Stored Product Pests in Australia

For centuries the problem of storing foodstuffs has been with man and continuous effort is required to prevent the entry of pests to food stores

Stored products pests are very hardy and can adapt themselves to almost any conditions and locations

Food products are attacked from time they are in the field until they are consumed

  • Indian Meal Moth

    Indian Meal Moth
    (Plodia interpunctella)


    • Adults are 8 - 10mm in length with 13 - 20mm wingspans
    • The outer half of the moths forewings is bronze, copper, or dark grey in colour while the upper half are yellowish grey with a dark band at the intersection between the two
    • Female moths lay between 60 and 400 eggs on a food surface, which are ordinarily smaller than 0.5mm and not sticky
    • Mating usually occurs on food stacks
    • The indian meal moth is usually imported from warm climates in food stuffs such as peanuts, cocoa beans and dried fruit
    • Can infest a wide range of dry foodstuffs of vegetable origin, such as cereal, bread, pasta,rice, couscous, flour, spices or dried fruits and nuts
    • Food they infest will often seem to be webbed together
  • Warehouse Moth

    Warehouse Moth
    (Ephestia elutella)


    • Also known as Cocoa Moth and Tobacco Moth
    • Infests cereal, fruit, shelled nuts, cocoa beans, fish, spices and tobacco
    • Infestations are serious where wheat and flour are stored in bulk
    • Adult female lays 120-150 eggs on or near the products
    • The loosely sealed stored food scent attracts female moth and allow depositing eggs nearby and the newly hatched larvae will crawl in and start to feed
    • This moth can also tolerate nicotine, therefore it is one of the most serious pests in the tobacco industry
  • Flour Mite

    Flour Mite
    (Acarus siro)


    • Also called a grain mite appears harmless but they can still be pests
    • It is one tenth of an inch in size, it has a soft white body and eight legs
    • Whenever there is a severe infestation of these pests, the surface they are on appears to be covered with a fine dust
    • Can live in almost any type of flour or in fodder and not least important in stores of seed or corn, they are also fond of old cheese
    • Females lay up to 500 - 800 eggs in their lifetime at a rate of 20-30 a day
    • Mite infested foodstuffs acquire a sickly sweet smell and a taste which renders them unsuitable for human consumption
  • Angoumois Grain Moth

    Angoumois Grain Moth
    (Sitotroga cerealella)


    • Adults are 5-6mm long with a wing span of 12mm
    • The forewings are grey to yellowish brown in colour with a small black spot towards the tip
    • The hind wings have a long fringe of hairs and are sharply pointed at the tip
    • Is an internal feeding pest and infests only the surface layer of stored grain
    • Prefers damp grain
    • Feeding larval stage causes the most of the damage leave large cavities within the infested grain
    • Primary pest of whole cereal grains including maize, wheat rice, sorghum and millet
  • Corn Moth

    Corn Moth
    (Tinea granella)


    • Also called the wolf cause of its ravages to corn in granaries and storehouses
    • The larvae cause the most damage as they consume much more of the grain
    • Small creamy-white moth with brown spots on the wings
  • Mediterranean Flour Moth

    Mediterranean Flour Moth
    (Ephestia kuehniella)


    • The adult is a pale - gray colour and from one-forth to one-half inch long with a wingspan of less than one inch
    • The hind wings are a dirty white
    • Can be found on a great variety of foodstuffs in addition to flour, grain residues and various whole grains
    • Causes clogging of machinery with its webbing, and at times causes grain mill shut downs
  • Dried Bean Beetle

    Dried Bean Beetle
    (Acanthoscelides obtectus)


    • The larvae of this species feed and develop exclusively on the seed of legumes (Fabaceae) hence the name bean beetle
    • The adults do not require food or water and spend their limited lifespan (1–2 weeks) mating and laying eggs on beans
    • The larva that hatches from the egg burrows from the egg through the seed coat and into the bean endosperm without moving outside the protection of the egg
  • Khapra Beetle

    Khapra Beetle
    (Trogoderma granarium)


