerably more. As with a number of stored product pests, these beetles can chew through many types of food packaging such as paperboard boxes, aluminum foil and bags. Adults are active, readily fly and are attracted to lights. Due to these behaviors, these beetles can be found in areas away from the source of the infestation and often near windows and lights. As a result, considerable searching may be required to find the source of an infestation.

Prevention of Infestations. The first step in any control of stored product pest is prevention. If possible, purchase dried food in packages that can be used up in a short time. Although buying such products in bulk may be economical, if these remain around for long periods of time, there is an increased chance of eventual infestation. Ideally such products should be used up in 2 to 4 months. Obviously older packages should be used before newer packages of the same material. Open packages of the same material should be used before closed package

When purchasing packaged foods with clear plastic or wax paper coverings, they should be checked for the presence of insects, as these materials on occasion are infested prior to introduction into homes or other structures. Susceptible food materials should be stored in insect-proof containers, such as heavy plastic, metal containers, or screw-top glass. Generally speaking, the lids of metal kitchen canisters are not tight enough to exclude insects from gaining access to their contents. On the other hand, some plastic containers with tight fitting lids may prevent entrance of most of the stored product pests.

In almost all cases, paper, tinfoil, cardboard, or plastic wrapping will not prevent stored product pest infestations. Storage of susceptible dried foods in a home freezer will prevent pests from developing, but in many cases, this will not kill some of these pests. Sanitation is the first step in preventing infestation of these pests. Food storage areas should be kept clean, and it is essential to not allow crumbs or food particles to accumulate. Sanitation is also important in locations where pet food and birdseed are stored.

Packaging. Insect free products are occasionally infested prior to reaching the consumer. One of primary functions of packaging is to keep stored products free of pests prior to and after reaching market. As previously discussed, these types of materials vary considerably as to their vulnerability to insect penetration and subsequent infestation.

In most cases, these pests deposit their eggs on the outside of packaging. After hatching, they penetrate the packaging. Various species of stored product moth larvae crawl until reaching an opening. Locations near closures are the weak spots, with folds and seams possibly providing a first biting point for these larvae. In one report, 75 % of initial infestation occurred in folds in the corners, overwraps, corners of a carton, or a pinhole. Obviously metal cans and sealed glass jars with tight fitting lids typically totally exclude insects. Of course there is always the possibility that material could be infested prior to packaging.

Newly hatched larvae of the confused flour beetles, Indian meal moth and saw-toothed grain beetle can invade crevices of under 0.1 mm in width. Factor that increase the protective nature of packaging include thickness walls, smooth edges, and minimum or lack of folds and seams. The most efficient insect species that are capable of penetrating packaging materials are the larval stages of the cadelle beetle and adults of the lesser grain beetle, cadelle beetle, and rice weevil. The most common insects that occur in ready mixed packages of biscuit flour are confused flour beetles, saw-toothed grain beetles, and Indian meal moths. Odor is the most common factor that draws these pests to package foods.

As indicated, there is a considerable range in packaging materials,  as far as resistance to insect penetration: some of these materials and there considered resistance are as follows: Polycarbonate and Polyethelens terphthalate (PET)=All excellent; Cellulose acetate, Polyamide, Polyethylene (0.254mm) = PE 10 ml, Polypropylene (biaxlly oriented) PP, Polyvinyl chloride(unplasticized) = PVC, = All good: Acrylonitrile, Poly(tetraflouroetylene) = Teflon, Polyethelene 90.123 mm) PE 5 ml =All fair: Regenerated cellulose,  Corrugated paperboard, Ethylene,  vinyl acetate copolymer, Lonomer, Kraft paper, Paper, foil, polyethylene laminate pouch, Polyetnelene (0.25-0100mm =PE 1-4 mil: Polychloride (plasticized), Vinyl chloride (plasticized)-All Poor.

Control of Home Infestations. Of course the first step is to try to determine the sources of infestation. It is important to make sure all susceptible materials are checked for signs  of infestation, keeping in mind that most of these insect have a wide host range. Once found, all heavily infested materials should be properly eliminated. If some material is questionable as to an infestation (e.g. egg, tiny larvae that may not be readily visible), it can be heated in shallow pans in the oven at 130º F for at least 30 minutes or kept in a deepfreeze at 0 º F for 4 days or microwaved. Cabinets and shelves should be vacuumed and subsequently washed with soap and hot water. Application of insecticides in cabinets and pantries typically will result in minimal control in the absence of an extensive cleaning program.

