Stored Product Pests

Frequently encountered stored product pests include the Indian meal moth, cigarette beetle, red and confused flour beetle and sawtoothed grain beetle.

Indian Meal Moths

The Indian meal moth is a small colourful moth. Larvae, or caterpillars, measuringabout 1 cm in length, are cream coloured with a brown head. Infestations in packaged products start with small numbers and the longer the product is kept without use, the larger the population grows. Indian meal moths infest most milled or ground cereals such as flour and cornmeal and starchy processed products such as crackers, cake mixes, pasta, and dog food.

Cigarette Beetles

Adult cigarette beetles are oval, about 3 mm in length, reddish-brown, and can fly. Larvae are tiny, white, curved, and covered with infested material often causing them to look like tiny lumps of the stored product. They are difficult to detect unless the product is dumped and sifted. These beetles are commonly found in spices such as paprika, ground pepper, and ginger, in milled cereals, flour, cornmeal, dry dog food, cosmetics, and drugs, as well as some human poisons, pyrethrum dusts, and dried flowers.

Red and Confused Flour Beetles

These beetles are about 3 mm in length, reddish-brown, and haveshort, stout antennae. Larvae are slightly longer than adults, creamy-white with few hairs. Only those flour mills with the most thorough cleaning programs can  control populations of flour beetles. These beetles are typically found in cereal products, dried fruits, spices, and similar products.

Sawtoothed Grain Beetles

The saw-toothed grain beetle is a tiny, slender, dark-brown beetle that measures a little under 3 mm in length and has six saw-like projections on each side of the thorax. At full growth, larvae are slightly smaller than the adults. They become covered with the material they infest and appear to be very small lumps of the product. This grain beetle is typically found in breakfast cereals, dried fruits, flour, pasta, dried meats, chocolate, and other similar products.

Habits & Behaviours

Stored foods offer ideal feeding, living and breeding conditions for a variety of stored product pests. Stored product pests are found living in dried products such as dried fruits, spices, flour, bran, peas, dried vegetables, dried flowers, grain, cereal products, dog food, nuts, candy, pasta, and other similar non-perishable products. Stored product pests contaminate far more food than they eat and are encountered most frequently in food processing facilities, kitchens, pantries, grocery stores, and pet food stores. Quite often, these pests are well along in the infestation cycle by the time customers take them home. The eggs of these insects are microscopic and go unnoticed as humans consume them. Often, the first indication of the infestation is the appearance of small moths flying about or the presence of beetles in or near the food package.

Complaints & Destruction

Direct-feeding damage by stored product pests reduces product weight and nutritional value. Infestations also cause contamination, odour, mold, and problems that reduce the quality of the products and may make it unfit for humans or animals consumption. Stored product pest infestations cause annual losses worth many millions of dollars worldwide.

Treatment & Prevention

To eliminate and reduce the risk of stored product pests invading your residential, recreational/cottage, or commercial properties, treatment and exclusion is the best prevention.

Greenshield Pest Control Inc. can provide you with many treatment, exclusion, and prevention solutions.


If you are experiencing a stored pest product infestation within your residential, recreational/cottage, or commercial properties, it is best to let the professionals do the job of safely excluding the insects. Please contact us today or see our Pest Control Services section for further information on the types of services and insect pest solutions we can provide.

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