    • Diet consists of dried plant and animal products with a preference of grain and stored products
    • Larvae can survive dormant for two or more years in varied conditions
    • The adult beetles are reddish-brown and oval in shape
    • They are covered in fine hairs that can rub off leaving the beetle shiny in appearance
    • Larvae are typically very hairy and range in size from 1.6 to 5mm long, they are pale yellow when small and become golden brown when they grow
  • Cadelle Beetle

    Cadelle Beetle
    (Tenebroides mauritanicus)


    • Adult is shiny black with an elongated flattened body
    • Males have lots of very fine punctures on the underside of the abdomen, whereas females have fewer coarser punctures
    • Can be found in grain stores and mills
    • The larvae also bore into timber and through sacks, causing damage to the storage as well as the product
    • Diet consists of grain, flour, meal, biscuits, bread, vegetables, dried fruits and other stored products
  • Confused Flour Beetle

    Confused Flour Beetle
    (Tribolium confusum)


    • Diet consists of finely ground or broken starch materials such as flour or meal
    • Adults and larvae feed on broken kernels and fine-grind materials in granaries, mills, warehouses and other places where grain or grain products are stored
    • This beetle is shiny, flattened, oval in shape and reddish brown in colour
    • The beetle does more damage by feeding but probably cause more problems by contaminating the grain
  • Saw-Toothed Grain Beetle

    Saw-Toothed Grain Beetle
    (Oryzaephilus surinamensis)


    • Is a slender, flat, brown beetle that is about 1/10 inch long
    • Can be found in warmer climates and does not fly
    • The larvae nibble on finely divided food particles as it cannot feed on large particles such as whole grains
    • They are small enough to penetrate tiny cracks and crevices in packaged food products
  • Rust-red Grain Beetle

    Rust-red Grain Beetle
    (Cryptolestes ferrugineus)


    • Is a red-brown colour and about 1.5 - 2mm long
    • They are flat and quite shiny and have rather long slender antennae
    • Larvae infesting whole grain often form cocoons in chambers within the kernels
    • Can be found feeding on grain and cereal products as well as a variety of other materials
  • Yellow Mealworm

    Yellow Mealworm
    (Tenebrio molitor)


    • Are one of the largest insect pests that infest stored food products
    • The adult beetles are sturdy black elongated beetles with parallel sides
    • The mealworm larvae are smooth and shiny with hard cylindrical body about 3mm in diameter and about 25mm long
    • Can be found where grain is stored in feed mills and processing plants, especially around spilled and decaying grain
    • A minor pest of cereals and cereal products, feeding on flour, cereals
    • The larvae are bred to be used as fish bait and as food for aquarium fish and animals
  • Rust-red Flour Beetle

    Rust-red Flour Beetle
    (Tribolium castaneum)


    • Is a reddish brown beetle and will fly when conditions are hot and humid
    • Attacks stored food products in cereal mills, food processing plants, grocery stores, households, and ships
    • The adult is 3 to 4mm in length
    • Females lay tiny white eggs that hatch after about 9 days
    • The Rust Red Flour Beetle is a serious serious pest species that attacks stored grain products such as flour, cereals, meal, beans and other dried food products
  • Lesser Grain Borer

    Lesser Grain Borer
    (Rhyzopertha dominica)


    • Lesser Grain Borers are 3mm in size
    • Inhabit stored grain silos and warehouses
    • Female Lesser Grain Borers lay eggs on a variety of stored grains including wheat, rice and corn
    • the small white grub-like larvae chew their way into the grain to complete the rest of their development. While they are eating the inside of the grain, they push faecal pellets out of the grain
    • Many thousands of tonnes of stored grain are lost to this beetle every year in Australia alone
  • Maize Weevil

    Maize Weevil
    (Sitophilus zeamais)


    • Among the most destructive pests of grains, seeds, and grain products stored in elevators and bins
    • Small snout beetle which varies in size, averaging about three thirty seconds inch in length
    • Varies from dull red brown to nearly black and is usually marked on the back with four light reddish or yellowish spots
    • An egg hatches in a few days into a soft , white, legless, fleshly grub which feeds on the interior of the grain kernel
    • Infested grain will usually be found heating at the surface, and it may be damp, sometimes to such an extent that sprouting occurs
  • Lesser Rice Weevil

  • Grain Weevil