There are some formulations of pyrethrin and pyrethroid insecticides that are labeled for use as crack and crevice treatments in homes, near food storage areas and other areas. None of these should come in direct contact with food or food utensils. If registered for use in food storage areas, all food should be removed prior to use. Normally, treatment of cracks and crevices is most productive for control of these pests, since these are common locations where they hide. Prior to using any pesticide, the label should always be read and followed. Only products that are specifically labeled for use in food storage areas can be used in these areas. Once applied, shelves should be covered with paper or foil prior to replacing food and cooking utensils.

Detection of Pests/Pheromone Traps. Various species specific pheromone chemicals have been identified for a significant number of these stored product insects. Once the chemical structure of these pheromones has been identified, they can be synthesized; these are commercially available along with a variety of traps. These chemicals used  in combination with traps an have been very effective for monitoring the presence of small numbers of these pests.

Advantages. These traps provide 24 hour a day monitoring. In addition, they can be used to help in pinpoint the location of an infestation. As a result, early detection of an infestation can reduce the amount of pesticide used for control by targeting the specific area to be treated and indicating when applications are necessary. These devices are easily moved around in a warehouse and are nontoxic. They do not involve additional product inspection (unless an infestation is indicated) and are not labor intensive.xxx

Disadvantages. Some traps will collect insects other than the target species; this can be advantageous in some circumstances and collected specimens can be difficult to remove intact from some traps for identification. Some trap designs do not work well in dusty areas and floor-placed traps may frequently be lost or damaged.

Trap pheromone lures have been developed for several stored-product insects. Currently, the lures developed for species with short-lived adults have proven to be more effective. However, good results have also been attained with the lure for lesser grain borer (Rhyzopertha dominica). At a minimum, traps utilizing lures for Trogoderma spp., cigarette beetle (Lasioderma serricorne) and flour beetles (Tribolium spp.) should be used in subsistence areas. Indian meal moth (Plodia interpunctella) traps, in addition to the beetle traps, should be considered for use in commissary storage areas.

Food attractant lures for stored product insects (predominantly oil lures consisting of oat oil, wheat germ oil extracts and mineral oil) are used for species having long-lived adults and for some larvae. These lures may be used with or without pheromones. In general, these lures have a smaller effective range than pheromone lures. They have been reported effective for sawtoothed grain beetle (Oryzaephilus surinamensis). They can be used to enhance the effectiveness of pheromone traps for the flour beetles and to attract Khapra beetle/warehouse beetle (Trogoderma spp.) and Attagenus, and Anthrenus larvae. Oil baits should not be used beyond their indicated shelf life. The oil lures oxidize and solidify over time. Collected specimens may have to be freed from the oil before they can be identified. Researchers have used sesame oil in Khapra beetle traps as a substitute for the standard oil lure. Sesame oil can be quickly dissolved with a 5% detergent solution. This method removes most of the oil from the collected specimens.

Lures for different species can be combined into a single trap. Cigarette beetle, warehouse beetle, lesser grain borer and Tribolium lures can be combined, as these insects are active on the floor or at relatively low levels in the warehouse. Lures for species that are active fliers can also be combined in a single trap (e.g., wing or hanging delta trap). Some traps are designed to hold as many as 4 different pheromones, plus a food oil attractant. However, some researchers suggest a maximum of 3 pheromone lures, plus the oil. At this time, there have not been reports of inhibition effects by combining lures in a single trap. However, Tribolium lure should not be combined with an Indian meal moth lure due to the marked difference in flight activity of these insects.

Facilities that monitor specifically for Khapra beetle can place Trogoderma lures in suspended traps, wall-mounted or floor traps. The suspended traps will attract non-Khapra Trogoderma. Because Khapra beetles do not fly, these specimens would not require Khapra beetle verification. This will reduce the number of beetles requiring verification. Khapra beetle is a quarantine insect, and if suspected must have its identification confirmed by an expert in Khapra beetle taxonomy.

Trap Placement. There are a variety of trap designs. The adhesive surface of some traps is exposed and can quickly become coated with dust and dirt. For dusty areas, the pitfall, funnel or other covered trap design would be more appropriate.

The initial trap density will vary according to the species of insect and the pheromone used. For Indian meal moths, the trap density should be about 1 trap per 25,000 cu ft. Beetle traps should be arranged in a grid pattern at intervals of 25 to 50 feet. Infestations can be pinpointed by increasing the trap density around areas suspected of containing infested stores. Traps may be placed outside structures and away from buildings to determine if an infestation(s) is originating from an external source. To reduce the chance of attracting insects from outside the facility, traps should not be placed within 30 feet of exterior doors or open windows. Traps should be placed to minimize damage from normal facility operations.

