Numerous species of small beetles and moths, referred to as stored product pests, commonly infest food and nonfood items in the home. The most common stored product pest found in homes is the Indianmeal moth. Often, the first indication of a stored product pest infestation is the discovery of infested food items or the sudden, and then persistent, presence of small insects in a particular area of the home. If unaddressed, infestations of stored product pests can spread rapidly into other parts of the home, making control difficult.
Because some pests of stored products are long-lived, highly mobile, attracted to the odors of susceptible food sources, and capable of chewing through packaging, it is important to inspect all items susceptible to infestation so that the source of the infestation can be removed. Ultimately, the key to resolving an infestation of a stored product pest is to find the infested items and either disinfest or discard it. Unless the infested items are found, the infestation is likely to continue.
Proper sanitation, food storage, and removal of infested items are the keys to halting an infestation of stored product pests. Insecticides can be used to eliminate populations of visible adults, but they alone are unlikely to eliminate a pest problem. Insecticides should never be applied directly to consumable food items. Traps, baited with various attractants (pheromones or food lures), can be used as a means to monitor the effectiveness of control attempts, but they should not be used as a sole means of control.
Finally, if homeowners experience an ongoing infestation of stored product pests, it is advisable to seek the advice and services of a pest management professional. In addition to specific knowledge and experience regarding stored product pests and their control, pest management professionals also may utilize tools not available to the homeowner. Regardless of the company hired, the technician should conduct a thorough and complete inspection that results in an exact or likely location of infested materials. Although locating infested material is not always easy, it is the key to eliminating a stored product pest infestation.