Outdoor trapping, making it work for you

Outdoor trapping, making it work for you

Outdoor trapping can be one of the most important, and most overlooked elements of your pheromone program. Read on to learn why it is important as well as some common misconceptions, and how to set up a program.

Knowing the pest pressure coming from outdoors can explain interior trap catches that don’t seem to relate to an infestation indoors..  Several types of common food pests can exist in large numbers in the wild and may just be waiting to come inside. The most common source for some of these insects in residential areas may be from nearby trees that have dropped acorns, walnuts, hickory nuts etc, in the autumn months. Another common source is bird seed in a neighbor’s garage that becomes infested. In industrial settings, infestations can come from nearby food manufacturing facilities, spilled grain on rail tracks, spillage from grain bins, or from grain that has fallen on the ground in agriculture fields.

It is common and perfectly reasonable question to ask “If I’m putting pheromone traps near my facility, aren’t I attracting insects to come in?!” The short answer is “no.” Pheromone traps attract only males who are incapable of infesting product. Also, if you are catching insects in your traps you know that the insects are ALREADY THERE If you know you are catching males in your pheromone traps, females are present as well but are not drawn to the trap. The information you are gaining from your outdoor trapping program can be used to enhance your pest program as well as reduce infestations

Warm months are the best time to monitor your outside insect pressure. The most common food insects found outdoors are warehouse beetle, Indian meal moth, and cigarette beetle. Your goal is to create an outdoor perimeter by placing traps 30-50’ away from the building being monitored. Place the traps approximately 50’ apart if possible, larger facilities may require 75-100’. Tie off the traps on existing fences, trees or onto stakes placed into the ground. Doorways and outdoor loading docks are one of your biggest sources of infiltration meaning that these areas should have a greater concentration of outdoor monitors. Aim for 20-30’ spacing in these high-risk areas.

Outdoor trapping can provide you with real information to help you solve your individual pest problem. Outdoor trapping kits are available at Insects Limited here: Warehouse Beetle and Indian Meal Moth. For other insects or for use and placement advice call us anytime and our helpful staff can put together a custom kit to fit your program.


Bad Bugs: Clothes Moths

By Alain VanRyckeghem, BCE
Technical Director

Webbing Clothes Moth

Identification: Webbing clothes moths (WCM) Tineola bisselliella are the most common of the moths attacking stored materials containing feathers, wool, or hair. It has a uniform shiny gold color with a reddish orange tuft of hairs on the head. The casemaking
clothes moth (CMCM) Tinea pellionella is less common and appears as uniform silvery
grey to shiny light brown, with dark grayish hairs on the top of the head and often with a small dot in the middle of the forewings. Both moths are similar in size, about 5–6 mm (3/16”) head to wingtip.

Life Cycle: The typical time to complete the life cycles for these moths can be in the 5–12 week range under optimum conditions, but as long as 16 weeks to a couple of years under adverse conditions. The WCM favors a warm environment with relative humidity (RH) in the 70% range, but can tolerate RH to 30%. The CMCM develops faster in higher RH, near 90%, and prefers cooler temperatures. The optimum temperature for WCM is 84–87° F while CMCM prefer 74–77°F. Adult WCM will live for up to 4 weeks, whereas the CMCM will only live for a week.

Biology and Behavior: Webbing clothes moths are most active indoors from April to November. They may also be caught in traps near the exterior of homes (see article about outdoor trapping of WCM). In well heated homes these moths can be caught in monitoring traps in the winter months as well. In December 2011, our room temperature lab cultures had more than 10,000 WCM in larval form and about 30% emerged as adults for the Christmas celebrations! Unlike CMCM we do not see the WCM having any significant natural breeding habitat outside of human habitation. CMCM can often be found in small nests of birds or in unheated buildings with bird activity or farm animals.

Webbing clothes moths are reluctant to fly, especially females, if located in storage areas with edible garments or antique materials with feather, hair, fur, or with woolen floor coverings. They run very quickly when disturbed and hide from bright lights. The
cream colored larvae have brown head capsules and freely run around the infested materials, sometimes within silken tunnels. They usually produce white pupae on the infested material; leaving damage that resembles granular pepper and short trails of webbing.

Case-making clothes moths are considered excellent fliers and can easily move about a structure looking for new harborage sites in ideal temperature and humidity zones. The larvae have black head capsules and travel about within a case of woven material that often contains the colored threads of the infested article. Damage is similar to WCM except that there will be no streaks of webbing and often the pupation may be away from the site of infestation, perhaps on a wall or a ceiling.

Monitoring and Control: The behavior of the two moths dictates the proper choice of trap and lure. Webbing clothes moths prefer to hop and jump into a trap, with a three pheromone blend lure, sitting on a shelf, a cabinet, or floor, in a drawer or under
furniture. The CMCM prefers to fly into a trap rather than land and walk into it. Hanging traps with a single pheromone lure is the best choice for this moth. While there can be some cross attraction to the lures by each moth, research has shown that best results are achieved when using the proper lure for the moth species present.