Most beetle traps are designed to lie flat. However, depending upon design, some traps can be mounted on vertical structures/walls, pallet rack systems or pillars. Wing type and most funnel traps need to be suspended, which can limit their placement. Nevertheless, they should be placed as close to dry pet food and breakfast cereal areas as possible, as these products are prone to infestation by Indian meal moth. The traps can be hung from small pulleys over or near pallets, allowing them to be out of the way but still accessible. The trap height for Indian meal moth can range from 6- to 30 ft. If highly vulnerable products are consolidated into a few areas, trap placement can be concentrated in those areas.

Trap Monitoring. In temperate climates, traps should be utilized from at least April 1 through October 31. In warm climates or where heated warehouses are utilized, year-round monitoring is recommended. Pest management personnel should maintain an accurate map or listing of trap locations. Traps should be checked on a weekly basis, and a log or record sheet of catches should be maintained. Trap and/or lure replacement and other actions should be documented for maintenance purposes or precision targeting. A warehouse which contains vulnerable commodities should be monitored for the following arthropod pests (at the end of this paragraph.) If possible combine all vulnerable commodities in a single area of the facility. Deploy an appropriate number of wing or diamond traps located approximately 6 to 10 feet from the floor. Traps must be mapped. Each wing or diamond trap mounted at 6 to 10 feet may contain lures for the following pests: Indian Meal Moth, Tobacco Moth, Raisin Moth, Cigarette Beetle, Drugstore Beetle, Lesser Grain Borer and Warehouse Beetle.

Each surface mounted beetle trap (FliteTrack) may contain lures for the following pests: flour beetles, sawtoothed-grain beetles, warehouse beetles, drugstore beetles, and cigarette beetles

For those traps that contain insects,                                                                                                                                                                                           - record the number of each species/type collected. To prevent specimens from being recounted on sticky traps, they should be removed or marked or the trap should be replaced.

If justified, trap density should be increased in the area where activity is evident. This will help pinpoint the location of the infestation. These additional traps should be checked daily. Appropriate pest management procedures should be implemented when a stored-product infestation is located. After the insect source is eliminated, monitor the facility at the former trap density. Traps will collect non-target insects that wander into them. It is advisable to have a verified, representative reference specimen collection available to aid in identifications or in separating target from non-target insects. The presence of large numbers of a non-stored-product insect (e.g., Phoridae, Psychodidae, Drosophilidae) in traps indicates other potential pest management problems in the warehouse (e.g., leaking product, dirty drains, etc.) that need to be located and eliminated.

Trap Maintenance. Replace damaged and dirty traps as necessary. Lures from such traps should be reused if possible. Moth lures may be used up to 6 months and beetle lures 1 to 3.5 months, depending on the specific lure. Damaged or unusable lures must be destroyed and not left on or near the premises because these lures can attract insects. Lures should be handled with tweezers (forceps) or rubber gloves to avoid contamination. Staples or other fastening methods that damage the surface of a lure can reduce its longevity and/or effectiveness. Unused lures should be stored in a refrigerator or freezer to reduce oxidation and to maintain their shelf life of approximately 2 plus years. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions that accompanied the lures for specific product information.  

Traps require regular monitoring and good maintenance of the bait or attractant. If neglected, traps may become the foci for infestations. The more rapid monitoring techniques used in precision targeting may eliminate the need for trap maintenance.

Interpretation of Trap Catch for Target Species

The catch over time for the trap at each location is evaluated instead of the total catch for all traps in a warehouse. The trends and patterns for the collections in each trap are important.  If 1 to 2 specimens are infrequently collected in a week at scattered locations, the catch is probably incidental. The specimens probably wandered in or came in on pallets or packaging. A few (2 to 5) specimens collected on a regular basis in the same location, probably represent a small infestation. The trap density in the area of the suspected infestation should be increased and product inspection considered. An exception to this is that trapping efficiency for dermestid larvae is not as high as with a sex attractant. A catch of more than 1 larva in a week requires greater scrutiny of an area and a catch of greater than 2 should be considered a probable infestation. Several (6 to 9) specimens collected weekly indicate that a small to moderate infestation may be present. Trap density and monitoring frequency should be increased to identify the extent of the infestation. Product inspection should be initiated.

Numerous (10+) specimens collected in a trap indicates that an active infestation is present and that immediate action should be taken to isolate and control the stored product pest. Product inspection is necessary. Additional traps should be placed in the area to aid in determining the extent of the infestation. 

