Stored Product Pests (SPIs)
The term stored product insects or SPIs covers a whole host of small insects that can affect stored foodstuffs in locations from home cupboards to commercial food factories. The inclusion of these pests in stored products such as grain, rice, pulses and processed food often renders it unfit for sale or consumption.
Although small in size, the economic impact globally of these stored product insects is huge, affecting all stages of food production from the primary producer through to the end consumer. They can cause the recall of products, generating costs and causing additional losses from the disposal of affected products.
Amazingly insect pests are estimated to destroy around 20% of the world’s grain crop production each year, costing billions and earning the title of the ‘world’s most expensive pest’.
Types of SPI in the UK
In the UK we have two common types:
Common Species of SPI
A few of the native and non-native species found in the UK include:
- Rice weevil
- Biscuit beetle
- Indian meal moth
- Grain weevil
- Confused flour beetle
- Saw toothed grain beetle
- Larder beetle
- Mill moth
How to identify if you’ve got a SPI issue…
The most common indication of a stored product infestation is the appearance of the adult insect – either an unusual number of moths flying or beetles appearing in and around kitchens and storerooms.
Other signs include damaged packaging, dusty, broken down products and ‘Frass’ – the solid excreta of insects and other related matter created by the feeding process.
Look out for the inclusion of all other life stages in and around food preperation and storage areas. Due to miniscule sizes the egg, larvae and pupae can be difficult to spot.
There is often a mistaken belief that getting rid of the adult insect will solve the problem, however the earlier life cycle stages may still be existing throughout the stored product(s).
Other signs include –
- Moth larvae webbing, weaved throughout affected materials.
- A distinct ‘taint’, discolouration found in stored products.
- Damp, mould and grain germination in infested stores and silos.
- Track marks in dust or flour left by the adult insect.
How to prevent SPIs
- Prevention is very difficult, SPIs usually enter the house unnoticed in and around infested products and packaging.
- In advance of (or during) an infestation you can limit its spread through good storage and hygiene practices.
- Remove food products from their original packaging and place in tightly sealed containers. This will prevent any access and protect the product.
- Vacuum regularly to remove food debris inside cupboards and around storage areas, thus removing the food source that can propagate or sustain an infestation.
What if you find an SPI inside a product you’ve recently bought?
If you find an SPI when opening a new product, you should return it to the store you purchased it from and explain the situation. Not only will it hopefully result in you regaining your lost expenditure, it will also enable the store to investigate and implement their own control measures if necessary. They may also need to inform suppliers so that it can be established where the insects entered the food chain.
What do you do if you have a SPI infestation in your property?
Give us a call. We have the knowledge and experience needed to action effective and targeted treatments based on the habits and life cycles of stored product insects. We’ll also advise you on how to help prevent a reoccurrence.
You’ll already realise the importance of SPIs and how they can cost you your business and reputation. We’ll provide you with cost effective treatments and help advise you on the preventative measures needed in the fight against SPIs.
We can work with you to create a professional pest control plan, including a preventative monitoring programme which will inform us on the presence and species of an SPI.
Our contracted customers also benefit from a full advisory service offering ongoing recommendations and staff training.