Rice Weevil and Granary Both granary and rice weevils, often known as "snout weevils," penetrate and feed on the internal portions of whole grains during the larval (immature) stage, making early detection of infestations difficult. They are usually found in grain storage facilities or processing plants, infesting wheat, oats, rye, barley, rice, and corn. Although not often found in the home, sometimes they infest table beans, acorns, chestnuts, birdseed, sunflower seeds, and ornamental corn. They are rarely found in macaroni and spaghetti. Homeowners sometimes refer to infested foods as "weevilly." Granary and rice weevils do not bite or sting humans or pets, spread disease, or feed on or damage the house or furniture. Identification Both weevils have chewing mouthparts at the end of their snouts or prolonged heads, and are about 1/8- to 3/16-inch long, depending on the size of the grain kernel. In small grains, such as millet or milo maize, weevils are small in size; they are larger in corn. The adult granary weevil is a shiny reddish-brown with elongated pits on the thorax, whereas the adult rice weevil is a dull reddish-brown with round or irregularly shaped pits on the thorax and four light spots on the wing covers. These deep round punctures and light spots are lacking on the granary weevil. Also, the granary weevil cannot fly, whereas the rice weevil can fly. Both weevils in the larval stage are legless, humpbacked, white to creamy white, with a small, tan head. Weevils in the pupa stage have snouts like the adults. The maize weevil is similar to the rice weevil, but larger. Granary Weevil and Rice Weevil Life Cycle and Habits The egg, larva, and pupa stages of both weevils occur in the grain kernels and are rarely seen. Feeding is done within the grain kernel, and adults cut exit holes to emerge. Emergence holes of the granary weevil are larger than those of the rice weevil, and tend to be more ragged than smooth and round. Females drill a tiny hole in the grain kernel, deposit an egg in the cavity, then plug the hole with a gelatinous secretion. The egg hatches into a young larva which bores toward the center of the kernel, feeds, grows, and pupates there. New adults bore emergence holes from the inside, then leave to mate and begin a new generation. Female granary weevils lay from 36 to 254 eggs. At 80 to 86 degrees F, 75- to 90-percent relative humidity, eggs hatch in wheat with a moisture content of 13.5 to 19.6 percent in 3 days. Larvae mature in 18 days, and the pupa in 6 days. The life cycle is about 30 to 40 days during the summer, and 123 to 148 days during the winter, depending on temperature. Adults live 7 to 8 months. Female rice weevils lay between 300 to 400 eggs, with the life cycle requiring about 32 days for completion. Rice weevil adults live 3 to 6 months, infesting grain in the field, especially in the South. Two larvae can develop in one wheat kernel, but only one larva of the granary weevil can develop per wheat kernel. Both granary and rice weevils feign death by drawing up their legs close to the body, falling, and remaining silent when disturbed.
Angoumois Grain Moth Angoumois Grain Moth--The adult is a dull gray. The larvae bore into the kernel, pass through the pupa stage and emerge through a small round hole cut in the outer layer of the kernel. The moth breeds on the surface of the grain. Damage by this insect is minimal in shelled corn. However, the larval stage of this insect more commonly feeds within kernels of other gains. Grain infested by the angoumois grain moth larvae has an unpleasant smell, and is less attractive for consumption. Most problems with the angoumois grain moth in corn occur in crib-stored ears, although the infestation may have begun in the field. Corn infested in the field may harbor larvae feeding within corn kernels. When the newly harvested, infested corn is cribbed, the larvae continue to develop, pupate, and emerge as adults, which in turn deposit eggs on uninfested kernels. Several generations of the insect can be completed during prolonged warm falls, resulting in a large portion of the grain being damaged. Life History Female moths deposit eggs on grain kernels throughout the crib. Under normal conditions, a female will lay forty eggs. The eggs are glued to the kernel. Larvae emerging from the eggs eat through the kernel and begin feeding on the endosperm or germ. To assist in penetrating the kernel, larvae sometimes spin a cocoon that they use for leverage. Once inside the kernel, larvae continue to feed until mature, enlarging a cavity within the kernel. When mature, the larvae eat a channel to the outside of the seed, and make a weakly fastened flap at the exit by cutting the shell one-half to three-quarters the circumference of a circle. Larvae then spin silken cocoons and pupate within the kernels. Adults emerge by pushing the flap back on the kernels. The life cycle is complete in about five weeks at optimal temperatures. Description The adult is a small buff to yellowish-brown moth about one-third inch long with a wing span of one-half inch. The front wing is a lighter color than the hind wing. Both wings end in a thumb-like projection and have fringed rear margins. The eggs are white when first deposited, but soon turn red. Full grown larvae are one-fifth inch long and white with a yellow head. The area near the head is slightly larger in diameter than the posterior portion of the insect. Damage Angoumois grain moth larvae feed on a number of whole kernel grains. Their feeding causes a reduction in grain weight and quality. Heavily infested grain smells bad and is less attractive for consumption. Corn cribs infested with this insect will contain ears with small holes on individual kernels. Ears throughout the crib will be infested. In bins, however, only the top few inches of grain will be infested.