The above numbers are to be used as guidelines. There are no "magic" or standardized numbers to correlate trap catches to actual infestation levels. Each storage facility must be evaluated individually. Generally, any deviation from a normal trend or baseline indicates a point where additional integrated pest management actions are necessary. Additionally, if Khapra beetle is collected and verified from a CONUS facility, USDA eradication procedures must be followed. Trap catches also can be used to determine the seasonality and migration of the target species at a storage facility. This information can be used in refining the pest management programs for the facility.

Stored Product Pest Control in Grocery and Retail Stores. Grocery stores, supermarkets, and specialty retail stores create unique problems as far as stored product pest control. These are due to the sheer volume of merchandise and tremendous variety of foods shipped in from all over the world. Food often spills behind and under large shelves and gondolas leaving hard to reach reservoirs of food for insect breeding sites. The void created by large back to back shelves or gondolas are especially difficult to reach for cleanup. Tunnels in floors for refrigeration lines create additional voids where food can accumulate. Storage areas in supermarkets are limited and sanitation is often poor. Space treatment does no typically penetrate packages nor reach inaccessible areas where insects are breeding. Such treatment is of limited value without proper cleaning. If space treatments are used, food such fruits and vegetables must be properly covered.

Stored Product Pest Control in Warehouses. As with most type of modern pest control, an integrated approach will give best control in this type structure. Key items to consider in warehouse management are exterior entrance management, inspection of incoming products, proper rotation of stored products including the FIFO principle (first in, first out), floor level sanitation, pallet management, and interior and exterior light management.

Pests may enter storage or food processing facilities in 2 ways, namely penetration through ineffective pest-proofing of walls, doors, windows and roofs, and entry with commodities, ingredients or other raw materials and/or supplies. Widows should be screened and doors to the outside should be tight fitting. Air doors can be used on loading dock to prevent insect entrance. All incoming products should be closely screened for signs of infestation. Cracks, crevices and other places should be filled where pests may hide.

Warehouses have several areas of activity where pests must be controlled. The building exterior and the area around the plant should be kept as clean as possible. Outside the building all exposed dirt surfaces, parking lots and road should be paved and lawns. This will reduce contamination from dirt, microbes and other airborne particles. Good drainage should be established to help keep these areas cleans and dry. Many stored product insect evolved in natural setting and therefore are commonly found outdoors. Of course the same can be said or rodents. Rodent-proofing and bird-proof loading docks, doors, walls, windows and roofs should be present.

Outside lighting should be away from buildings and focused toward buildings. This helps keep night-flying insects away from doors and windows. Potential bird roosting areas should be screened. Equipment should be stored so it does not become a place for pests to hide.

As indicated product rotation is of the essence. The longer a product remains in a warehouse, the better the chance it will become infested. Sanitation is of upmost importance. In essence, a warehouse is a third party clearing house (between the food manufacturer and retailer). Regardless, it is their responsibility to minimize the chance that stored products do not become infested while on their premises.

Chemical Controls. Bait stations should be used for rodents. Bait stations are not only effective means of controlling rodents but maintain grain based in a safe location and virtually eliminate any chances of product contamination. Nonresidual insecticides should be uses for space, spot and crack and crevice treatment.

 

 

 

1. The antenna of the red flour beetle terminates in a distinct 3 segmented club while those of the confused flour beetle ends in a 4 segmented club.

 

2. The red legged ham beetle is also known as copra beetle. To a certain extent they could be considered beneficial as they feed on the meat-infesting larvae of Calliphora or blow flies, skin beetles and cheese skippers.

3. Female grain mites can lay up to 800 eggs with ensuing offspring capable of completing development in as little as 9 to 11 days.

4.. Silverfish exhibit an indeterminate number of molts and may go through 17 to 66 molts in their lifetime-sometimes 30 in a single year.

5. Microwaving small amounts of infested products can also be effective on store product pests.

6. Generally speaking pheromone trap lures developed for species with short-lived adults have proven to be more effective than for those with a long life cycle. 

7. Pheromone trap lures for different species can be combined into a single trap. Cigarette beetle, warehouse beetle, lesser grain borer and Tribolium lures can be combined.. 

8 Several (6 to 9) specimens collected weekly in insect pheromone traps indicate that a small to moderate infestation may be present.

 

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 Part 2: Fabric Pests

Dermestid Beetles

Varied Carpet Beetle (Anthrenus verbasi)

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/69/Anthrenus_verbasci_2_%28aka%29.jpg/250px-Anthrenus_verbasci_2_%28aka%29.jpg File:Anthrenus verbasci - larva side (aka).jpg 
Left image: Adult and (right image) larva of varied carpet Beetle. Images courtesy of Andre Karwarth. Right Jim Kalisch. University Nebraska

This species has an atypical life cycle for a small beetle, with a long life cycle developing from larvae to adult in 1 to 3 years, depending on the environmental conditions (chiefly temperature). Larval hatching occurs chiefly in the early summer or spring , often in bird nests (including those of the house swift  and house sparrow) or around stored fabrics.

