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Stored Product Insects

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Stored product insects range from :-

Flour beetles (Tribolium castaneum and Tribolium confusum
Drugstore beetle (Stegobium paniceum)
Sawtoothed grain beetle (Orvzaephilus surinamensis)
Indian meal moth (Plodia interpunctella)
They include but are not limited to:-
Confused Flour Beetle. (Tribolium Confusum) …
Rust Red Flour Beetle. (Tribolium Castaneum) …
Biscuit Beetle. …
Larder Beetle. …
Booklice. …
Grain Weevil. …
Cigarette Beetle

Stored product insects attack or infest any stored food you could possibly think of depending on species. Moths and beetles tend to attack flour, dried fruit, nuts, grain and chocolate.

The Confused Flour Beetle whilst being African in origin is now spread throughout the world and is to be found in regions which are suitable for its temperature requirements.

In common with other insects, development can be influenced by temperature. In ideal conditions with temperatures of 32.5 degrees centigrade the life cycle takes in the region of four weeks. Under ideal conditions populations may increase 70 times per month. Whilst 32.5degrees centigrade is the ideal temperature development will still proceed at between 21 degrees centigrade and 33 degrees centigrade with the minimum relative humidity required of 1 percent.

The confused flour beetle (Tribolium confusum) is the most common beetle pest to stored products and is particularly a major pest of cereals. The confused flour beetle is often to be found in UK flour mills.

If an infestation is found it is important that professional pest prevention advice be sought. Any infested commodities will need to be isolated and destroyed, or failing this fumigated.

The area of infestation, including structure and fittings, bases of equipment possibly pallets, and wall crevices and cracks will need to be treated with a residual insecticide. The Pest Prevention Surveyor will probably advise traps to determine the level and extent of the infestation and a programme of work to be undertaken.

Rust red flour beetle, this beetle is oriental in origin but is to be found in most of the warmer parts of the world. This particular beetle will only survive in the UK in heated conditions.

The Rust red flour beetle is a common beetle pest particularly to cereals. Once again if an infestation should be detected any infested commodities should be isolated and destroyed, or fumigated.

Whilst the pest prevention Surveyor will advise on the course of action required, this would normally follow the same method as for the confused flour beetle with treatment by residual insecticide to infested areas.

Easily confused with the Confused flour beetle the Rust-red flour beetle is approximately 3 – 4.5 mm in length. The shape of the beetle is elongated and the colour is reddish brown. The antennae have a distinct three-segment club.

Adult Rust-red beetles can frequently be found congregated in large numbers along the folds of food packaging. Under very warm conditions the adults will fly.

In the ideal temperature of 35 degrees centigrade the life cycle takes less than 3 weeks. However development will proceed between 22 degrees centigrade and 35 degrees centigrade. The minimum humidity required is one percent. Under ideal conditions the population may increase 60 times per month.

Biscuit Beetles are known to attack a wide range of stored products including dried vegetables, spices, chocolate, cereals, drugs and even dried flowers. Easily mistaken for the common furniture beetle or the cigarette beetle the Biscuit beetle is reddish brown, oval in shape and with a dense covering of yellowish hairs with its length being between 2 to 3 mm.

The Biscuit beetle is related to the common furniture beetle and is capable of chewing into fairly hard materials. Unfortunately this means that an infestation of Biscuit beetle is quite capable of spreading into the fabric of a building and may be found behind polystyrene tiles for instance.

The female biscuit beetle will produce in the region of 100 eggs and the eggs are laid singly in foodstuffs. Once again development times are influenced by temperature, humidity, moisture, quantity and quality of food. The ideal temperature is between 25 and 28 degrees centigrade and development will cease if the temperature drops to below 17 degrees centigrade.

In order to ascertain the extent of an infestation it is always wise to consult a professional pest prevention company. Identifying the source and extent of the contamination is important. Any infested foodstuffs need to be destroyed and infested areas treated with a residual insecticide.

Larder Beetle can be found worldwide and is a common to households and storage facilities in much of the world. The larder beetle will contaminate stored food products, particularly cured meats and cheeses. In addition in the home environment they will also feed on other items such as feathers, skin and dry pet foods.

