More people are purchasing Organic Foods. Although this may be healthier for humans it also may be "healthier" for pests. We expect the instances of stored product pests to increase as a result.
Insects can infest and destroy many "food" products. To name a few ... Grains, cheese, seeds, nuts, flour products, dried fruits, meats, tobacco products, rice and dried beans, spices, birdseed, and dog treats. Weevils, beetles, moths, mealworms, mites, and grain borers can do significant damage to food products and in some cases can cause health concerns to humans and their pets.
Here are the top two stored product pests in customer homes:
These are small moths (5/8 to ¾" wingspread). They are slow, meandering flyers. When at rest they usually fold their wings so the insect looks long and skinny. The first ½ to 2/3 of the body is a pale gray. Then there is a band of coppery reddish-brown. The wing tips are darker than the rest of the body.
The female lays her eggs on or near appropriate food for her young. Here are the types of items of products the larvae eat: Whole or cracked grains, nuts, seeds (or birdseed), dried beans or rice, dried fruits, dog treats, powdered milk, chocolate, and/or natural decorations with wheat stalks, seeds, dried red peppers or Indian corn.
When the larvae hatch they burrow into the food material and spin a web-material which may cause the food material to cling together or stick to the sides. When they are mature and ready to "morph" into moths, the larvae will travel away from the food to a crack, crevice or corner and create a cocoon. Sometimes customers report seeing "worms" on the ceiling.
Inspect.Inspect all product types listed above for moths, larvae, webbing/clumping, and for pinholes in packaging. Discard.Discard all infested product and remove from home/garage. Re-Package.Repackage NON-infested products in sturdy, tight-sealing containers. (Sealable storage bags will not prevent re-infestation and should only be used if storing product in a freezer.) OR Freeze products and remove them only as needed. Vacuum.Vacuum storage shelves and cupboards where infested product was found to eliminate any spillage. Cover.Remove all foods and materials from areas where there was infestation. Place these items on a table or on the floor and cover with a tarp, plastic sheeting or a fabric sheet. Make sure all fruits, vegetables and medicines are covered as well. Also protect leather furniture and/or leather coats by covering with cloth or plastic. Plan.Plan to remove all people and pets from the house for 3 hours after treatment. When the technician arrives to treat you should be ready to exit the house (stay around until he is finished in order to lock the house). Sanitize.When you return, please wash all food prep surfaces and stove-top with soapy water. Treated shelves and cupboards.DO NOT WASH after treatment. Instead, if you wish, place a non-sticky paper or plastic liner on shelves to have a clean surface for your stored items.