Larvae feed on chitin and keratin of natural fibers (feathers, animal hairs and dead insects)) throughout their development. They are capable of entering a dormancy period (diapause) prior the adult stage. As with many insects that diapause, the length of the dormancy is likely to be dependent on day length or photoperiod.

Adult emergence typically occurs between late spring to late summer. These adult are short lived ( about two week) mating subsequent egg deposition occurring eggs either close to the human environments or in tree hollows, bird nests, and similar dry locations where larvae can find their food.

In homes or other structures, these beetles usually deposit their eggs in closets, air ducts, under furniture, or baseboards. The larvae frequently occur in dark, undisturbed areas and feed on a variety of material. And as a consequence damage various items such as clothing, furniture, clothing, furs, blankets, woolen rugs and carpets. Fur and feathered specimens including insect collections are readily attacked making this species a common museums pest.

Infestations of this beetle can be avoided by dry cleaning, regular vacuuming, or airing clothing outside and removing abandoned bird and insect nests attached to the building. Use of moth balls in non-airtight situations is of little use. Signs of an infestation include the presence of damaged articles, caste skin, and dead or living adult beetles near windows.

Black Carpet Beetle (Attagenus unicolor)

This is the most common and most destructive of the 5 species of carpet beetles in the U.S. This black beetle is found throughout North America. It is believed that this pest may have been imported to the United States in the early 19th century from Europe, where it is not considered a major pest. Humidity or the lack of is important in the development of this beetle. In the south, high humidity often results in its eggs becoming  moldy, while in the north, lower humidity is typically favorable for a successful egg hatch.

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Image: Adult black carpet beetle and larva. Courtesy of Clemson University/USDA

Adults are dark brown or black, oval shaped and 1/8 to 3/16 inch in length. They can live 9 months to 3 years, depending on food availability and other environmental factors. The larvae are elongate, carrot-shaped, golden to chocolate brown and have a tuft of very long, curled, golden-brown hair at the end of the abdomen. This species pupates in its last larval skin. The pupal stage lasts 6 to 24 days.

This species exhibits complete metamorphosis with egg, larva, pupa, and adult stages. This entire cycle can be completed in 2 months to 2 years depending on temperature. Females deposit approximately 50 white eggs which hatch in 6 to 10 days. Eggs are deposited in cracks, lint, and similar locations but typically near a larval food source. The 5 to 11 instars may require 3 months to nearly 2 years to reach maturity and ultimately reach ½ inch in length. Their hairy caste skins (molted exoskeletons) are often seen on infested material and can readily be mistaken for living larvae. The pupation lasts 6 to 24 days.

This species is considered a general feeder with damage primarily occurring on stored or seldom used fabrics. They characteristically eat large, irregular holes through fabric or other food material. They readily feed on the surface of woolen products and cut hairs at the base of furs. This feeding produces bare spots on the hide. On fabrics, they typically leave the basal threads intact.

This beetle may also be a pest of stored products feeding on grain, nuts and cereals. Infestations of these beetles result in most fabrics becoming useless or at least aesthetically unappealing. In addition, exposure to infestations of these pests may result in allergic reactions to their cast skins, beetle fragments, or dust. These beetles will attack any products containing keratin, a principal protein found in animal hair and feathers. Synthetic fabrics not derived from animal matter may also be attacked. Insect collections are readily attacked by these beetles.

Careful inspection is the initial and possibly most important step in preventing and controlling infestations of this beetle. It is essential to examine all susceptible fabrics from rugs to mounted animal specimens for presence of the various stages of these beetles, damage and cast skins. Keeping in mind that these beetles attack a variety of grains and similar products, these should also be examined. Since adult beetles are primarily pollen feeders, any cut flowers should also be examined for their presence. With ongoing infestations, it might be worthwhile to install screens around windows and make sure outside doors are tightly fitted to avoid adults from entering structures. These beetles are readily attracted to birds and rodent nests. In cold conditions (winter), these beetles readily move indoors. Location and removal of such nests before winter can also minimize infestations.

Vacuuming can be useful in removing various types of debris (animal hair and lint) that serves as a food source for these beetles. Any infested articles should be eliminated. In the case of valuable items, they can be treated by any of several options. Furs can be placed in cold storage at temperatures around 40°C. Also, some items may be frozen for a week in an effort to kill all beetle larvae.