Indian Meal Moth The Indian meal moth, Plodia interpunctella (Hubner) is one of the most commonly reported pests of stored grains in the United States. Larvae of the Indian meal moth feed upon grains, grain products, dried fruits, nuts, cereals, and a variety of processed food products. The Indian meal moth is also a common pantry pest. DESCRIPTION The Indian meal moth is a handsome moth with a wing expanse of nearly three-quarters of an inch. It is easy to distinguish from other grain pests by the peculiar markings of the forewings; they are reddish brown with a copper luster on the outer two-thirds, but whitish gray on the inner or body ends. The hind wings lack distinctive markings and are more or less uniformly gray. Adults can be seen resting on the grain surface or grain bin walls. The adults fly at night and are attracted to lights. The eggs of the Indian meal moth are whitish, ovate and very small. Because of their small size, they are difficult to see without the aid of a microscope. Eggs are deposited on the grain surface singularly or in groups of twelve to thirty. Newly hatched larvae are very small and difficult to see. Larger larvae are usually yellowish, greenish, or pinkish. Fully grown larvae are one-half to five-eights of an inch in length with a brownish head capsule. Larvae have three sets of legs near the head (thoracic legs) and five sets of prolegs on the abdomen. Larvae of the meal moth spin a web as they become fully grown and leave behind silken threads wherever they crawl. The webbing is often sufficiently abundant to attract attention. Loosely clinging webbing on the grain is characteristic of this pest. LIFE CYCLE As long as the temperature within a grain bin or building where grain is stored remains above 50° F, the Indian meal moth can survive and reproduce. A typical life cycle (egg to adult) is completed in forth to fifty-five days. A potential for seven to nine generations per year exists; however, because of cool temperatures during the winter months fewer generations are usually completed. Under optimal conditions, the entire life cycle can be completed in approximately twenty-eight days. A mature female lays 100 to 300 eggs on food material, either singularly or in groups of twelve to thirty. Larvae begin to hatch in two to fourteen days, depending on environmental conditions. Newly hatched larvae feed on fine materials within the grain and are small enough to pass through a sixty mesh screen. For this reason, it is difficult to exclude larvae from most packaged foods and grain. However, larvae cannot chew through packages, so they must enter through a hole or at the seam. The larval stage lasts from two weeks to one year, and is responsible for grain losses. In grain, larval feeding is usually restricted to the top one to two inches. Large larvae feed on the grain germ. When mature, larvae spin a silken cocoon and transform into light-brown pupae. The cocoons and pupae can be seen on the grain surface and walls of grain bins. Adults emerge in four to thirty days, mate, and females lay the next generation of eggs. Adults live from five to twenty-five days. DAMAGE Direct damage to grain is the result of larvae feeding on the seed germ. In grain to be sold for human or animal consumption, meal moth feeding reduces the dry weight. At the same time, grain weight may actually increase because of water absorption; with an increase in water content mold can become a problem. The biggest reduction in value is the result of contamination by larvae that leave droppings and silken webs in the grain. The presence of live insects and insect parts can result in dockage of the grain when sold. Examination and Control Methods This examination must be thorough as the range of materials potentially infested is so broad. First go through items in the pantry which may host Indian meal moth. They are commonly found in coarse cereal products (e.g., oatmeal, breakfast cereals), nuts, herbs and spices, dried soups, dried fruits and vegetables. Pay particular attention to items that have remained in the cupboard for long periods. Foods that are loosely sealed or are in thin wrapping are more likely to be infested than materials in insect resistant containers such as hard plastic or metal. Indian meal moth may also be found in other materials around the home. Dried dog food and bird seed should be checked. Dried flowers and some raft items that include seeds may be infested. Areas where flour and other materials used in baking may have spilled can support Indian meal moth. Larvae are also known to occur in the stored caches of seeds and nuts that squirrels and other rodents may have around the home.
