Monitoring for stored product pests

May 1, 2023, 11:34 AM by Fred Speer

Stored product pests are one of the most economically important pests for the food processing facilities – grain silos, bakeries, breweries, retail food stores, and others – which store or use large amounts of unprocessed and cereal-based grain products.

A stored product pest infestation can render products inedible. It can result in downtime in production, damaging the brand name and creating negative consumer feedback. An infestation can also raise red flags with third-party auditors and inspectors, causing a facility to receive a reduced score or even a failed audit.

Integrated pest management (IPM) programs for the food industry traditionally include four components. Three of those components are management — pest prevention, avoidance, and suppression. The fourth component is monitoring. And when faced with the threat of a stored product pest infestation, monitoring is done with pheromone traps.

Why monitor for stored product pests?

Monitoring facilities for stored product pests with pheromone traps allows pest management professionals and clients to evaluate the need for, and effectiveness of, the three management components of an IPM program.

Food plant and warehouse quality control programs rely on monitoring, including data collection and trend analysis, to ensure that control limits are not exceeded. Effectiveness can be readily evaluated with standardized monitoring, but many facilities find it difficult to quantitatively evaluate their program due to a lack of good information.

  • Monitoring is a useful tool to identify and locate insect infestations.
  • Monitoring can also be used to assess the effectiveness of control measures.
  • Data on trap catches can be used to determine the origin of infestation in the marketing channel.
  • Monitoring can lead to reduced costs of pesticides, fumigation, and non-chemical controls.
  • Monitoring provides the user with key information to determine pest population rebound after control measures have been applied.
  • Pheromones work 24/7 and never complain.

Monitoring and pheromones

Pheromone-baited traps are a powerful tool in a stored product insect management program. Correct use of pheromone traps in a pest management program falls into one of two general strategies. These strategies can overlap, and can and should be integrated:

  1. As a detective tool to find and eliminate problems after they arise
  2. As a monitoring tool to assess population trends, including early detection, in either focused problem areas or throughout the facility.

When pheromone traps are used as a detective tool, it’s typically in response to suspected insect activity, such as infested product spillage or insect tracks in dust. The goal of this tactic is to identify the scope and nature of the problem. The tactic generally combines pheromone trapping with visual inspection and other sampling tactics.

Introducing artificial sex attractant pheromones into a facility with the intention of distracting male stored product pests – Indianmeal and flour moths, mainly – as they are trying to make a love connection with their female counterparts during mating season. This process is called mating disruption.

The artificial pheromones create false trails that make it harder for male moths to find their mates. As a result, mating doesn’t occur, eggs are not laid, and the populations of these destructive pests drops.

Pheromone mating disruption dispensers are typically installed and replaced twice a year to ensure coverage through the entire moth mating season. The dispensers are placed within facilities and can treat an entire warehouse, but they have also proven successful in treating specific sections or even aisles in a facility.

Clark Pest Control – commercial pest solution experts

If you are looking for a pest management partner that understands your business and can help your company create an effective year-around pest management program, call Clark Pest Control at (800) 936-3339.