Stored Product Pests

Stored Product Pests

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Saw-Toothed Grain Beetle

saw-toothed-grain-beetle-bug-book

Color

Adult is light to dark brown; mature larvae is yellowish-white.

Characteristics

Judge me by my size, do you? Although these guys are puny, they are armed to the teeth. They have a row of six, saw-like projections along each side of the prothorax (first segment of the thorax). Naturally, this is where the name stems from. Their bodies are long, narrow, and flattened. They have wings but haven't been caught using them yet - for flying, that is. Mature larvae are long and fairly smooth, with 3 segmented antennae (second segment is longest, third is very small).

Where Found

Following grains throughout the world.

Habitat

Home is food. Food is home. What else do you need?

Food

Overall they stick to a pretty good diet. First and foremost they love grains, cereals, and bread. Also pasta, dried meat, and dried fruits and nuts. Sounds pretty well-rounded. But everyone has their weak spots - for them it's sugar, chocolate and candy, as well as tobacco products and drugs.

Biology

They thrive in warm temperatures (86-95 degrees F) and high relative humidity (70% plus). Females find a crevice in food to lay their eggs in, either individually or in clusters. Egg laying occurs during a 2-5 month period, and females can lay up to 285 eggs. Eggs hatch 3-17 days later, depending on temperature. Larvae undergo 3 molts, and make a cocoon, where they grow those saw things. They make it out of, what else, food, and glue it together with a sticky substance from their mouth. They then hang in their cocoon by the rear end. Most adults live 6-10 months, but may live over 3 years.

Damage

Stored grains take the hit, found in grocery stores and homes.

Invasion

Considering how tiny they are, even the smallest crack in a food container or poorly sealed package is a wide open door.

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.