In the case of a heavy infestation, insecticide treatment may be needed. Prior to using insecticides, the area should be thoroughly vacuumed. Dust formulation consisting of diatomaceous earth or silica can be applied to crevices and cracks and edges of carpeting baseboards in infested rooms. Residuals emulsifiable concentrates are used for treatment of rugs and carpets. In extreme cases, fumigation with sulfuryl fluoride gas (Vikane) has been used. This is generally expensive and very effective but does not provide any residual control. Paradichlorobenzene (moth balls) and napthalene offer little if any protection and in some states are not available.

Common Carpet Beetle (Anthems scropularis)

Adult common carpet beetles are oval to round and approximately 1/10 inch in length. Their black head is mostly hidden by the prothorax. The thorax and elytra are black and covered with white scales, except for a large midline. The combined elytra bear orange to red scales along the dorsal midline and patches of white scales. Some of the scales may be lost in older beetles, resulting in changes in coloration. 

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Left image: Common carpet beetle larvae and (right image) an adult. Courtesy of Joseph Berger, Bugwood.

The females deposit around 50 eggs that hatch 10 to 20 days. The larvae pass through 6 instars, requiring approximating 70 days to mature. Of course this depends on prevailing temperatures. In the last instar, the larva is reddish brown, covered with a vast array of stout elongated dark hairs, and is 1/10 to 2/5 inches in length. Pupation takes place in the last larval skin and near the larval feeding location. Adults of this species and other carpet beetle species live outdoors and feed on pollen and nectar. Reportedly, pollen and nectar encourage mating and oviposition. Outdoor infestation commonly include bee hives, bird and rodent nests, or on dead animals. Indoors the females deposit their eggs on carpets, textiles, insect and other animal specimens, clothing, or other animal/plant origin material.

At room temperature, larval development is about 66 days. Pupation is completed in 1 to 2 weeks. As mentioned, adults feed on pollen and nectar and most commonly from white or cream colored blossoms. These includes wild asters, buckwheat, Spiraea spp, daisies and Ceanothis spp.

Larval damage includes irregular holes in carpets, textiles, and museum specimens. In the case of dried insects, their feeding often leaves a fine dust in, around or below the specimen. Exposure to the larval hairs and cast exoskeleton of this species can result in dermatitis.

Ornate Carpet Beetle. Trogoderma ornatum

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Ornate carpet beetle. Courtesy of grain Canada

The adult is dark brown with light brown patterns on the elytra. It is oval and 1.9 to 3.6 mm in length. It has clubbed antennae with the third segment the same length as the second and fourth segments. The male antennae are also serrated. The larva is oval shaped and covered in dense hairs. It is light yellow when young and reddish brown when mature. There are tufts of short dense hairs located on the last abdominal segments. The ornate carpet beetle looks very similar to other Trogoderma species.

This beetle is found in North America and infests beans, barley, cottonseed pellets, broom corn, beet seed, fish meal, canary grass seed and oats. It is also found to be a pest of museums where it infests stuffed mammals, birds, insect and botanical collections.

The ornate carpet beetle is considered a minor pest of stored grain. It is a generalist feeder and does not create any distinctive damage. The larva damages stored grain by feeding on the kernel. A sign of infestation is contamination of product with cast larval skins. The adult can fly and feeds on nectar and pollen. The adults mate immediately after pupation. The female is larger than the male. She lays her eggs in the food source. The larva molts many times during development and under adverse conditions, will molt even more. It can diapauses, if the environment is unsuitable for development. The larva pupates in the last larval skin.

Odd Beetle (Thylodrias contractus)

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Male and Female (right image) odd beetle. Courtesy of Library Illinois Education

Oddly enough, the male and female looks nothing alike. The female is larviform and characteristically different from the larvae. The larvae of these beetles are similar in appearance to other carpet beetle larvae,  but lack long hairs at the tip of the abdomen and the short hairs on the top of the body. In addition, when disturbed, it typically curls up into a C shape. The female does not fly and as a result, any new infestation is typically introduced; however, this cosmopolitan species is currently found throughout cultural institutions, including museums and other similar situations.

The life cycle of the odd beetle lasts for approximately 1 year or slightly longer. The eggs are elliptical and a translucent white in color.  The larvae are extremely long lived (242 to 388 days) and exhibit a short pupae stage (7 to 14 days). The life expectancy of the adult itself is varied with some living as short as 9 days and others surviving much longer..

Larvae of these beetles feed mainly on dried animal matter. It follows that natural history collections are particularly vulnerable to attack of this species. They attack fur, feathers, skins, natural fiber fabrics (wool and silk), and insect collections. Infestations have been observed in collections of bird nests and have even been observed burrowing into bone, where they are thought to feed on marrow or dried tissue.
 

