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Food Safety News

RKE Technical Bulletin – July 2021

Internal & External Feeders

Photo Courtesy of: world-grain.com

There are many species of insects classified as stored product (or grain) pests. Most of these are broken into “categories” as internal or external feeders. The principal pests that cause damage are the adult and larval stages of beetles, and the larval stage of moths. The names are self-explanatory, one feeds inside, and one outside. Insects are known as “internal feeders” if they feed within the kernels, otherwise they are referred to as “external feeders.” The granary weevil, rice weevil, lesser grain borer, and larvae of the Angoumois grain moth are all considered internal feeders. The larvae will enter a grain and feed from the inside out. Because of this, these destructive pests can remain undetected until adults emerge from the kernels, maximizing damage and minimizing detection.

External feeders (or “bran bugs”) that feed on grain dusts, cracked kernels, and grain debris without entering the kernel, include Indian meal moth, saw-toothed grain beetle, red and confused flour beetles, flat grain beetle, and cadelle. External feeders are typically discovered through inspection and cleaning activities which will allow for a faster reaction and will lessen the potential damage and contamination concerns. Cleaning and sanitation are proactive methods used for controlling such pests. Cleaning allows for a non-chemical control method which will often remove adults and larvae and break the life cycles of most pests. Chemicals should be used as a last resort, only after all other non-chemical control methods have been exhausted. Fumigation is one of the most effective methods of control with grains.

Submitted by: Rich Gibson ACE, CFSQA

The Sap Beetle

Order: Coleoptera Family: Nitidulidae Genus: Various Species: Various

The sap beetles, also known as Nitidulidae, are a family of beetles with various Genus and Species. Also known as picnic beetles, adult sap beetles are about ¼ inch (6.5 mm) in length, shiny black, and have four yellow-to-orange spots on the back of each wing cover. The tips of the antennae of both species are distinctively knobbed. The adult beetles are known to bore into ripe and/or overripe fruit to feed. The feeding, while quite damaging, also can create pathways for fungi and bacteria, resulting in increased incidence of fruit rots. Sap beetles overwinter as adults in decomposing organic matter and emerge to resume feeding after a warming trend of temperatures over 68° F. While there is only generation of sap beetles per year, populations tend to peak by midsummer.

Chemical control of sap beetles in fruit is very difficult, because applications to ripe fruit not only take place necessarily close to harvest, but also the beetles are inside the fruit, making them almost impossible to reach with conventional topical pesticide applications. There are no commercially acceptable biological controls for sap beetles in the field at this time. Sanitation in the field is probably the most powerful tool growers have in managing infestations of sap beetles. As damaged or overripe, rotten, and fermenting fruit are very attractive to sap beetles, the removal of this fruit will result in a reduction of sap beetles.

Some information attained from “UC Pest Management Guidelines”

Submitted by: Rich Gibson, ACE, CFSQA

Mice in the Ceilings

Photo Courtesy of: Google

A large commercial food manufacturer located in the central region had reported a mouse in the women’s restroom. The Service Supervisor for the region was dispatched to assist this client in their mouse concern. Upon arrival the Supervisor gathered the facts of the mouse sighting and begin the inspection process. During the thorough inspection, mouse droppings were observed on the toilet tank of the women’s restroom. Since mice are excellent climbers and prefer secluded areas to nest, the drop ceiling void area was inspected by removing some ceiling tiles, several additional mouse droppings were found in the void. The inspection was expanded from the women’s restroom into the drop ceiling of the office area. Several heavy areas of droppings were observed and had remove multiple pest devices from the previous pest company.

The old devices were removed and replaced with snap traps. It is suggested to tie a small piece of fishing line (or similar material) to the bar of the snap trap and leave the tag end of the string 4 inches below the tile visible from below the ceiling. This allows for easier identification of trap location as personnel can look for the string sticking through the tile. If it is no longer present, the trap has been set off. If the string is still present, the trap is untouched and still in place. This will save a lot of time during follow up services and inspections.

The inspection was further expanded to include the 2nd level loft above the waste dock compactor room. This area was found to have activity as well, and several additional snap traps were installed inside cardboard boxes and interior/exterior temporary mechanical traps. All devices were placed on a temporary schematic (map) and placed the RKE logbook to remain compliant with industry standards and best practices.

During the following three-weeks, a total of fourteen mice were removed from the compactor waste dock, four from the exterior mechanical traps, and four from the office area. The area above the office was cleaned and sanitized to help identify future activity. Since this intense service the facility has been rodent free.

Take Away Tips:
• Know the biology and habits of the target pest
• Look in areas which are secluded and quiet
• Clean droppings as they appear to ensure monitoring can take place
• Supplemental devices are essential in knocking down

Submitted by: Will Krough
Service Supervisor

RK Environmental Services, LLC

RK Environmental Services LLC • 768 Carver Avenue, Westwood, NJ 07675 • [email protected] • 800-996-4402


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