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The risks posed by Stored Product Insects

16 December 2019

The British Pest Control Association (BPCA) has created a guide for businesses at risk from the pests. 

An infestation of Stored Product Insects (SPIs) can damage reputations and result in hefty bill.

SPIs are a specific set of bugs which eat and lay eggs in stored products such as flour, rice, oats, cereals, dry dog food, tobacco and bird seed. They can enter the food chain at any point and cost the wider food production industry billions each year.

The BPCA has published a guide, along with a video, to raise awareness of the issue among food processors as well as offer guidance on tackling an infestation.

Natalie Bungay, BPCA technical officer, said: “Stored product insects are just a small array of the vast insect class, which is estimated to contain between six and 10 million species. The financial loss associated with SPIs is enormous. It is believed they are the world’s ‘most expensive pest’, costing billions each year in additional operating costs and loss of product.”

Businesses that handle any kind of cereal, grain or dried food products will be at risk of infestation from SPIs. They can cause the recall of products and the expense involved in issuing a recall, plus discarding infested or damaged products, is very high

Unlike many pests, SPIs – such as the rice weevil, biscuit beetle and mill moth – pose no significant health risk to humans, but can contaminate the food chain as well as leaving behind cast skins and pupal casings.

 “It is important for businesses dealing with food, particularly in the early stages of production, to take preventative measures against SPIs,” continued Bungay. “There should be a professional pest control contract in place, which includes a monitoring programme for pests using traps, which indicate if and when to treat.

“For any SPI infestation in a business, we would recommend contacting a professional pest management company. They are trained in SPI control and will have access to a range of professional use insecticides and tools, which are not available to the public. Knowing how much, where, and when to deploy products is where professionals are able to take control of situations efficiently.”

The BPCA’s A-Z Article, guide and video are available at

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