Webbing Clothes Moth (Tineola bisselliella

This species is also known as the common clothes moth or simply clothing moth and belongs to the family Tineidae.

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LefLarval and (right image) adult clothes moth. Courtesy of Olaf Lielinger (left) and Guido Gerding (right)

This species is the most common moth attacking fabrics. All body parts are golden in coloration including patches of golden hairs on top of the head and golden front wing fringed with stout hairs. These relatively small moths are weak flyers and do not readily fly to lights. As a result, they are typically found close to materials which they infest, such as in dark areas of closets or cedar chests. It is important to not confuse these moths with food and grain infesting species (such as the Indian meal moth) that are frequently seen flying around in homes. These tiny moths are only 1/4 inch in length, and food infesting species are almost twice as long. Since clothes moths are relatively weak fliers, they are easy to catch and a simple examination with some magnification will reveal the characteristic golden colored tuff of stout hair on top of their head. Behaviorally, they can be distinguished by the flight. Clothes moths tend to flutter rather than flying in a more or less straight line, as seen with food infesting moths.

These moths are more commonly found in humid conditions, and with low humidity their development slows down. The eggs are tiny and rarely seen. The female is capable of depositing several hundred eggs in locations which will provide suitable food for larval development. Larvae develope in as little as than 2 months, but under unfavorable conditions (little food, dry), this period can be greatly extended. Pupation requires 1 and 2 months.

This species feeds on clothing and natural fibers with keratin (a protein substance in hair and other similar materials) which is the main nutritional component of hair. These moths commonly oviposit on spoiled fabrics such as carpeting and clothing containing sweat or other liquids. In these cases, the moisture content is the attractant, not any addition nutritional component. In most cases, a water source would not be available to developing larvae and consequently their food must contain moisture. The range of recorded foodstuffs includes silk, linen, cotton, furs, hair, shed feathers, biscuits, bran, semolina and wheat four, biscuits, casein, and insect specimens

Adults and larvae of this species are most commonly found in low light intensities while other closely related species are attracted to light. If larvae are exposed to a well-lit room, they will readily attempt to relocate under carpet edges or furniture. Handmade or throw rugs are commonly attacked, as the larvae can readily crawl underneath and damage from below. They also occur under rooms molding in search of low light intensity and food debris.

Control of Carpet Beetles and Clothes Moths

An important method used to combat carpet beetles and clothes moths is preventing them from becoming established in a structure. The best way to prevent an infestation of the common carpet beetle is to protect its food source. Cloths should be regularly washed or dry-cleaned.

One of the principal means of control of these pests is use of a high suction vacuum cleaner. Rooms can be cleaned to prevent the buildup of lint, hair, and other carpet beetle food materials. Close attention should be paid to carpets and rugs, draperies, furniture, closets, radiators and heater, corners, cracks baseboards, molding, and other hard to reach areas. If a known infestation exists, vacuum sweepings should be destroyed and removed from the premise.

Abandoned nests of birds, rodents, and insects (particularly wild bees, wasps and especially honeybees) that are in or near structures should be removed. The larvae of both carpet beetles and moths may feed on insect remains that they may contain. Bedding of pets should be kept clean. Mounted animal specimens or trophies (or even fur-covered toys), insect collections, stored woolens, carpeting, clothing, feathers, furs, old spices, cereals, or seeds should be periodically inspected for signs of infestation. The attic and garage should be included in this inspection. Since the adults of many species are pollen feeder, it is of value prevent introduction on cut flowers and plants.

Dry cleaning kills all stages of these pests but obviously does not provide protection against reinfestation. There are chemicals that can be applied to various materials to protect against attack of these insects. Vulnerable garments or other materials that have been stored for a long time should be periodically shaken and aired. Heavy brushing can crush insect eggs, especially the fragile eggs of carpet beetles. If they cannot find protection from light, many larvae that are not removed by the brushing will fall from any garments hung in the sun. It is unwise to use such treatment for furs, since they are subject to fading, drying, or even theft. Storage of susceptible garments should be done so in a cleaned condition. Carpet beetle cannot survive on cleaned woolen garments. 