Sawtoothed Grain Beetle The sawtoothed grain beetle, Oryzaephilus surinamensis (L.), is a widely distributed species commonly found in stored grain. It is often confused with a closely related species, the less common merchant grain beetle, Oryzaephilus mercator (Fauvel).Store grains offer ample food sources for a number of insect pests. Good storage management practices are aimed at excluding grain feeding insects while maintaining grain quality. The longer grain is held in storage, the greater the need to maintain good management practices, such as sanitation and residual sprays. When proper management is ignored, populations of insects which have been feeding and reproducing in grain residues are free to infest new grain. Once in the new grain, the insects continue to eat and reproduce. Substantial numbers of grain-infesting insects can reduce the value of grain or render it unfit for processing or feeding. Results of feeding by sawtoothed and merchant grain beetles can reduced grain weight and quality. The presence of live insects can result in dockage or rejection of the grain. LIFE CYCLE The habits and development of the two species are similar. The merchant grain beetle, however, is less cold tolerant and lays only about one-half to two-thirds as many eggs as does the sawtoothed grain beetle. The adult merchant grain beetles are strong fliers and may originate from other areas; they also are introduced into new grain from contaminated grain. The adults of the sawtoothed grain beetle, on the other hand, cannot fly and must be introduced from contaminated grain. Adults live an average of six to ten months, but can live as long as three years. The females lay between 43 and 285 eggs during their lifetime. Eggs are dropped loosely among grain kernels or tucked into a crevice in a kernel. The tiny eggs are slender and white, and hatch in three to five days when environmental conditions are optimal (80° to 85°F). The larvae emerge and crawl freely about the grain to feed on broken kernels. Larger larvae may tunnel into kernels to feed. Larvae mature in about two weeks, and construct cocoon-like coverings by joining together small grains or pieces of grain. Within these structures the larvae pupate. the pupal stage lasts about a week. Total development from egg to adult requires about three to four weeks. DESCRIPTION OF LIFE STAGES The egg and larval stages of both insects cannot be distinguished without special training. The adults of both species, however, can be distinguished by head shape, eye and body size, and color. In the merchant grain beetle the eye diameter is larger than the temple region behind the eye, and the head is rectangular. the sawtoothed grain beetle, in contrast, has smaller eyes and a more triangular shaped head. The merchant grain beetle is somewhat larger and darker brown. Because both species are approximately 1/10-inch long, the larger size of the merchant grain beetle is difficult to assess in the grain bin. The most descriptive characteristic of both species is the six saw-like teeth found on either edge of the pronotum. DAMAGE Although broken kernels are the preferred food of both species, sound kernels will sometimes be penetrated and fed on. The dry weight of grain may be reduced, but total weight may increase because of water absorption caused by the metabolic processes of insect populations. Molds may begin to grow on the gain, further reducing grain quality and value. The presence of live insects and/or insect parts can also result in reduction of grain value. In some cases, grain can be rejected at the terminal.
Cigarette Beetle Introduction The cigarette beetle is a common insect that infests many types of stored products. It often is confused with a related species, the drugstore beetle, Stegobium paniceum (Linnaeus), which is more elongate in proportion to its width and has distinctly striated wing covers. The cigarette beetle is an important pest of dried plant materials such as herbs, spices, and dried flowers.
