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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Ecology, Genomics, and Management of Stored Product Insects

Location: Stored Product Insect and Engineering Research

Title: Distribution, abundance, and seasonal patterns of stored product beetles in a commercial food storage facility

item Arthur, Franklin - Frank
item Campbell, James - Jim
item Toews, M.

Submitted to: Journal of Stored Products Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/13/2013
Publication Date: 2/14/2014
Publication URL:
Citation: Arthur, F.H., Campbell, J.F., Toews, M.D. 2014. Distribution, abundance, and seasonal patterns of stored product beetles in a commercial food storage facility. Journal of Stored Products Research. 56:21-31. DOI:

Interpretive Summary: Several beetle species can be major pests of stored food products, but there are few studies where resident populations have been monitored for more than one year in commercial facilities. We monitored beetle populations in a food warehouse for three years using attractants. The focal points of infestation shifted during the storage period, but beetles were found even in areas of the warehouse where no food products were stored. Specific sites were identified where beetles were most prevalent. Actual numbers of beetles fluctuated depending on the amount and location of goods in the warehouse, and also show that the movement of goods into and out of the warehouse affected insect populations. Results demonstrate how targeted monitoring of insect pests can aid in making management decisions, while taking into account the dynamic nature of insect infestations inside active commercial facilities.

Technical Abstract: A three-year monitoring study was performed using pitfall traps baited with pheromone lures and food oil to assess seasonal prevalence of stored product beetles inside a large community food storage warehouse located in the Midwestern US. The four primary species captured were Tribolium castaneum (Herbst), Lasioderma serricorne (F.), Oryzaephilus surinamensis (L.), and Trogoderma variable (Ballion). During the first year, T. castaneum was the dominant species, comprising 79% of the total beetle species caught in the traps. This species declined the next year to 2% of the total and L. serricorne, O. surinamensis, and T. variable were the dominant species. During the final year total numbers of these three species declined, but they were still the primary species caught in the traps. Few or no beetles of any species were trapped between November and June in any year, probably due to lower temperatures inside the warehouse. Beetle captures among trap locations varied considerably during the study, likely due to movement of food products into and out of the warehouse, and movement of products and beetle populations within the warehouse. All four primary species were also consistently caught in traps placed in zones within the warehouse where no food products were stored. Specific traps and zones within the warehouse were identified as primary activity sites based on comparisons among trap locations and contour mapping of the yearly and total infestation patterns. Results show how monitoring data could be used to identify those areas within a food storage site that are most vulnerable to insect infestation.

Last Modified: 06/23/2017
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