What You Need to Know About Stored Product Pests

Moths and beetles can wreak havoc on your food inventory by damaging and contaminating products, costing you money and customers, damage to your brand, and putting you at risk for a failed sanitation audit.


Summer’s warmer and more humid temperatures increase stored product pest activity levels and potentially raise the threat level to your products. warm, humid conditions and are more active in the summer.


Often known as pantry pests, moths can infest grain, dried herbs, and natural fiber clothing. Know your options for getting rid of stored food pests in grocery stores, mills, processing plants, or bulk storage facilities.


Thorough inspections of incoming shipments and good storage practices are keys to preventing stored product pest infestations.


Risks Associated with Stored Product Pests



  • Small, beetles can go undetected until they chew through packaging or lay eggs in raw materials, damaging stored inventory.
  • Moths fly in the face of food auditors and leave webbing and feces in the foods they infest.
  • Shutting down production to clean infested equipment in mills, processing plants, and bulk storage facilities wreak havoc on efficiency and your bottom line.


Stored Product Pests to Watch For


Cigarette beetles are known for their brown bodies and long serrated antennae. They are also known for feeding on tobacco products, as their name suggests, but they will also feed on spices and herbs, dry pet food, dried flours, beans, rice, peanuts and many other materials. The adult females lay their eggs in and around food materials. These insects destroy a variety of dried goods and foods.


Indianmeal moths are known for their gray and reddish-brown wings. They feed on grains and grain products as well as many other things, including dried fruits and vegetables, seeds, nuts, candy, dry pet food, animal feed and dried flowers. The adult females lay their eggs on food materials and, once hatched, the larvae burrow into the food. Adult Indianmeal moths don’t cause damage, but the larvae can produce feces and webbing while consuming the product, making it unfit for consumption.


The red flour beetle is known for their brown bodies and antennae that have an abrupt three-segmented club. They feed on grain products, specifically milled grain products like flour and cornmeal. The adult females can lay between 300 and 500 eggs, which means that a small infestation can get out of control quickly. These flour beetles consume and contaminate the food they infest, and they can impart a disagreeable odor and taste to the products.


Saw-toothed grain beetle is known for the six saw-like teeth on each side of the prothorax. They like foods that contain oils, including grain products, pasta, candy bars and baking mixes. The adult females lay their eggs in the crevices of food where the eggs will hatch. Their flat bodies allow them to enter packages that have been improperly sealed, contaminating the products.


Warehouse beetles are known for their brownish black bodies with yellow or yellowish-brown markings. They feed on dead insects and other animal remains as well as pet food, dried dairy products, grain products and pretty much anything that can be found in a warehouse. The adult females can lay nearly 100 eggs over several days, but it’s the larvae that do the damage when they feed on products. The larvae can also be a health concern, as the barbed hairs that they may shed into food products can cause intestinal irritation, especially in very young children.


Stored Product Pest Management Checklist


Dry and cool climates reduce the risks of a stored product pest infestation, as do proper food maintenance and inspections.



  • Temperature: Between 50°F and 70°F. The cooler the better.
  • Humidity: 15% or less. Consider air conditioning or dehumidification, if needed.
  • Product Rotation: Date and rotate stock and remove all out-of-code inventory. Use the “first in, first out” method.
  • Evidence: Inspect goods carefully for insect evidence before storing.
  • Sanitation: Staying on top of sanitation and cleaning protocols is key to preventing stored product pests.


Want more tips and strategies for preventing stored product pests from infesting your facility? Contact the pest management experts at Sprague and they can create a plan designed exclusively to meet the needs of your facility.


Stored Product Pests