Stored Product Insects

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Stored Product Insects

The category “Stored Product Insects” covers a large number of insects that can infest a variety of stored products, in particular foodstuffs such as grains, cereals, dried fruit, nuts, seeds and even tobacco. 

Stored product insects are a health hazard for both private homes and businesses like food processing plants, warehouses, bakeries, stores, restaurants, mills, farms and silos. They can also cause enormous economic losses by damaging and contaminating food products. Any contamination caused by these pests will make your food unfit for human consumption. 

Businesses like food processors or grain storage facilities can greatly benefit from an ongoing professional pest management program to contain and eliminate pest infestations along with high standards of hygiene and sanitation, including stock rotation practices in accordance with any applicable regulations. 

Call Rentokil on 0885886575 (Blantyre branch), or on 01756593 (Lilongwe branch) to talk to an expert about stored product insect control.

How to spot an infestation of stored product pests

Discovering pests in your stored foodstuffs can be distressing. Not only will they contaminate foodstuffs, but they will most likely spoil and damage any food they come into contact with. In your home, this may mean you throw out some stored flour or sugar but in your business, the financial loss from damaged goods will be much higher. 

It is important to be able to identify the earliest signs of a problem to enable a quick solution and to put in place a guaranteed control measure which prevents a re-infestation. 

How to Identify Pests in Food 

Common signs of stored product insects include: 

  • Live or dead insects (small beetles and moths), larvae, pupae or silken webbing on food storage bins on shelves 
  • Infestation, holes, larvae or webbing on the outside of packets or bags 
  • Larvae, pupae or silk webbing in food harbourages in cracks and crevices around shelves or on machinery 
  • Larvae, pupae or silk webbing in food spillages 
  • Larvae, pupae or silk webbing on beams and window sills 
  • Indications of the pests in insects traps or rodent stations 

If you suspect a problem, it is also worth knowing where these pests may be hiding. Stored product pests can live in dried products such as tobacco products, stored grain, dried fruits, milled and processed cereal products, sweets, cheese, meat and any other dried food as well as dry ginger and dried fish.

Did you know?

Stored product insects contaminate more food than they consume!

Tobacco Beetle

tobacco beetle


  • The tobacco beetle is about 2-4mm in length.
  • The adult is whitish in color, with a dark brown to tan head, and are densely haired.
  • The tobacco beetle’s head is bent down nearly at right angles to the body giving it a humped back appearance when viewed from the side.
  • The larvae are about 4 mm long and somewhat bent.


  • The adult beetles live from 2 weeks up to a month, and during this time the females may deposit between 10-100 eggs.
  • The eggs are laid loosely on the infested material.
  • The larval period usually ranges from four to five months, but under very favorable conditions the development from egg to adult may occur in 6 to 8 weeks.
  • When the larvae are fully grown, pupation occurs and they remain in this resting stage for 12 to 18 days.


  • The cigarette beetle feeds off tobacco, dry stored food products, spices, seeds, grains and dried plant material.
  • They have also been reported in rice, dried potatoes, paprika, raisins, grain-based mouse bait and dried straw flowers.
  • Adult beetles often wander away from infested materials and may be found throughout the area.

Contact us to get rid of Tobacco Beetles>

Stored Product Insect pest management solutions from Rentokil

Since stored product insects are normally found in food and products meant for human consumption, the products in question must be removed and destroyed in such a manner that their destruction will not disperse the infestation. Alternately the products must be treated in such a way that presents no risk to the end product, but that eliminates the pest problem entirely. 

Rentokil’s professional pest control services can help your business with effective management, ensuring minimum disruption to your operation and full compliance with health and safety and any food legislation obligations. 

Rentokil’s pest management process 

To ensure that your pest problem is dealt with most effectively, we provide solutions that focus on three key areas: 

Prevention of Stored Product Insects 

Prevention solutions can be implemented as a first line of defense to ensure that an infestation is avoided: 

  • Since warmer temperatures can accelerate pests’ development, the temperature of storage facilities should remain at a level of 16 C and R/H at 30% or less. 
  • Hygiene and housekeeping practices should be maintained at all times. Ensure spillages, food materials and waste are cleaned immediately, and dust regularly. 
  • All stock / food material should be stored off the floor and away from walls to facilitate cleaning and inspections.
  • Keep raw materials in robust and or airtight packaging. 
  • Install tight fitting insect screens or screen doors. 
  • Waste management: ensure that a policy of sealed bagging of all waste is in place; that waste skips are cleaned before delivery; and the skips are kept closed except when waste is being added. 

Inspections and ongoing monitoring 

If left undetected, pest infestations can rapidly spread to other areas of your premises. Ongoing monitoring of the following should be part of an integral pest management system: 

  • Inspect incoming raw materials for evidence of pest activity in an area away from the main storage area. If pests are found, the shipment should be immediately rejected and returned to the supplier.
  • Traps and lures must be widely used for monitoring and locating infestations inside premises. 
  • Install light traps in all internal areas of the premises to control and monitor insects. Data recorded can also help monitor stored product pests. 
  • In addition to our inspections, we recommend that your staff also perform routine monitoring to ensure early detection of any pest problem. 

Professional Stored Product Insect control treatment 

Rentokil offers various targeted pest control treatments to deal with a stored product insect infestation. Some of the treatments include: 

  • Precision Spraying: targeted crack and crevice treatments can be useful to get rid of stored product pests in a structural environment. The success is dependent on adequate access and cleaning of loose or impacted residues. Only approved materials can be used with deference to preventing product contamination. 
  • Fumigation: This the use of gaseous substances (fumigants) that are toxic to - and therefore kill all life stages of - stored product pests in raw material or product. Fumigation must be done in gas proof enclosures to contain the gas for long enough to achieve mortality. 

If you have spotted the above signs of a stored product insect infestation, contact Rentokil to protect your reputation and put in place a solution to keep these pests out of your business.

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