Description The adult cigarette beetle is a small, stout, oval, reddish-yellow or brownish-red beetle about 0.1 inch (2-3 mm) long. The head is bent down at nearly a right angle to the body, giving the beetle a humped appearance when viewed from the side. Unlike those of the drugstore beetle, the wing covers are not striated, and the antennae are the same thickness from base to tip. Cigarette beetle larvae are yellowish-white and grub-shaped, with three sets of forelegs and a brown head capsule. Cigarette beetle larvae are hairier than those of the drugstore beetle. The larvae are about 0.1 inch long when fully grown. Life History Adult cigarette beetles live 2 to 4 weeks. Adult females lay as many as 100 eggs singly on food materials. The eggs are white and oval-shaped and hatch in 6 to 10 days. After hatching, the larvae tunnel through the food material, causing destruction of the grain and contamination. They become fully grown in 30 to 50 days and enter the pupal stage, which lasts 8 to 10 days or more, depending on the temperature. Pupae are covered by a silken cocoon and bits of their food material. The entire life cycle may take from 45 to 50 days. The developmental period from egg to adult is quite variable, but typically takes 6 to 8 weeks under favorable conditions. Damage This is the most important insect pest of stored tobacco. Package and chewing tobaccos, cigars, and cigarettes that have been attacked by cigarette beetles have holes eaten through the tobacco. Cigarette beetle adults and larvae also are omnivorous pests of other stored products. They can be found in stored grains, where they feed on debris or dead insects and damage the grain. Their main impact in households is on stored commodities, such as spices, rice, ginger, raisins, pepper, drugs, seeds, and dried flower arrangements. They even feed on pyrethrum powder strong enough to kill cockroaches.
Drugstore Beetle The drugstore beetle, Stegobium paniceum (Linnaeus), is a common insect that infests stored foods, seeds, and other materials. The drugstore beetle gets its name by feeding on pharmaceutical drugs. It is often confused with a related species the cigarette beetle, Lasioderma serricorne (Fabricius), which is less elongate in proportion to width and has no striation on its wing covers. The drugstore beetle is not a major pest of stored gains, but can be found from time to time in grain bins.
DESCRIPTION Adult drugstore beetles are very active and can be identified by their rapid skittering movement. The beetles are about one-tenth inch long, light brown to red brown, cylindrical, and have humpbacks. Their bodies are covered with fine, silky pubescence, and they have distinct grooves in their wing covers. Drugstore beetles have antenna that end in three enlarged segments. LIFE HISTORY Female drugstore beetle lays eggs singly in almost any dry organic substance. The eggs are oval and white and hatch in six to ten days after deposited. Small white grubs emerge from the eggs and then tunnel through these substances. The larvae have six to nine instars and are about two-tenths inch long when fully developed. The larvae form a small cocoon of silk and food material in which they pupate. Although the entire life cycle can be completed in from forty to fifty days, there is generally only one generation per year in stored grains. DAMAGE On-farm grain storage, particularly of corn, is increasing in Ohio. Stored grains offer ample food sources for a number of insect pests. Good storage management practices are aimed at excluding grain feeding insects while maintaining grain quality. The longer grain is held in storage, the greater the need to maintain good management practices, such as sanitation and residual sprays. When proper management is ignored, populations of insects which have been feeding and reproducing in grain residues are free to infest new grain. Once in the new grain, the insects continue to eat and reproduce. Substantial numbers of grain-infesting insects can reduce the value of grain or render it unfit for processing or feeding. Results of feeding by insects can reduce grain weight and quality. The presence of live insects can result in dockage or rejection of the grain. These beetles are very general feeders that attack a great variety of stored foods, seeds, and other materials, and they reportedly “eat anything except cast iron.” Their food includes practically all dry plant and animal products. They may be found in stored grains where they feed on debris or dead insects and damage grain. Their main impact, however, is on grain value. Their presence in grain can result in rejection of the grain by grain buyers. When insects are present in a grain bin, other problems such as high moisture and molding are usually affecting grain quality.
