Have you brought something home from the shop riddled with insects? Opened an old bag of flour to find it’s tainted? Are you a manufacturer of food products and you want to keep them safe from infestation?
Stored product insects (SPIs) are one of the top pest concerns in food production and storage across the globe.
Stored product insects are exactly what they sound like: insects that live and breed in stored products, like whole grains or processed foods, and even tobacco.
There are many types of SPI’s in Ireland, with the two most common being beetles and moths.
The main reason we control SPIs is the incredible damage and contamination they cause to foodstuffs, raw materials and finished products.
SPIs not only eat these products, they breed in them and can spread quickly, contaminating a huge amount of product which is then unfit for human consumption.
Contamination of foodstuffs is such a huge concern that there is an entire branch of forensic entomology dedicated to studying it.
The financial loss associated with SPIs is enormous. It’s believed they are the world’s ‘most expensive pest’, costing billions each year in additional operating costs and loss of product.
Businesses that handle any kind of cereal, grain or dried food products are at risk of infestation from stored product insects.
That includes supermarkets, restaurants, food processing facilities and food storage warehouses.
They can cause the recall of products and the expense involved in issuing a recall, plus discarding infested or damaged products, is very high.
It’s not possible to prevent SPIs, as you won’t know you’ve purchased an infested item until you bring it home and use it.
However you can help prevent future problems and the spread of any infestations, through good storage and hygiene practices.
Store all food products which come in flimsy packaging, such as cardboard or plastic bags (cereal, dry pet food etc), in tightly sealed containers. This will ensure insects cannot get access to the food inside.
Regularly use a vacuum cleaner to get rid of food debris in cupboards, removing that tempting, easy-to-access food source.
For any stored product insect infestation in a business, we would always recommend contacting a professional pest management company.
They are trained in SPI control and will have access to a range of professional use insecticides and tools, which are not available to the public.