Stored Product Insect Pests can either be detected feeding and harbouring in food trapped in the fabric of a premises, or within spillage in dead spaces inside machinery iteslf.

Machinery handling certain parts of the production of foods is more susceptible to insect infestation than others. For example, no infestation will withstand the heat of a bakery oven. Different parts of manufacturing systems may have their own pest problems. Fast-flowing systems such as pneumatic spouting in mills do not usually support insect infestation, as there is no anchorage for harbourage. Food materials resting inside equipment, is generally where infestation will be found.

Beetles, Moths & Mites
Stored Product Insects are any insect which infest stored food, whether in the raw material state or processed. They can be divided into three forms:

  • Beetles
  • Moths
  • Mites

Within these three forms there are many families of stored product insects, or SPI as we call them

Reasons to control SPI

Prevention of Damage. Insects eat large amounts of food in developing from eggs to adults. Infestations in food materials can cause a considerable loss of weight in the product. Larvae with spin silk threads. For example moths can cause blockage in machinery and damage to working parts, as food materials get trapped and form a hard mass. Millions of pounds of food value is lost through insect infestation.

Prevention of Loss. Infested grain can be downgraded to animal feed, hides can be damaged by beetle larvae holes and may be rendered valueless. Grain can germinate from heat and moisture produced during insect growth. Bacteria can also grow. Grain heats up and produces 'hot-spots' of heavily infested grain, which is then unsusable. Tobacco can be ruined by tobacco beetle damage. Insects of certain species, for example mites and flour beetles, produce taint.

Prevention of Contamination. Contaminated foodstuffs are usually returned. Certain countries do not allow importation of foodstuffs containing more than set limits of insect particle contaminants.

Prevention of Loss of Production. Insects blocking equipment or infest machinery, cause stoppages, often resulting in costly loss of production time.

Prevention of Loss of Goodwill. Food contaminated by insects may result in loss of business, goodwill and reputation. Insects in food also cause distress.

Prevention of Cross-Infestation. Infested raw materials and food brought into factories, can cause cross-infestation onto clean food and manufacturing equipment.

Detection of Stored Product Pests
What to look for:

  • Dead or live insects
  • Moth webbing or frass (excreta)
  • Damaged goods
  • Smell taint given off from infestation by beetles or mites.
  • Tracks or foot prints
  • Insect fragments
  • Flying moths
  • Buff-coloured mite dust
  • Insects flushed out with pytrethroid aerosol