Confused Flour Beetle and Red Flour Beetle The confused flour beetle, Tribolium confusum Jacquelin du Val, is a common insect that attacks stored grains and foods in the pantry. This insect has a world wide distribution and is very abundant in the United States. It generally feeds on 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. A closely related species, the red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum (Herbst), is often found associated with the confused flour beetle. These two species are difficult to distinguish, particularly in the larval stage of development. The Problem in Ohio On-farm grain storage, particularly of corn, is increasing in Ohio. Stored grains offer ample food sources for a number of insect pests. Good storage management practices are aimed at excluding grain feeding insects while maintaining grain quality. Grain that has not been screened of fine materials and broken kernels is particularly susceptible to attack by these two species of insects. The longer grain is held in storage, the greater the need to maintain good management practices, such as sanitation and residual sprays. When proper management is ignored, populations of insects which have been feeding and reproducing in grain residues are free to infest new grain. Once in the new grain, the insects continue to eat and reproduce. Substantial numbers of grain-infesting insects can reduce grain weight and quality. The presence of live insects can result in dockage or rejection of the grain. Life Cycle The adult beetles are very active and move about rapidly when disturbed. The average life of adults is about one year. Females lay an average of about 450 eggs, which are small and clear white. The eggs are laid loosely on fine materials and broken kernels where the adults reside. The eggs are covered with a sticky secretion which the fine material adheres to. Fresh material placed in a grain bin will become rapidly infested if previous grain residue is not removed. Larvae (small brownish-white worms) hatch in five to twelve days and are full-grown in one to four months. Full grown larva are about three-sixteenths inch long and tinged with yellow. These larvae feed on fine materials and broken grain kernels. The larvae transform into small naked pupae, which are white at first and then gradually change to yellow and then to brown and shortly afterwards into the reddish-brown adult beetle. The period from egg to adult averages about six weeks under favorable weather conditions, but is greatly prolonged by cold weather, as is true of all grain pests. The life cycle of the red flour beetle is usually shorter than the confused flour beetle. Description of Life Stages The confused flour beetle is a shiny, flattened, oval, reddish-brown beetle about one-seventh of an inch long. The head and upper parts of the thorax are densely covered with minute punctures. The wing covers are ridged lengthwise and are sparsely punctured between the ridges. The antennae of the confused flour beetle gradually enlarge toward the tip, producing a four-segment club. The red flour beetle is similar in appearance. The main distinguishing characteristics are the shape of the antennae, the head margin, and the shape of the pronotum. The red flour beetle’s antennae enlarge abruptly at the last segment giving the antennae a knobbed appearance. The head margin of this species is nearly continuous at the eyes and does not have a ridge over the eye. The pronotum is widest in the middle as compared to the confused flour beetle where the pronotum is wider toward the front margin. The wing covers are not as deeply ridged as the confused flour beetle. Damage The confused and red flour beetles cannot feed on whole undamaged grain; they are, however, often found among dust, fines, and dockage. The beetles do cause damage by feeding but probably cause more problems by contaminating the grain. Large numbers of dead bodies, cast skins, and fecal pellets, as well as liquids (quinones), can produce extremely pungent odors in grain. The nauseous smell and taste caused by infestations of confused and red flour beetles can result in poor feed consumption by livestock and rejection by grain buyers. In most cases, the presence of live insects in a grain bin indicates that moisture buildup and molds are also present. The combination of these three factors can greatly reduce the quality and value of grain.
