Common Stored Product Pest Species, Rentokil

Common stored product pest species

Stored Product Pests covers a large variety of insects, including beetles and moths.

Learn more below about common species of Stored Product Insects (SPIs) found in the U.S.

Almond moth

The Almond Moth goes by the nicknames “Cocoa Moth” and “Tropical Warehouse Moth”. The almond moth infests stored products and the adults can fly.

A sign of infestation in the product is contamination with silk webbing, frass, cast skins, pupal cases and adult remains.


  • The body is 7.5 – 10 mm long.
  • The adult almond moth has a wing span of 19 mm.
  • The forewings are grey to dusty brown.
  • The larvae is white to pink in color and has a distinctive brown head
  • There is a dark straight band across the forewing, which is paler on the inner edge.


  • The female lays 150 — 200 eggs loosely and randomly on a food source.
  • The larva can grow to 12.7 mm in length.
  • When the larva is mature, it will actively leave the food source and search for a site in which to pupate.
  • The larva pupates in a silk cocoon.


  • The almond moth is found worldwide in processing facilities, warehouses and households.
  • It feeds on grain, cereal products, oilseeds and dried plant products, like nuts, fruit and tobacco.
  • The larva burrows into food and creates silk tunnels in which it will be concealed while feeding.
  • Large larva can burrow through packing

Australian spider beetle


Covered in brown and golden hairs, the Australian spider beetle has a spider-life appearance and adults grow to an approximate 2.4 – 4mm in length.


Australian spider beetles live for up to 3 – 4 months at 20 — 25°C.

Feeding Habits

Larvae are often found feeding on miscellaneous debris, and the Australia spider beetle possesses the ability to bore into various inedible materials prior to pupation. Active in dark, damp places, the Australian spider beetle is often associated with bird nests.

Bean weevil


  • 2.0 – 3.0mm long, mottled brown in color.
  • They have a ‘tear drop’ like body shape and are covered in short hairs.
  • Saw-tooth like antennae and elytra that do not cover the entire abdomen.


  • Lifecycle usually lasts 2-4 months.
  • The larvae feed within the beans as they mature.
  • The larval stage can take from a few weeks to many months to complete, depending upon temperature and moisture of the bean. Pupation is within the bean. Circular holes are cut for the adult to emerge.
  • Development and breeding goes on as long as there is any food left in the bean and the temperature is right (warmer temperatures are preferred).


  • Larvae feed mostly inside beans.
  • These weevils attack all legumes, including kidney beans, green beans, peas and lentils.
  • Heavily infested peas are often reduced to shells.

Biscuit beetle


  • Adult — 1/16″ — 1/8 in length. Humped thorax. Fine hairs cover the body. Elytra (wing cases) have ridges with indentations.
  • Larva — active in early stages of development. Bores into hard substances.
  • They are able to detoxify some poisonous substances.


  • Life cycle — 200 days at 17°C, 70 days at 28°C. Adults live for 13 to 65 days.


  • Will often fly. Adults do not feed.


(Various species — Liposcelis bostrychophila, Lepinotus patruelis)


  • Adult — Size varies according to species. 1/16″ — 1/8″ long. Pale yellow–brown to dark brown in color.
  • Nymphs — very small, often appear transparent. No larval stages.


  • Liposcelis bostrychophila — prefers high temperatures 77-86°F.
  • Lepinotus patruelis — will breed at 40-60°F.


  • Liposcelis bostrychophila — Common in homes.
  • Lepinotus patruelis — Common in factories and on pallets.

Broadhorned flour beetle


An approximate 3.5 – 4.5mm in length, male broadhorned beetles have two enlarged mandibles on the head, giving the appearance of horns and thus their name. Females are very similar in appearance to the confused flour beetle.


With temperature limits of 60-90°F, broadhorned flour beetles cannot complete their life cycle below 50°F.

Feeding Habits

Feeds on flour, dough, semolina etc. Moth eggs and larvae may supplement the broadhorned flour beetle diet.

Cheese mites


Cheese mites have soft, hairy cream white bodies with 8 hairless legs and adults grow up to an approximate 0.5mm in length.


The cheese mite favors warm, moist conditions and eggs mature in 10 days at room temperatures. Females can lay up to 900 eggs in a lifetime at a rate of 20 – 30 a day. Adult cheese mites can live for up to 60 – 70 days.

Feeding habits

With a preference for old cheese to young cheese, these mites also feed on nuts, dried eggs, fruit, flour and tobacco. Cheese mites are capable of contaminating foods to cause skin or gut irritation.

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Cigarette beetle

The Cigarette beetle is a very common commercial pest.