Control of these pests requires considerable effort on the part of the home owner or commercial client. Moth traps can capture lots of moths, but like food moth infestations, if the source of the moths (larvae) is not removed, treated or frozen, then the traps continue to harvest moths, while the damage caused by larvae continues to grow. Some structural
treatment of the home or building and floor coverings can help reduce the activity, but a careful examination of the wardrobe and storage rooms/closets is necessary to find the hidden infestations.

Start with the Insect First

Start with the Insect First

By David K. Mueller, BCE


One insect is found more often than any other stored food and grain insect in the United States, Japan and Europe. This is the Indianmeal moth (a.k.a. Miller moth, Mealy moth, and Grain moth). This small moth alone is responsible for much of the problems associated with seed, popcorn, natural health food, pet food, cereal based mixes, candy, nuts, and stored grain products. Let’s take a look at this “Dirty Rat” that spends your money so freely and causes 100’s of millions of dollars in finished food to be discarded each year:

• The IMM female lays between 350-500 eggs in her short life span.

• The adult IMM only lives for 7-10 days and doesn’t eat but may drink (often found in the sink, vase, or toilet).

• She lays her eggs at night singly or in clusters up to 40.

• She lays her eggs where they have a better chance of surviving. This is near creases in bags containing food or seed where they are hidden from egg parasites.

• The IMM larva can survive outdoors during our worst winters only to start a new generation in the spring. The larval stage of the IMM is the damaging and the overwintering stage.

• The larva stage lasts for two weeks or longer and goes through 5-6 molts before reaching the pupa stage.

Penetrating Packaging

The first instar larva is small enough to crawl through this period (.). It vigorously searches for the smell of food and searches packaged materials until it finds a small defect in the package and then penetrates. If it doesn’t find food in two days, it will die. It is amazing to most humans how this insect finds a way into a package. However, millions of years of evolution have taught it and its offspring to find a meal or die.

After finding food, the larva eats and starts to grow. It now spins a single silken thread from spinnerets under its mouth. This webbing has several purposes. It helps the larva crawl across surfaces. This could be the surface of a grain or a burlap bag. The IMM webbing left by the larva acts as an oviposition site (egg laying) for females to cue in on an area than other moths have used to survive and grow. In the winter months the thick webbing acts as a blanket and can help the moths stay warm, continue growing, propagate; and it forms a protective layer against its natural parasitic enemies.

During the sixth instar (molting stage) the IMM larvae needs to wander from this site. This inherent need to wonder causes it to chew out the bag that it once penetrated as a small first instar larva. The IMM larvae will graze across a plastic bag, testing it occasionally for weakness. When it finds a weak spot, it will begin the laborious task of slashing at it with its rasping mouthparts (like a sickle). After hundreds of slashes it may break through or go on to another location. This is much like a man trying to dig a hole in the ground. Some locations are hard and rocky and some are soft and easy. The larva will then crawl though the round hole and may find a nice safe cardboard fluted box or a 90-degree angle to secure itself. The pupa stage is a defenseless quiescent stage that is vulnerable to attack by natural predators. The larva carefully chooses safe perch to start pupation. This will be the location where the IMM adult will dry its wings when it emerges from its transformation to take the first flight of its life, perhaps into a sticky pheromone trap.

The first generation of IMM in much of North America emerges from the overwintering (large) larva in April-May. In the tropical regions of the United States it can stay active most of the year. This moth doesn’t like to fly when the temperatures are below 62-65° F or less. Pheromone traps should be placed when temperatures reach 60° degrees F/ 17° C or higher.

The IMM goes through a new generation every 4-6 weeks during the warm summer months and 5-8 weeks in the cooler months. In the insect rearing lab at Insects Limited, Inc. we can shorten a generation of IMM to 18 days when the temperatures are set for 29 C/ 85 F and 60% relative humidity on a special diet.

In the Midwest we normally have 3 generations per year (400 x 400 x 400 offspring). In warm summers like the ones we have experienced in the past five years, we are getting 4 generations per year (400 x 400 x 400 x 400 offspring). The reproductive potential then is 26 billion IMM from one pair. With the number of 90-degree weather days doubling last year in many parts of the country, one can see how this moth has been such a nuisance.

The IMM does not carry diseases known to man or causes health problems like mosquitoes, bees, or flies. It is a nuisance pest that contaminates food in your home and your factory with its presence or its webbing. It lives outdoors naturally and feeds on grass seed and cereal protein.

In a survey conducted by Dr. M. Hirao of Japan, over 95% of the 200 households survey from around Japan had IMM indoors and also outdoors.

The IMM does not like hot weather. They are seldom found in the tropical areas like Southeast Asia or Hawaii. Found there are related cousinslike the Rice moth, or the Cocoa moth. The temperate region of the world is where the IMM survives best.

