Figure 13. Khapra beetle larva and cast larval skin
The warehouse beetle is a major pest of stored grain.Large quantities of cast larval skins can accumulate inand around infested material and cause allergenicreactions to workers.
It looks similar to the khaprabeetle, the world’s worst pest of stored grain, whichis not in Australia.
Stored product moths
There are three major storage moths in WesternAustralia: the Indian meal moth
, theMediterranean flour moth
and thetropical warehouse moth
. TheIndian meal moth is one ofthe most common mothpests found in homegroceries.This moth, which has awingspan of about 15 mm,is the parent of the pinkish-white grubs so often foundin food such as raisins,dates and figs. The grubsalso have been known tofeed on biscuits, powderedmilk and chocolate. Theycontaminate foodstuffswith webbing. The larvaegrow to 17 mm long, with adark head capsule andthree pairs of legs. Themoth lays eggs on or nearfoodstuffs. The life cycleusually takes one to threemonths.
Absolute cleanliness in and around food storage areasis essential in preventing infestation. Thoroughly cleanup any spilt foodstuffs, preferably using a vacuumcleaner. Pay particular attention to cracks and crevices.Purchasing small quantities of foodstuffs at a time,keeping them cool, and storing them in containers withclose fitting lids can help prevent insect attack andspread.Often, infestation can be traced to an old packet of driedfruit, flour or spices which has been pushed to the backof a cupboard and forgotten. Destroy all such centres ofbreeding by placing small quantities of infested materialin plastic bags in the freezer compartment of arefrigerator for 48 hours to kill the insects.Thoroughly clean insect-infested cupboards or pantriesand spray them with surface sprays which containinsecticides. Avoid contaminating food, food preparationsurfaces, utensils or humans with the spray. After usingany spray, air the cupboards for 12 hours beforereplacing foodstuffs. Space sprays containing pyrethrinsare also effective in controlling wandering adult insectsin surrounding areas. This prevents them fromrecontaminating foodstuffs during the airing phase.
You can treat small quantities of food if the insectdamage does not require it to be destroyed. Put it in theoven for at least an hour bringing the temperature up to55 to 60
C but no hotter. Gradual heating will raise allmaterial to the desired temperature, but short intenseheating may spoil the commodity being treated. Duringhot summer weather, spreading the material thinly on aniron tray and placing it in the sun for several hours willalso kill the pests.If larger quantities of food need to be treated, see aregistered pest controller with a view to fumigation.
Exotic pest, not present in Australia.If you discover this pest or its larva in any of your stored grain or grain products contactthe Pest and Disease Information Service onFreecall
1800 084 881
The khapra beetle lavae are up to 7 mm long. They areyellowish at first, then the colour darkens with each moultto red-brown in the final instar. Adults are oval, darkbrown beetles about 2.5 mmlong with yellow brown tored-brown markings on thewing covers.They are considered theworld’s most destructive pestof stored grains and grainproducts. Feeding is usuallyconcentrated over thesurface of infested materialsand down the sides of bins,but may penetrate six metresor more into bulk storage.
Figure 10. Tropical warehouse moth grub Figure 11. Indian meal moth grubs Figure 12. Khapra beetle adult