  • The Cigarette Beetle is about 2-4mm in length.
  • The adult is whitish in color, with the head dark brown to tan, and are densely haired.
  • The cigarette beetle closely resembles the drugstore beetle.
  • The cigarette beetle has the head bent down nearly at right angles to the body giving it a humped back appearance when viewed from the side.
  • The larvae are about 4 mm long and somewhat bent.


  • The adult beetles live from 2 to 4 weeks and during this time the females may deposit between 10-100 eggs.
  • The eggs are laid loosely on the infested material.
  • The larval period usually ranges from four to five months, but under very favorable conditions the development from egg to adult may occur in 6 to 8 weeks.
  • When the larvae are fully grown, pupation occurs and they remain in this resting stage for 12 to 18 days.


  • The Cigarette Beetle feeds off tobacco, dry stored food products, spices, seeds, grains and dried plant material.
  • They have also been reported in rice, dried potatoes, paprika, raisins, grain-based mouse bait and dried straw flowers.
  • Adult beetles often wander away from infested materials and may be found throughout the area.

Coffee bean weevil


  • Adults: 1.5-4mm in length.
  • It is a dark brown beetle with light brown spots and long antennae.
  • The footless, slim larvae are curved and hairy and grow to a length of 5-6mm.


  • The beetle flies to fields and lays its eggs on damaged cobs.
  • The larvae bore into coffee beans in which they pupate.


  • They mainly infest corn, cocoa, coffee beans, dried fruits, nutmegs, ginger etc.

Confused flour beetle

The confused flour beetle was named because of the confusion over its identity. It is a very common commercial and pantry pest.


  • The confused flour beetle is 3-4 mm in length, the larvae are about 6 mm long.
  • The adult is red-brown in color and the larvae are a light honey color and about.
  • It resembles the rust-red flour beetle, except for the antennae which is four segmented and gradually thickens towards the tip — another slight difference is in the shape of the thorax.
  • The sides of the rust-red flour beetle are curved, whereas the thorax of the confused flour beetle is straighter. It has well developed wings but seldom flies.


  • Female lays between 400 — 500 eggs, with peak oviposition occurring during the first week.
  • Adults may live longer than 3 years, and females may lay eggs for more than a year.
  • Eggs are deposited directly in flour, other food material, or attached to the surface of the container. They are white or colorless and covered by a sticky material to which flour can adhere.
  • Eggs hatch in 3 — 5 days at 90-95°F. Larvae burrow into kernels of grain but may leave their burrows in search of a more favorable food.


  • Feeds off grain, flour, and other cereal products, beans, cacao, cottonseed, shelled nuts, dried fruit, dried vegetables, drugs, spices, chocolate, dried milk and animal hides.
  • They cannot feed on whole grain, but can feed on broken kernels that are usually present.

Copra beetle/Red legged ham beetle


  • Adults: 3/16″ in length.
  • The upper surfaces of the body are a shiny metallic bluish-green. The underside of the abdomen is dark blue. Their legs are bright reddish-brown or orange. The antennae are reddish–brown with a dark brown or black club at the tip.


  • Females lay up to 30 eggs per day in cracks or crevices of cured fish. The eggs take between four and six days to hatch.
  • The larvae will grow for 30 to 140 days, become less active and look for a dark place to pupate.
  • The pupal stage varies between 6 and 21 days.
  • An adult will mate soon after emerging from its pupal stage and can live for up to 14 months.


  • The adults fly and can therefore easily disperse to new sources of food.
  • They are destructive in both the larval and adult stages, although the larval stage is the most destructive.
  • They are also cannibalistic, preying on their own eggs and pupae.

Dermestes beetle


  • Adult – 1/4″–3/8″ in length. Black with a whitish band across the fore–part of the elytra.
  • Larva – comet shape. Quick moving. Brown in color and hairy. Migrate to pupate in solid material.



  • Feeds on various animal products including cheese.

Drugstore beetle

The drugstore beetle (also known as the Biscuit Beetle) gained its name because it was frequently found feeding on drugs in pharmacies many years ago. Now, they are customarily found infesting all types of dry stored food products, spices, seeds, grains and dried plant material.

Integrated Pest Management

University of Missouri

Taking an environmentally sensitive approach to pest management

Integrated Pest & Crop Management

William J. Wiebold
University of Missouri
Division of Plant Sciences
(573) 882-0621
[email protected]

Early Corn Root Development

William J. Wiebold
University of Missouri
(573) 882-0621
[email protected]

Published: May 23, 2012

Figure 1. Corn seedling at late V1 stage.

