Common Storage Pests found in a household

26.05.18 08:02 AM Comment(s) By Admin

Do you think only garden plants or crops attract pests?

Have you come across insects in the stored grains, flour, and cereal seeds in your kitchen, clothes in wardrobes, books, and documents in the storeroom. Aren’t there pests in those places? Have you read any articles related to an insufficiency of food grains in countries like Africa? The reason is a high prevalence of storage pests.

Storage Pets

These are pests that attack any stored food grains (cereals, pulses, and their products) and food products, clothes, books and documents, leather and carpets, which are not used or moved often from one place to other. Stored product pests not only include insects but also microorganisms (fungi, bacteria), non-insects (mites), rodents (rats), and birds.

The loss caused by these pests accounts for millions of dollars every year. Apart from that, pests can also destroy important documents and heritage artifacts in homes, offices, and museums.

How do storage pests establish in your household

Storage pests, generally, establish in your household, by one of the following two means:

    • Storage pests can enter your household if you purchase infested items
    • Pest build-up can also happen when you store or keep susceptible items under poor storage conditions

Often, the damage caused by these pests goes unnoticed as they infest the items which are not in regular use. By the time you notice the pest occurrence, you may lose your stored product partially or wholly based on the pest infestation level. If the infestation is significant, the taste, flavor, and quality of food will be altered too. Sometimes it creates a favorable atmosphere for the development of secondary pathogens fungi and bacteria, which can cause allergic reactions to sensitive people.

Signs for presence of storage pests

The presence of storage pests can be noticed only when they come out from the storage area. Unless you are not a regular user of the product, you can see small moths and beetles flying or crawling over walls, ceilings, powdery residues below or near the stored items.

Damage in stored whole grains and beans becomes visible when they are soaked in water. Where hollow seeds will float on the top, and we can see holes in grains and insect debris. In the case of pantries and closets, you will get a stale odor.

Major Storage Pets


Kind of damage beetle cause: Adult and grubs will cause damage by boring the seeds and feed on internal contents. We can see circular holes made by the insect while coming out from the seed after the damage. At higher infestations, the stored beans will heat up, which may result in mold growth and causes a change in taste and flavor.

Bean beetles, Seed beetles, and Pulse beetles: pests of legumes like beans, peas, grains, and other foods.

Cigarette Beetle

Important pest of tobacco and thus derives its common name from it. It also feeds on processed products of tobacco (raw dry leaves, refined cigarettes, cigars, and chewing tobacco)

Khapra Beetle

This is one of the world’s most destructive pests that attacks a large number of stored products (both animal and plant origin). Hence this beetle is in the quarantine list of most countries.

Drugstore Beetle

Prefer to feed on herbs and medicinal plants, which are common in the prescription of drug preparation. This pest is known to bore tin, aluminum, and lead sheets.

Flour Beetle

This beetle usually does not damage the whole grains and is found more in broken bits and flour.

Carpet Beetle

Pest of fabrics and similar items. Cause allergy to sensitive people when they use fabrics infested with this beetle.

Pulse Beetle

Pests of legumes like beans, peas, grains, and other foods.


Another important pest of several food grains majorly on rice, wheat, corn, and their products like noodles, macaroni, etc are weevil. Weevils feed on the internal contents of the grain seeds.

Rice Weevil

Rice Weevil


In the case of moths, damage to grains is entirely caused by the larva. Moths are meant only for egg-laying. These larvae bore into the kernel and then spend entire larval and pupation stage inside by feeding the grain contents making it hollow.

Angoumois grain moth: It is an occasional pest of stored grains, especially on corn in the field and other food products.

Mediterranean flour moth: larva feeds on food source by spinning the silken webs.

Indian Meal Moth

Common moth pest of stored grains.

Cloth Moth

Occasional pest of fabrics (cotton, silk, wool, furs, bristles in brush, hair, feather, etc.). Pests mostly attack wool. They also attack blended fabrics. Pests do not usually attack synthetic materials such as polyester or nylon.


Mites prefer to feed on various food products (animal or plant origin), including flour, cereal products, cheese, dried fruits, dried herbs, hay, leather, etc. Mites produce a substance called ‘allergens,’ which causes an allergic reaction to some people.

When products are heavily infested these mites, they look like a layer of fine powder and gives minty like odour when they are crushed.

Precautions/preventive measures to manage storage pests

Stay tuned, and we’ll tackle each of these pests with the ways to eliminate /prevent their growth in one of the upcoming blogs.

Happy Growing!


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