Black Carpet Beetle and Varied Carpet Beetle The black carpet beetle is a common carpet beetle in Ohio. The larvae eat almost any type of animal product such as leather, wool, silk, feathers, hair, dried meat, dead insects, and even dried plant material. The black carpet beetle is a pest in kitchen cupboards, as well as in woolen carpets or clothes storage areas. Description The adult is 2.8 to 5 mm long, black to reddish brown and covered with short, sparse pubescence. The first segment of the tarsi of the hind legs is much shorter than the second segment. The last antennal segment of the male is twice as long as that of the female. The larvae of the black carpet beetle, which may reach 12.7 mm in length, are very different from other carpet beetles’ larvae. They are elongate, carrot-shaped, golden to chocolate brown, and have a tuft of very long, curled, golden-brown hair at the tail end of their body. Life History The small, pearly-white egg can be deposited in the lint around baseboards, in the ductwork of hot-air furnace systems, on wool clothing in storage, and in similar protected locations. The egg hatches in 6 to 11 days in warm weather, but may require an additional 5 to 16 days under cooler conditions. The newly hatched larvae scavenge for food (they will eat dander, hair, and other small bits of food high in protein), avoid light, and move so slowly that they appear to be gliding. At room temperature, the larval life span ranges from 258 to 639 days. This variation is due largely to fluctuations in temperature, food quality, and relative humidity. The larvae may molt 5 to 11 times, and up to 20 times when conditions are unfavorable. The larval skins often are mistaken for the larvae themselves. The larvae pupate in the last larval skin, and the pupal period may extend from 6 to 24 days. The beetles may remain in the partially shed pupal skin from 2 to 20 days before emerging. Black carpet beetles usually overwinter in the larval stage. Adults may live from 2 weeks to several months, but never damage household goods in this stage. Unlike the larvae, they are attracted to light. They are active and often can be found around windows and outdoors on flowers, eating the pollen. The females commence egg laying on the larval food materials or in dark secluded places less than one week after emergence. A female can lay from 42 to 114 eggs, and averages around 50; she generally dies a few days after oviposition. How do Black Carpet Beetles Get Into the House? The adults are attracted to flowers, and in the spring of the year they may fly into the house. The larvae may wander from the nest into the attic and other parts of the house. At times, birds and other animals die in chimneys and elsewhere in the house and their carcasses become a source of food for the larvae. Very often, the black carpet beetles are brought into the house with old woolens and carpeting. Sometimes the black carpet beetles are introduced into a dwelling in stored products such as dried dog food. It is not uncommon to find one or two black carpet beetles in a house. An occasional black carpet beetle larva probably is not an indication of a serious problem; however, if you regularly encounter large numbers of larvae or adults, find the source of the infestation and institute the following control measures. Management Successful control depends on locating the source of the infestation. It may be a woolen toy stored in the basement, soiled woolen socks in boots, a felt hat on a shelf, carcasses of birds or other animals, dead insects in walls or attic, bits of dried dog food, or similar materials. If you find the infested material, either clean it or destroy the item. Where the beetles are widespread and no point source of infestation is found, you may apply one of the various insecticides and chemical formulations that are available for carpet beetle control. Diatomaceous earth and silica aerogel that cause insects to lose moisture are known as desiccants. Apply them as a dust to cracks and crevices or inject them into wall voids. They are only effective if they remain dry, and work best where water sources are eliminated or reduced. You can apply synthetic pyrethroids such as deltamethrin, cyfluthrin, lambda-cyhalothrin, cypermethrin, sumithrin, or tralomethrin to cracks as a water-based spray. When injected into dark crevices, the materials have a longer period of efficacy because they are not in direct sunlight. Crevices where lint, hair, and food particles have accumulated are places likely to be infested by carpet beetles. CLINICAL SYMPTOMS Various reports describe, what appears to be an acquired allergic reaction to carpet beetle larval hairs and hemolymph (insect blood). These hypersensitivity reactions are characterized by complaints of being bitten by something causing an intense itching and rash. Additionally, in some patients, irritation of the respiratory tract and eyes may develop. Apparently, only individuals that have long-term exposure (years) to these hairs become sensitized.
Casemaking and Webbing Clothes Moth Both the webbing clothes moth and the casemaking clothes moth are worldwide in distribution, feed on animal by-products such as furs, wool carpets, and tapestries, and can cause damage to stored woolen clothing. Although the webbing clothes moth is more common in Pennsylvania and other northern states, both can be found in Ohio.
