Flour Beetle

Stored Product Pests

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Rice Weevil

rice-weevil-bug-book

Color

Adult is dull reddish-brown; larva is creamy white with a brownish-black head.

Characteristics

Most characteristic is the long anteater-like 'snout' at the front of its head, with a pair of chewing mandibles on top. The male's snout is shorter, wider, and more distinctly punctuated than the female's. Adult's elytra (forewings) usually have four, faint, red to yellow spots, and wings are used for flight. There are deep pits on the thorax that are round or irregular-shaped. The midline of the pronotum (top body plate) is usually puncture-free. Larvae are legless and fairly smooth. They look more humpbacked than anteater-like, and are thicker in the middle. There are 7-8, tiny, fingerlike sensory projections on the lower mouthpart.

Where Found

They are believed to have originated from India, where there is plenty of rice. They are now all over the world, especially warm climates. In the U.S., they are common in field and stored grain.

Habitat

As with most insects, they like to stick close to their food source (either in or near it). I suppose we're not much different.

Food

Work well on a raw-food diet. Includes corn, wheat, rice, rye, buckwheat, cereals, beans, nuts, cotton, grapes, apples and pears. You may find 'surprises' in your breakfast cereal that are truly surprises if left neglected too long.

Biology

Larvae must raise themselves in their own grain of rice. Females lay eggs in single grains by boring a hole inside. She lays 300-400 eggs in her lifetime, but seldom in winter, as egg laying decreases with temperature. The grain is then sealed off with a gelatinous material after eggs are laid. Larvae go through 3-4 instars (stages) in about 18 days, then pupate for 6 days. Adults aren't ready to leave the nest just yet, but at least they aren't mooching off mom and dad; they remain another 3-4 days to ensure they are hardened and mature. Life span varies; in summer it can be as short as 32 days, but adults can live for 3-6 months.

Damage

A plague upon crops and stored grain.

Invasion

A vicious cycle: insects fly from stored grain to crops in the field, which in turn go into storage, continuing the infestation in a potentially endless cycle. Adults are also attracted to light.

Good Riddance

There are 6 steps to control stored product pests.

  1. Prevention - inspect any incoming products, and reduce locations that insects may be entering through.
  2. Good Sanitation - discard any spilled or damaged products. Vacuum the spilled products, especially in small cracks and crevices where they may accumulate. Completely empty storage areas and check all products carefully for signs of infestation.
  3. Proper Storage - store products in sealed containers that will not allow insects to enter. Cardboard or paper containers are easier to penetrate by larvae or adults and should be discarded.
  4. Stock Rotation - don't forget about the old products sitting at the back of storage rooms. These are vulnerable to infestations, as they remain undisturbed and possibly damaged.
  5. Ventilation - many pests that invade stored products need a high level of humidity to survive, so reducing moisture content in stored products is essential.
  6. Control - some stored product pests tend to pupate away from the infested products; therefore it is important to treat prepared pantry storage areas. Summary - finding and eliminating the source is the best way to achieve long-term control. Using aerosol pesticides for flying adult insects will only provide temporary relief. When using any pesticide, be sure it is registered for the target pest/location. Read the entire label prior to use. Follow all label directions, restrictions, and precautions.