Signs of Stored Product Insects
Learn how to identify the signs of stored product insects and where to look for them.
The term "Pests found in food" covers a large variety of insects, including beetles and moths.
Learn more below about common species of Stored Product Insects (SPIs) found in South Africa.
The Almond Moth goes by the nicknames “Cocoa Moth” and “Tropical Warehouse Moth”. The almond moth infests stored products and the adults can fly.
A sign of infestation in the product is contamination with silk webbing, frass, cast skins, pupal cases and adult remains.
Covered in brown and golden hairs, the Australian spider beetle has a spider-life appearance and adults grow to an approximate 2.4 – 4mm in length.
Australian spider beetles live for up to 3 – 4 months at 20 - 25°C.
Larvae are often found feeding on miscellaneous debris, and the Australia spider beetle possesses the ability to bore into various inedible materials prior to pupation. Active in dark, damp places, the Australian spider beetle is often associated with bird nests.
(Various species - Liposcelis bostrychophila, Lepinotus patruelis)
An approximate 3.5 – 4.5mm in length, male broadhorned beetles have two enlarged mandibles on the head, giving the appearance of horns and thus their name. Females are very similar In appearance to the confused flour beetle.
With temperature limits of 15 - 32°C, broadhorned flour beetles cannot complete their life cycle below 10°C.
Feeds on flour, dough, semolina etc. Moth eggs and larvae may supplement the broadhorned flour beetle diet.
Cheese mites have soft, hairy cream white bodies with 8 hairless legs and adults grow up to an approximate 0.5mm in length.
The cheese mite favours warm, moist conditions and eggs mature in 10 days at room temperatures. Females can lay up to 900 eggs in a lifetime at a rate of 20 – 30 a day. Adult cheese mites can live for up to 60 – 70 days.
With a preference for old cheese to young cheese, these mites also feed on nuts, dried eggs, fruit, flour and tobacco. Cheese mites are capable of contaminating foods to cause skin or gut irritation.
The Cigarette beetle is a very common commercial pest.
The confused flour beetle was named because of the confusion over its identity. It is a very common commercial and pantry pest.
The drugstore beetle (also known as the Biscuit Beetle) gained its name because it was frequently found feeding on drugs in pharmacies many years ago. Now, they are customarily found infesting all types of dry stored food products, spices, seeds, grains and dried plant material.
It is frequently associated with hot spots in farm-stored grain. Although primarily a fungivorous species. The presence of this insect in farm-stored grain is taken as a warning that the grain is beginning to spoil and become moldy.
The Granary Weevil is among the most destructive of all stored grain insects. The larvae develop inside kernels of whole grain in storage. This makes an infestation difficult to remove in the milling process.
The Indian meal moth larva's is a very common commercial and pantry pest.
The Khapra Beetle is considered to be the world's most destructive pest of stored grain and grain products. If left uncontrolled, this beetle can cover the surface of stored grain making it appear alive with crawling larvae
This beetle lives and feeds in warehouses and stores, especially feed and health food stores.
Also known as the Greater Rice Weevil. Maize Weevils are frequently regarded as primary pests of grain since they are able to infest otherwise undamaged grain.
They have also been seen to infest buckwheat, peas, acorns, chestnuts and cottonseed.
Merchant grain beetles are found in pantries or in food processing areas or warehouses.
The Mediterranean flour moth larva is a very common commercial and pantry pest. It is a pest of mills and warehouses as it can clog machinery with its webs.
Rice weevils are pests of stored grain and seeds.
Is a very common commercial pest infesting a variety of grain and food materials. The rust-red flour beetle is frequently found in stored products.
The saw-toothed grain beetle is one of the most common insects in stored grain and cereal products
The Tobacco Moth is an introduced pest species of moth. Often found in warehouses and other areas where food or tobacco is stored.