Woolens stored in a container, trunk, or closet may be fumigated with mothballs. The container should be tightly sealed. Loose-fitting containers can be lined with heavy paper and sealed. One pound of mothballs is needed to treat 20 cubic feet of storage space. Fumigants can be scattered between the layers of paper that are used to separate the articles to be treated. In a reasonably tight container, a single annual application should be adequate. In closets, apply the fumigant to the floor and shelving, and replenish the supply after it evaporates. Plastic buttons should be removed from clothing prior to treating, and plastic hangers should be avoided. Mothballs are destructive to plastics and may fuse them with the fabrics.xxxxxxxxxxx

Chemical control

As previously mentioned, the best approach to reducing fabric pest attack is prevention. There are a number of locations in homes or other structures that cannot be reached by many preventive techniques, such as crawl spaces, wall voids, attics, air conditioner ducts and others. In such cases, chemical control may be necessary. This can be accomplished by spraying residual insecticides into wall voids, use of dusts for treatment of crevices, cracks, baseboards, and around the edges of carpeting. In very extreme cases, when an entire structure is infested, fumigation is an efficient solution but costly resolution. The edges of rugs can be pulled and treated (both side of the pad) with household sprays or by commercial applicators. Water-base formulations should include wetting agents. Such sprays should not be applied to non-washable wallpaper or other materials to avoid the possibility of staging or running.

Possible Chemical Alternates

Clothing Moth Traps. These consists of adhesive-lined cardboard enclosures baited with artificial pheromones Although by no means an effective control tool, they can be used to monitor the existence or in some cases absence of current infestations.

Cryo Fumigation. This consists of using dry ice (CO2) in an enclosed container. For example an infested object can be enclosing it in a plastic bag for three to five days with dry ice. As a result the pest is effectively bathed in a high concentration of carbon dioxide and denied oxygen resulting in death.

Freezing. Exposure to freezing temperatures for several days will kill all stages of carpet pests.

Heat. Heat is effective in controlling most insects. One of the main battles insects have for survival is loss of water. They have a relatively large surface area in comparison to the amount of water they can store in their bodies. These conditions may possibly be achieved by placing infested materials in an attic in warm weather, or by washing clothes at or above this temperature. A clothes drier is also very effective. The pest control industries also have a number of devices for utilizing heat for control of these pests. Placing goods in hot sunlight will cause the larvae to abandon them.

Nitrogen Anoxia. This is similar to Cryofumigation, but uses dry nitrogen gas to exclude oxygen.

Cedar Chests. Chests made of eastern red cedar are of questionable value as a long-term deterrent. While the volatile is able to kill small larvae, it is difficult to maintain sufficient concentrations. Cedar wood loses all moth-suppressant capabilities after a few years.

Camphor.Although reportedly to have some value for control (a repellent) for these pests and a safer and more natural alternative to mothballs, the use of camphor may require high vapor concentrations to attain the desired effect.

True/False Credit Test.

1. The antenna of the red flour beetle terminates in a distinct three-segmented club while those of the confused flour beetle ends in a four-segmented club.

2. The red legged ham beetle is also known as copra beetle. To a certain extent they could be considered beneficial as they feed on the meat-infesting larvae of Calliphora or blow flies, skin beetles and cheese skippers.

3. Female grain mites can lay up to 800 eggs with ensuing offspring capable of completing development in as little as nine to 11 days.

4. Silverfish exhibit an indeterminate number of molts and may go through 17 to 66 molts in their lifetime-sometimes 30 in a single year.

5. Microwaving small amounts of infested products can also be lethal to store product pests.

6. Generally speaking, pheromone trap lures developed for a stored product species with short-lived adults have proven to be more effective than for those with a long life cycle. 

7. Pheromone trap lures for different species of stored product pests can be combined into a single trap. Cigarette beetle, warehouse beetle, lesser grain borer and Tribolium lures can be combined. 

8. Several (6-9) specimens collected weekly in stored product pests pheromone traps indicate that a small to moderate infestation may be present. 

9. Black carpet beetle larvae are elongate, carrot-shaped, golden to chocolate brown, and have a tuft of very long, curled, golden-brown hair at the tail end of the body.

10. Larvae of the varied carpet beetle experience a dormancy period (also known as diapause) prior to pupation into the adult stage. The length of the dormancy appears to depend on environment factors with the most likely being temperature.

11. The common carpet beetle may also cause dermatitis as a result of  shed larval skins contacting human skin.

12. The webbing clothes moth is the second most common fabric moth. Adults are golden colored with reddish golden hairs on top of the head.

13. While the volatile oil from cedar wood is able to kill small larvae, it is difficult to maintain sufficient concentrations for good control. Cedar wood loses all moth-suppressant capabilities after a few years.

 14. The odd beetle exhibit sexual dimorphism  where the male and female of the species look nothing alike. The adult female is wingless and the species is a pest of museum to name a few situations.

We will change the number of questions when we find the credit value of the course.