Corn plants, like most annual grass plants, produce two root systems. The first root system (primary) is composed of the radical and up to three pairs of seminal roots (Figure 1). All of these roots arise from within the seed. The term seminal means «of the seed» and describes their origin. These roots anchor the seeding in the soil and sustain the seedling for the first couple of weeks after emergence. This root system is called primary, not because of its importance, but because is forms first.

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Figure 2. Close-up of first node on late V1 corn plant.

The main root system (secondary) of the corn plant is composed of numerous roots that originate from stem tissue outside of the seed. Because they arise from tissues other than roots they are called «adventitious roots», and because they arise from stem nodes they are also called «nodal roots». Again, the name of the root system, secondary, should not be confused with a description of their importance. It is merely a chronological term. The secondary root system is composed of the roots that provide water, nutrients, and anchorage to the plant through nearly its entire life.

Adventitious roots are located at nodes along the stem, both below and above ground. They begin their development shortly after the seedling has emerged, but it takes several weeks before the roots are capable of sustaining the plant. The first node on a corn stem (other than the scutellar node in the seed) is located at the top of the mesocotyl (Figure 1). During germination and emergence, the mesocotyl elongates and pushes the coleoptile toward the soil surface. As the mesocotyl elongates the coleoptile is also elongating. The junction between the mesocotyl and coleoptiles is visible as a slightly swollen area that surrounds the stem. Perched on top of the mesocotyl and covered by the coleoptile is an area of rapid cell division or the growing point. When the coleoptile nears the surface it senses light and signals the mesocotyl to stop elongating. Under most situations the junction between the mesocotyl and the coleoptile will be located about 3/4 of an inch below the soil surface when elongation stops.

It is at this junction between the mesocotyl and the coleoptile that the first set of adventitious roots form. The first sign of developing nodal roots are small bumps that appear around the stem at the node (Figure 2). If soil conditions are conducive to root growth these bumps will transform into easily recognized roots (Figure 3). Although timing varies because of conditions, by the time the plant is at V3 stage, nodal roots extend past well past where the kernel was placed during planting. As the plant continues to develop multiple roots from multiple nodes will be evident (Figure 4). The first four stem internodes elongate very little. So, the accompanying nodes remain underground. Other stem internode elongate, so that their accompanying nodes are above ground. Roots can and often do from several of these above ground nodes. These nodes are called brace roots, but they perform all the functions other corn roots including anchorage in the soil.

Bugs That Look Like Popcorn Kernels

About the Author:

Rebecca Boardman

Rebecca Boardman has been an animal enthusiast, teacher, and researcher for over 30 years. With articles published in everything from Arabian Horse World and The Times Newspaper to The University of North Texas Insider and the Azraff/Ferzon Breeders Group, Boardman’s writings are as diverse as her own experience.

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Insects are one of the most plentiful creatures on the planet. They come in every shape and size, and they can be beneficial or destructive. Knowing what kinds of bugs are pests and which ones are harmless is important before making any decisions to destroy them. Bugs that resemble popcorn kernels are often pests.

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are a huge problem worldwide, as of 2010. Their resistance to many chemicals has led to a resurgence in their population. A parasite that feeds on blood, bed bugs go through five nymph stages before becoming adults. Each nymph stage looks like popcorn kernels, and even the adult can resemble a larger unpopped kernel of corn.


The tick is another common parasite that closely resemble popcorn kernels throughout most of its life cycle. Although its earliest phase is too small to be considered a good resemblance to a kernal, as it grows and, especially as it gorges on blood, the tick swells and resembles a gray popcorn kernel more.

Blue Bug

The blue bug is a type of beetle that lives in the yards and gardens of most suburban neighborhoods. It is a member of the stinkbug family and its small, round body looks a great deal like a popcorn kernel. It is almost teardrop-shaped and is roughly the same size as a large popcorn kernel.

Pest Management

Neem seeds and leaves contain many compounds which are useful for pest control. Unlike chemical insecticides, neem compounds work on the insect’s hormonal system, not on the digestive or nervous system and therefore doe not lead to development of resistance in future generations. These compounds belong to a general class of natural products called ‘limonoids’.

The liminoids present in neem make it a harmless and effective insecticides, pesticide, nematicide, fungicide etc. The most significant liminoids found in neem with proven ability to block insect growth are: azadirachtin, salanin, meliantriol and nimbin. Azadirachtin is currently considered as neem’s main agent for controlling insects. ‘It appears to cause 90% of the effect on most pests. It does not kill insects – at least not immediately – instead it both repels and disrupts their growth and reproduction. Research over the past years has shown that it is the most potent growth regulator and feeding deterrent ever assayed. It will repel or reduce the feeding of many species of pest insects as well as some nematodes. In fact, it is so potent that a mere trace of its presence prevents some insects from even touching plants.’

