What Are Stored Product Insects (SPIs)
At iX5 Pest Control we often receive enquiries from people advising they have tiny creatures all over their kitchen, and sometimes also in other rooms of their homes. A few carefully targeted questions usually help us identify the likely suspects as potential stored product insects, and a full site survey then helps identify both the particular species and the affected source product.
Stored product insects include various grain and flour beetles, dried fruit beetles, tropical, white shouldered, warehouse or flour moths; rice and grain weevils; biscuit beetles and many other species of beetles, weevils, moths and mites. In most cases these all lay their eggs in their favoured foodstuffs, and it is when the eggs hatch that the activity becomes noticeable and problematic. The eggs are not visible to the naked eye, but the resultant insects will be.
Effects of SPIs
Whilst an infestation is unpleasant, stored product insects generally pose little or no direct public health risk, and do not bite or sting. However, left untreated, and infestation will likely only become worse, affecting other food products in the kitchen.
Control of SPIs
Once an infestation becomes obvious, the main control is to identify and discard the affected food products, and then undertake a treatment which usually often involves application of an Ultra-Low Volume (ULV) airborne insecticide for swift knock-down, and / or a residual insecticide spray. However, bearing in mind the primary source of infestation is usually in the kitchen, extreme care is required to ensure insectides are used safely and without risk of contamination to food or food equipment.
What Can You Do to Prevent an Infestation of SPIs?
To reduce the risks of an infestation of SPIs, we recommend that once you open any dried food products, either decant them into sealed containers or ensure the original containers are resealed. That way, even if there are viable eggs in any product, if they hatch, the insects will be contained to avoid them spreading through your kitchen or into other dried products. Stock rotation is also very important and we recommend you do not store more dried goods than necessary.
Further information from the British Pest Control Association can be found here.