What is the world’s most expensive pest?

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A report commissioned by Rentokil’s parent global company, Rentokil Initial, reveals that on average stored product insects cost businesses around $35,941 each year. This is a cost that more than doubles the expenses associated with a typical pest infestation – making stored product insects the world’s most expensive pest.

Food processors, especially, often face significant challenges with stored product insects, due to the multitude of ingredients and products found in these facilities that can be food sources.

Stored product pests, often generically called “pantry pests,” are comprised of a broad range of pests including certain species of beetles, weevils, and moths, along with their larvae.

Judy Black, Vice President, Technical Services for Rentokil and a Board Certified Entomologist, gives the following advice for food processing facilities on dealing with stored product insects:

  • Have an inspection process for incoming products and ingredients. Since stored product insects can be brought in on grains or in already processed ingredients, inspecting incoming shipments for pests, larvae, and signs of their presence – small holes in packaging or webbing – is critical to keeping pests out of your facility.
  • If you identify contaminated product, quarantine it immediately so that these pests do not migrate to other areas of your facility. Remember, adult stored product insects can fly.
  • Clean up spillage and dusts. Stored product pests will infest even the smallest amount of product, so having a rigorous cleaning program in place can help significantly reduce the likelihood of infestation. This even includes build up of grain or dried product dusts that result from processing.
  • Utilize insect light traps at potential entry points to help catch stored product insects before they can reach valuable products.
  • Speak with your pest management provider about instituting a pheromone monitoring program that can alert you to a potential stored product pest problem early, before an infestation has time to grow.

The infographic below calls out some of the factors that help to make stored product insects the world’s most expensive pests.

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