Stored Product Pests

In homes, stored product pests are commonly referred to as pantry pests and once found by the homeowner a complaint is usually made to the retailer and subsequently the manufacturer of the infested foods.

In the United States the annual loss due to stored product pests was estimated to be at $1 billion dollars.

The beetles are the largest and most important group of stored product pests. Moths are the second largest group and second in importance.

Beetles have front wings horny or leathery, without veins, meeting in a straight line down the back and concealing any membranous hind wings. Front wings usually short not covering the abdomen. Antennae usually fewer than 11 segments.

Moths or butterflies have two pairs of membranous wings, largely covered with scales.


It is necessary to be certain that the pest you are encountering is a stored product pest. If it is then it must be determined which one it is because stored product pests vary widely in their food preferences and living habits. for stored product pests, one must be able to distinguish many individual species which belong to many families of critters which are placed in several orders. This can be particularly difficult when pests are found away from the infested product.

4 Groups of Stored Product Pests:

  • Internal Feeders – Feeds entirely within the grain kernel
  • External Feeders – Feeds from the outside of the grain kernel inward.
  • Scavengers – Feed on the grain only after the seed coat has been broken.
  • Secondary pests – Feed on food materials in poor condition such as wet or damp foods.


  • Prevention
  • Good Sanitation
  • Proper Storage
  • Stock Rotation
  • Ventilation

In the home good sanitation is the key along with the immediate transfer and storage of products packaged in paper, cardboard, or plastic bags into tight sealing jars or tupperware-type containers.

If the infestation source is not found in the kitchen or pantry then check the closets, dresser drawers, and display areas for jewelry and decorative items made from nuts, ornamental corn, or various grains and seeds.

Stored product pests can be killed by placing them into a freezer at 0 degrees Fahrenheit for 4 days. This is useful for decorative items of plant origin. Heat can also be used by placing stored products such as cereals in a shallow tray in an oven at 150 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes with the oven door propped open.