Description The webbing clothes moth adults are about 7–8 mm in length when the wings are folded back over the body. The wings are a golden buff color with a fringe of long hairs on the margins. The head has a tuft of reddish hairs. Mature larvae are 12–13 mm long and feed on woolens beneath a constructed blanket of silk, feces, and pieces of the food source. The bodies are white or cream with a brown head capsule. The larvae have no ocelli (eyes). It is common to find the larvae feeding under cuffs, collars, and other hidden parts of clothing. The casemaking clothes moth adults are similar in size and shape to the webbing clothes moth although the top of the head has no tuft of reddish hairs. The wings (at least in fresh specimens) exhibit three dark spots, but on older moths, the spots are frequently rubbed off. The larvae are 10–12 mm long and are colored similarly to the webbing clothes moth larvae. However, they have one ocellus (eye) on each side of the head. Unlike the webbing clothes moth larvae, the casemaking clothes moths construct a tube or bag that they occupy and carry with them. This tube, made of silk and pieces of wool, may be very difficult to see because it is the same color as the item being eaten. Life History Larva of the casemaking clothes moth. Clothes moths mate and deposit their eggs usually within 1–2 days of emergence from the pupae. The females do not live long (3–16 days) after egg deposition although the males of the webbing clothes moth can survive for about one month. The eggs hatch in 4–10 days in the summer, but may take up to three or more weeks in the winter. Depending on temperature and humidity, total developmental time (from egg to adult) varies from one to three months and can extend up to three or more years in some situations. Males and females from both species shun light and are frequently overlooked by homeowners. When discovered, the adults are more likely to try to escape by running rapidly than by flying. Management Proper diagnosis of the pest is the first step in gaining control. Woolens damaged by the clothes moth exhibit furrows in the surface, which is caused by the larvae’s habit of “grazing.” Occasionally, and during heavy infestations, the woolens will have holes. When larvae infest furs or hairbrushes, they clip off the individual hairs close to the surface. Larvae can infest cast pet hairs that are trapped under baseboards or in the air return vents of heating systems. They also have been found in vacant wasp nests and feed on insects that have died in wall voids or attics. Because of this, it is important to practice thorough cleaning of the home using a good vacuum cleaner. In many instances clothes moths can be prevented and/or controlled solely by vacuuming. Be sure to dispose of the vacuum bag when finished. The webbing clothes moth will feed on hair, wool, fur, feathers, and similar animal products. Synthetics, cottons, and other plant materials are not attacked by the webbing clothes moth larvae unless these items are stained with food or body oils. The casemaking clothes moths will attack any of the following: felts; dried carcasses or taxidermy mounts; wool clothing, carpets, or tapestries; feathers; furs; and plant-derived materials such as dried herbs, tobacco, tea, hemp, pharmaceuticals, and seeds and seed products. If infested, clothing, blankets, and tapestries should be laundered or dry cleaned, and stored in an airtight container or bag. Small carpets and throw rugs can be beaten and brushed while hanging from an outside line to remove most, if not all, eggs and larvae. Large area rugs and carpets should be treated by professional pest management companies (pest control companies). Never apply pesticides to clothing or bedding. Before using any pesticide, thoroughly read the label and do not apply to any carpet, upholstery, or other site unless it is specifically listed in the directions for use.
Psocids These tiny insects are frequently associated with damp conditions feeding chiefly on mold. The presence of mold is not needed for their survival but damp conditions are. These insects have a tremendous reproductive capacity and a population of a few can reach millions in a few short months. As a result their main damage is due to contamination of various food products.
Introduction Booklice, also called psocids, are not true lice. While they resemble lice in size and shape, booklice feed only on fungi or mold. If you find them in grain or other stored food products, it is an indication of high humidity which encourages mold growth. In addition to food products, psocids may be found under wallpaper, in furniture, along the sides of windows or on window sills around potted plants. Booklice do not bite, transmit disease, or damage food or fabric, but they can be very annoying when present in large numbers.
Biology Booklice found inside homes are wingless and very tiny: less than 1/16 of an inch long. While their back legs are thicker than the other four, and resemble the legs found in jumping insects, booklice do not jump, but run about rather quickly.
Adult booklice range in color from translucent white to gray or brown. Females can produce about 60 eggs during the warm summer months and their life cycle (from egg to adult) can be completed in less than one month. When cool temperatures prevail, female booklice produce fewer eggs and the time required to complete their life cycle is over three months. Females deposit their eggs singly and often conceal them by covering with debris. Booklice undergo simple metamorphosis, that is their nymphs look just like adults except that they are much smaller and sexually immature. The common house-infesting booklice normally have four nymphal stages.
Injury Booklice feed on molds and will overrun cereals and similar materials that support mold growth. Their presence, therefore, is a nuisance and can render some foods unfit. The starchy paste of wallpaper and books also can support mold growth or may be attacked directly by booklice. Outside of annoyance, their damage is insignificant.
Management The best way to control booklice is to eliminate moist environmental conditions. Reducing the humidity in your home will eliminate the mold on which the booklice feed. Lowering the relative humidity to less than 50% will prevent their development. An air space under potted plants on windowsills will help keep the humidity down and reduce mold growth. Throw away any infested food material and make sure other foods are kept dry. Pesticides are not normally necessary to control booklice in homes.
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