One characteristic that Alain Van Ryckeghem of Insects Limited, Inc. recently discovered is that the IMM adults like to stay near the walls. The pheromone traps near the center of the room capture fewer adult males than the ones near walls. The adult moth seems to prefer resting on the walls in a vertical posture. Pheromone traps are very effective in locating IMM. The traps should be placed in a convenient location away from children or fork truck operators. Write the date on the trap when they are first placed and again when the lures are changed. The lures should be changed every 8-10 weeks indoor and 4 weeks outdoors. The traps should be changed when dust accumulates on the sticky surface or the numbers of moths make change necessary. Check the traps weekly if possible and remove all captured insects. Keep excellent records and maps of trap location. Predicting future population trends will be possible by closely evaluated and mapping the collected data.


Pest management begins with prevention and monitoring. The pheromone traps for stored product insects shouldn’t be considered a control tool but rather sensitive detection and monitoring tool. The accumulated data will help predict future populations for pest insects and better determine the best time for directing a pesticide control program. After several years of collecting data a pest manager can fine-tune his/her pest management program to compensate for unusually warm weather or other circumstances that arise. The Indianmeal moth is predictably programmed through 1000’s of years of evolution. It is a controllable nuisance pest of store products. It all starts with knowing the pest… Knowing the pest is half the battle in controlling it.

The All Beetle Trap

By Alain VanRyckeghem, BCE Technical Director

For many years, Insects Limited has sold beetle traps from several different manufacturers and has sold its own Pantry Patrol and PC Floor trap alongside them. By working with these traps we have seen a variety of good and bad trap characteristics available in a wide price range. Recently we decided to take the better trap characteristics, eliminate the bad and create a newly designed trap. After two years of design and prototype testing, the All Beetle Trap™ is ready for sale. This pheromone lure contains beetle pheromones for Red flour beetle and Confused flour beetle (Tribolium spp), Cigarette beetle (Lasioderma serricorne), Warehouse beetle (Trogoderma spp.), Rice weevil (Sitophilus spp), and will attract over 20 species of stored product beetles.

New All Beetle Trap

Nestle Purina Pet Care Food Safety Symposium

by Tom Mueller Sales Manager

What is Downstream Collaboration?

Let’s take the Nestle Purina Pet Care Food Safety Symposium as an example. 120 members of the pet food manufacturer’s supply chain gathered in downtown St. Louis, MO for 3 days in September.

After nearly 20 years of hosting this symposium, Kim Kemp (Director of Food Safety), Alexandria Hammel (QA Specialist), and Stefan Goodis (Program Manager) of Nestle Purina have perfected downstream collaboration by inviting experts of stored product pests and the food safety industry to speak to the elite crowd of 120 people about how to protect the brand they have worked so hard to establish.


Among the attendees were representatives from Nestle Purina supply chain distribution, warehousing, manufacturing, retail, and professionals hired to manage pest control. They gathered to absorb information on how to protect their facilities from stored product pests and food pathogens. Everyone was encouraged to take the valuable information and implement it in their own food safety programs. Congratulation’s Kim Kemp and the Purina Food Safety Team for training 1000’s of pest management professionals over the past 20 years. You have made a difference.




Foodborne Illness

There are approximately 76 million cases of food-related illness in the United that we have watched grow up.” States each year. There are also about 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths. Under-developed countries experience about one billion cases annually and four to six million deaths.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 97 percent of all cases of food-borne illness come from improper food handling. Most of these (79%) are from commercial establishments, while the other 21 percent originate in the home.


New ZIKA Treatment Standards

United States Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Services (FAS) Update on China’s Requirements for shipment from ZIKA-INFECTED Countries

This information is from the FAS understanding of China’s measures impacting goods exported from the United States with regard to control of Zika virus, as of August 19, 2016. This is not official USDA guidelines regarding compliance with China’s new policies for shipments from Zika-affected counties. Please bear in mind that this information may change as further clarifications and updates are made available to FAS from counterparts, and industry stakeholders clarify implementation of the new requirements and minimize potential trade disruptions.



Chinese authorities require all cargo originating from the United States to provide proof of disinfection upon arrival at the Chinese port, either air or sea. This applies to all vessels that left the United States on or after August 5, with the exception of containers kept at or under temperatures of 15 C (59 F).

Disinfection treatment may be carried oChina’s policy applies to Zika and yellow fever and will remain in effect until March 2017, subject to adjustment or renewal depending on the situationut by physical or chemical means and does not require fumigation. Chemical means could include surface spraying, space spraying, or fumigation, depending on the shipper’s choice.

Treatment can be carried out at any point during the shipping process. For example, it is acceptable for containers to be disinsected before loading, certified as mosquito free, then loaded in a mosquito-free environment.

For more information about fumigating containers and FAQs on this new international quarantine policy, go to http://www.fumigationzone.com or call 1.800.992.1991

Source: USDA