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Pest Education: Stored Product Pests

Stored product pests also known as pantry pests include a number of different insects

such as beetles, moths, and weevils. 

Stored product or pantry pests include several beetles, moths, and a mite that can infest whole grains or processed foods. Usually, the first sign of a problem is the appearance of small beetles crawling over counter tops, moths flying across rooms, or caterpillars crawling up walls or across ceilings.



The solution requires finding and destroying all infested products in which these pests have developed, a general cleanup, and use of sealed storage containers to prevent recurring problems.


The Indian Meal Moth

The Indian meal moth is one of the most common stored product pests in the United States today. It is easily identified, for it has a very distinctive coppery or reddish brown color pattern on the front part of the adult’s wings.  Once you have observed these markings it will be very easy to spot again, for none of the other food or fabric moths have these distinctive markings.


Although the Indian meal moth was originally introduced from over seas, it now occurs abundantly throughout the United States. It is not only a serious pest of stored grains on grain farm, but can also be a large problem in grocery stores, storage warehouses, apartments and homes. Indian meal moths will infest almost any type of grain, but prefer the more coarse type of grains such as; corn meals or whole flour based products. In the home, the items that are most frequently infested include, but are not limited to; packaged cereals, flours, nuts, crackers, biscuits, powdered milk, chocolate, bagged popcorn, candy, pet food, dried flowers, bird seed, and various dried fruits. Indian meal moths have a complete life cycle consisting of egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Good clean up and use of sealed storage containers to prevent recurring problems, is the best way to cooperatively aid in eradication.


The larvas have chewing type mouthparts which gives them the ability to chew through un-open packaging that can cause damage to stored product foods. Adult moths have siphoning-sucking type mouthparts, which have no true function. The female Indian meal moth lays from forty to four hundred eggs over a period of one week or less. The eggs can be either laid singularly or in-groups placed directly on the food source. Once the eggs have hatched the larvae will than disperse them throughout their food medium, but will only feed on the out side of the food source. (External Feeders). The larvae stay in this stage for up two weeks. Under average conditions, four to six generations may be produced each year.  


Think that you have an infestation?   

We would be happy to discuss treatment options and identify the

pest issue your property faces.

Some Examples of Stored Product Pests

Weevils are 1/8 to 1/4 inch long reddish brown to /black snout beetles. Adults can lives for 6 to 8 months and may be found some distance from infested articles. Both the larvae and adults can damage food products.  They feed on the same types of food items as Indian Meal Moths.  The larvas develop in whole grains.


The Angoumois Grain Moth is ½ inch long and pale yellow brown.  It may be seen fluttering in the house.  As with weevils, the larval stage develops in whole kernels or caked grain. 


Drugstore and Cigarette Beetles attack almost any household food and spice as well as leather articles. Cigarette beetles are most commonly found in dried dog food and paprika. Drugstore beetles can be found in bread, flour, grain meal, breakfast foods and spices such as red pepper. Adults of both species can fly and are attracted to light.  


A much larger number of insects feed on processed grains or broken kernels and even spices.  These pests include the red and confused flour beetles, saw-toothed grain beetles.

Information partially adapted from the University of Kentucky Department of Entomology.

Our Stored Product Pest Treatment Plan

As your pest control operator we will examine each of these seven facets of control and apply them to your moth problem, giving you a truly Integrated Pest Management program for the control of your infestation.  


When it comes to the control of infesting moths there is several different aspects to be considered in planning a control program:


1. Inspection and Detection

2. Sanitation and Exclusion

3. Pheromone Traps

4. Non-Residual Space and Surface Sprays

5. Residual Surface Sprays and Dust

6. Growth Regulators

7. Periodic Re-inspections

8. Green Products including, ECO PCO sprays


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