The larder beetle is a member of the beetle group called dermestid beetles. An infestation of larder beetle on invading the home environment will move into dark areas where they can find food. Preferring to feed on dead insects and stored meat or cheese.

The larder beetle is a large oval insect usually black with a yellow band across the wing covers and having several dark spots in the yellow area. The adult is approximately 7 to 9 mm long. The female beetles lay eggs in the spring and summer months. When hatched the larder beetle larvae burrow into food material. The pupae to adult stage take in the region of three months and when the time comes for the larvae to change to an adult the larder beetle will leave the foodstuff and instead burrow into solid material.

On discovering an infestation of larger beetle it is important to discover the source of the infestation and obviously remove anything that is infested. All areas should be thoroughly cleaned and following a thorough clean the areas should be treated with insecticide.

Booklice first appeared in what is known as the Permian period 295 – 248 million years ago and are often regarded as the most primitive of the hemipteriods.

Booklice thrive in damp conditions and whilst they look like lice they are not harmful to humans and do not bite. Occasionally the booklice may cause mild skin irritation. Booklice feed only on fungi or mold. Outside they will live in numbers under the bark of trees and it is thought that this is where the name “barklice” (as some people call them) originated.

The adult booklice is approximately 1 – 2 mm long and the booklice nymph is very small, appears transparent and with age becomes even more transparent. Booklice vary in colour from white to grey or brown depending on species. Species that infest outdoor areas have wings unlike their indoor counterparts.

All booklice are female, hatching from eggs. It can take in the region of 1 to 3 months to complete the life cycle from egg to adulthood.

Avoiding light the booklice prefers temperatures of between 25 degrees centigrade and 30 degrees centigrade with a relative humidity of 75 to 90 percent. Therefore in the home environment a dehumidifier can assist in eradicating booklice.

Following a survey to discover the extent of the pest activity and taking care to eradicate damp issues, an insecticidal treatment can be used. However, for the best results as will all pest infestations of this nature is to have a professional pest prevention Surveyor advise and this is where the NPC qualified Surveyors come in.

Grain Weevil also known as the wheat weevil or granary weevil can be found all over the world. Causing significant damage to harvested stored grain the grain weevil can also drastically decrease crop yields.

Adult wheat weevils are about 3 – 5 mm ling with elongated snouts and chewing mouthparts. The adults are reddish-brown in colour and lack distinguishing marks. The female wheat weevil lays between 36 and 254 eggs and usually deposits one egg in each grain kernel. The life cycle takes about 5 weeks in the summer but can take up to 20 weeks in cooler temperatures. The adult lives for approximately 8 months following emerging from the grain.

Wheat weevils are a pest of wheat, oats, rye, barley, rice and corn and can cause considerable damage. Sanitation, inspection and storage are the key elements to avoid infestations.

Destroying any infected product, cleaning thoroughly and finally insecticidal treatment. However when using insecticides professional advice should be sought.

Cigarette Beetle also known as the cigar beetle or tobacco beetle belongs to the family Anobiidae.

Cigarette beetles are not harmful to humans or pets however they are a nuisance pest infesting stored products. The female can lay up to 100 eggs on the food product from which the larvae will feed. The development time from egg to adult is approximately 6 to 8 weeks and the adult is about 1/10 inch long. The adult is yellowish to reddish-brown in colour and oval in shape.

Cigarette beetles will sometimes feed on furniture stuffing and dried floral arrangements and due to their ability to infest a variety of food products it can be difficult to eradicate an infestation.

It is important to identify the infestation and discard any infected items. Following this a thorough clean of all areas and the use of insecticide.

As with all beetle infestations it is important to firstly detect the source and type of beetle prior to the recommendation of any follow up treatments. Therefore it is always recommended to use a professional pest prevention company and this is where the highly trained NPC Surveyors are recommended.


NPC specialise in all forms of pest management, including bird control, proofing to buildings and environmental services

All personnel are DBS (CRB) checked.


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