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Certain hormones are necessary for growth and development of insects. These hormones control the process of metamorphosis as the insects pass from larva to pupa to adult. Azadirachtin blocks those parts of the insect’s brain that produce these vital hormones. As a result, insects are unable to molt. It is through these subtle hormonal effects that this important compound of neem breaks the life cycle of insects. The insect populations decline drastically as they become unable to reproduce.

Meliantriol and salannin act as powerful antifeedants. Nimbin as well as nimbidin (another neem component) have antiviral property.
But, for all the uncertainty over details, various neem extracts are known to act as various insects in the following ways:

Deformed insect pest

  • Disrupting or inhibiting the development of eggs, larvae or pupae.
  • Blocking the molting of larvae or nymphs
  • Disrupting mating and sexual communication
  • Repelling larvae and adults
  • Deterring females from laying eggs
  • Sterilizing adults
  • Poisoning larvae and adults
  • Deterring feeding
  • Blocking the ability to “swallow” (that is, reducing the motility of the gut)
  • Sending metamorphosis awry at various stages
  • Inhibiting the formation of chitin.

All these effects listed above are not equally strong or certain. Blocking the larvae from molting is considered to be neem’s most important quality which can be used to eliminate many pest species. Neem products are harmless to most insect eaters, humans and other mammals, except certain marine life like crabs, lobsters, fishes and tadpoles.

In spite of high selectivity, neem derivatives affect ca. 400 to 500 species of insects belonging to Blattodea, Caelifers, Dermaptera, Diptera, Ensifera, Hetroptera, Hymenoptera, Isoptera, Lepidoptera, Phasmida, Phthiraptera, Siphonoptera and Thysanoptera, one species of ostracad, several species of mites, and nematodes and even noxious snails and fungi, including aflatoxin-producing Aspergillus flavus. Results of field trials in some major food crops in tropical countries will illustrate the value of neem based pest management for enhancing agricultural productivity in Asia and Africa.

Neem’s effects on some of the major pests

Locusts (winged insects) are a great menace to crops and trees in Africa and Asia. The effects of ingredients and seed kernels of the neem tree on locusts and grasshoppers were studied in laboratory conditions, semi-field and field trials in Africa, Asia and Europe. There was very strong phagorepellent effect of neem oil on the desert locust and on the red locust. The same applied to the variegated grasshopper. The results showed that neem oil and other products (aqueous seed kernel extracts, neem seed powder) can be applied against some important locusts and grasshopper species in farmer’s fields with success.

Neem oil enriched with azadirachtin prevents locusts from developing into their migratory swarms that are so destructive to vegetation. Even doses equal to a mere 2.5 liters per hectare are enough to prevent formation of plagues of locusts. “Although alive, they become solitary, lethargic, almost motionless and thus extremely susceptible to predators such as birds.”

Grasshopper nymphs are affected by neem in a similar way. By applying neem products to soil or by using seeds soaked with neem products can protect some crops from locusts for a week to a month.

Neem seed extract has been shown to retard the growth of several cockroach species. It kills the young cockroaches and inhibits the adults from laying eggs.

De-oiled Neem cake (the residual remaining after the oil has been pressed out of the seeds) and neem oil are quite effective against rice pests. Five applications of a 25% oil emulsion sprayed with an ultra low-volume applicator can protect rice crops against brown plant hoppers. Neem products greatly reduce the tungo virus transmission efficiency of green leaf hopper in rice.

Neem is quite effective against armyworm, one of the most devastating pests of food crops in the western hemisphere. Azadirachtin in extremely low concentrations – a mere 10 mg per hectare – inhibits the pests.

Neem extract is useful against leaf miner, a serious pest in parts of North America. Neem seed extract works as well as available commercial synthetic pesticides. It has been approved by the US Environmental Protection Agency for use on leaf miners.

Experiments have shown that neem products are quite effective against European corn borer, a deadly pest which causes massive damage to corn and other crops.

For Protecting Stored Grains

One of the traditional uses of neem in Asia has been for controlling pests of stored products. Farmers usually mix neem leaves with grain before keeping it in storage for several months. Neem leaves, oil or extracts acts as repellent against several insects such as weevils, flour beetles, bean-seed beetles and potato moths. Treatment of jute sack by neem oil or azadirachtin-rich-products prevents the penetration of pest like weevils and flour beetles. Neem oil destroys bean-seed beetles (bruchids) – a variety of insects mostly attacking legumes – at the egg-stage itself. A mixture of neem leaves with clay and cow-dung develops pest resistant property so it can be used to make bins for storage of grain.

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