Pests can show up in the most unexpected of places – in your bed, in your luggage and unfortunately in your food. What might have appeared to be a perfectly fresh and untouched package might actually be home to insects that infect food products. These insects are aptly named stored product pests and are usually small beetles or moths. For the most part, you will notice the adult form of these insects as they immediately begin their search for more food, typically in the area where the infestation first began.

These insects have a rather rapid life cycle lasting just four to five weeks. During this time, adult females can lay anywhere from 1000 to 1,000 eggs! If the adults themselves do not eat your food, then they serve as breeders who locate food sources for their larva. The name suggests that these pests only consume food products, but actually have a very large appetite including, but not limited, dried flower arrangements, bird seed, dog bones and even jewelry or holiday decorations!

In the Southeast, one particular stored product pest you may spot is an Indianmeal moth. Despite what their name suggests, these moths can be found in bird seed, breakfast cereals and other consumables, typically located in kitchen cupboards. However, because of their great ability of flight, adult Indianmeal moths can be found pretty much anywhere within an infested home. Indianmeal moths are also easy to spot during the larva stage, as they are almost an inch long and create webs of silk in the items they infest.

Indianmeal moth

Indianmeal moth

 

 

 

Indianmeal moth larva

 

 

 

 

 

Another well-known insect is the drugstore beetle which commonly infests dried herbs and spices as well as other dried plant and animal material. These pests can chew through paper packaging and even aluminum foil. You’ll spot these pests as they are active, great flyers that are attracted to light. However, don’t assume that one not moving is one not to worry about. These pests, like another stored product pest known as the weevil, may pretend to be disturbed when threatened.

Drugstore beetle

Drugstore beetle

Preventing these infestations is difficult as many of these pests do not appear until the packaging has been opened. It’s important though to keep food in tightly sealed containers and also use older products first. If the infestation is relatively bad, pest control companies such as Northwest Exterminating can provide traps to bait these pests using pheromones that attract these insects.

Sources:

http://www.caes.uga.edu/publications/pubDetail.cfm?pk_id=7914