Pest control in the food industry

In the execution of an environmentmonitoring in the inside of a food industry (intended in the meaning of the 155/97, or better having a “system” of organized inspections and capable to alert a “system” of interventions or even corrective actions), we must hold in high esteem not only of the present infesting beings or also potential infesting beings, but also of the structural and also executive characteristic of the place. For this reason, each food industry even if it belongs to the same category (for example all the bakeries, all the food stores or every cannery, etc.) it ever represents a detached case.
Whether for the structural characteristics or for those executive they affect on the quantity of remains resent in the environment; besides can be nooks, anfractuosities and sheetings in a variable measure, stagnations of dampness for cracked pipes, good microclimates for the growth of insects, loosing of products from the establishments or from the movement, cleanliness and arrangements effectuated in different ways from an establishment to another.

Connected to all of these variables it changes the quantity and the diversity of the breeds of the insect fauna presents in the environment that, other than the insects typical of the foodstuff, it enriches of debris eaters, ruined product remaining, of mildews, mycelials and sporules. Straightaway arrive also the eaters of these insects in the shape of predators, parasitoids or breeds that simply integrate their diet with remain of insects.
As a general rule the insects that live on the debris are called detritals; generally they are Common insects in nature, which penetrates and grows where they find friendly conditions. Different breeds of detritals can still move on the foodstuff infesting them. Usually they are “secondary” infesting, or better they appear as a consequence of an attack already in progress, but obviously they increase the damages.

The majority of detritals more common in the food division and above all in the stores, belong to the order of Coleopteran and to the following families:

  • Cryptophageous
  • Cuckooids
  • Bacon beetles
  • Latrydids
  • Fungivorouses
  • Pollen beetles
  • Ptynids
  • Sylvanids
  • Tenebrionids


They are insets of small dimensions, with more or less hairy wing-sheathes packed in the prothorax. More Common are the Henoticus cali fornicus, imported from the North of America; they feed on mushrooms (Aspergillus, Penicillium) that grows on the remains or on the foodstuff not well preserved and the breed of the order Cryptophagus that feeds of sporules and fungal hyphas.


They are known as flat coleopterans of the grains and they are tiny and depressed coleopterans with long antennae and devois of bludgeon. The orders of Leptophilolus, Planolestes and more frequent Cryptolestes belong to this category, usually detrital, that is also discovered usually on the canned vegetables stuffs.


They are small insects (from 1 to 3 mm), they are longed, and endowed with claviform antennae and brown or black coloured. 35 breeds are enumerated and that have been discovered in the stores all over the world and a lot of these are Common also n our Country. They feed of Mildews and mushrooms and they do not attack directly the preserved foodstuffs, their presence is however to be considered as a negative healthy index. More common Italian breeds are the Thyphaea stercorea and the Mycetophagus quadriguttatus.


They are very easily recognizable because they are very little (from 2 to 4,5 mm), they are oval shaped, with clavated wing-sheathes s a lot of other coleopterans, but they have the wing-sheathes shortened and dorsally are looked 2 or 3 abdominal segments. The adults and the larvae feed of some foodstuffs that are stored (dry fruits, grains, spices, seeds) that however have a preference for them when they are affected with mushrooms and Mildews. More common breeds belong to the order of Carpophilus.


Among these sparkle the Ahasverus advena that can grow abnormally in the stores where is neglected the cleanliness and for this reason the remains are not taken away or they remain on the pallet or on the structures for a lot of time. The presence of mildewed foodstuffs or high environmental dampness expand similarly their number.


They are not real detritals because they live also in a lot of other environments and substrates. They feed of animal substances and, some of them, also of dried vegetables. Their presence among the remains of foodstuffs is widespread because, in the generality, they find what they need to survive and among them the remnants of other insects. The Antrenus spp. and the Attagenus spp. are very Common; in nature we meet the adults on the flowers and the larvae on the birds’ nests, in the rodents’ burrows and in the slaughtered animals.


They are called spider Woodworms and their rounded body and the long paws, have the same characteristics of the Pollen Beetles. In fact they grow on the greenstuffs of the substrates and dried animals and they live in a wide variety of environments. The Plinus, above all P.fur, grow on the fragments and their presence in the stores is very common. Gibbium psilloides, Mezium affine and Niptus hololeucus can relocate and increase on the stored foodstuffs.


They are more known as vermins of the foodstuffs, the Triboli are the main representatives, but we recall that some breeds can be discovered among the food remains of the stores: the Alphitiphagus bifasciatus feeds of mildews and the Palorus spp. prefers the mildewed cereals.


Another crowd of insects that we can find between the remains of food stores is that of Psocoptera, grossly known as book-louse, because they grow in the mildewed old books. Their growing is associated to a high environmental dampness. They feed of Mildews, mushrooms, yeasts, algae that are established on the bad stored foodstuffs and on the abandoned fragments on the floor, on the corners, on the shelves, inside the cracks of the machineries. They have a tiny dimension (from 1 to 3 mm) and drab coloured: white, yellow, grey or brown. More common breeds are the Liposcelis divinatorium and other of the same breed, the Trogium pulsatorium and other breed of the variety of Lepinotus.


Considering that the detrital insects are damaging for the foodstuffs as the specific ones, even more because they are index of a compromise hygienic situation. The fighting is based upon intervents of emergency obligatorily followed by a critical consideration of the proceedings of Sanitization: cleanliness, disinfection, microclimate, Maintenance and, if the case of processing of production with particular reference to the shrinkages.

The chapter Cleanliness deserves a specification: they are the hidden angles that must be cleaned, as a rule in sight areas are maintained reasonably cleaned. For the intervents of pest control is good the use of products for the knocking down in the eradical phase, avoiding the risk of pollution by residuals. Naturally can be used also residual products for taking care of protecting both foodstuffs or the working surfaces, without neglecting the scavenging intervents.

For this reason, we must proceed to meticulous intervents of Sanitization, so are effected targeted Interventations, in this case are used residual products without odours, scents and also without vapour effect; if this last characteristic is retained necessary s essential to activate a safety intervention, for example the aeration.

It’s understood that the insecticides must e used following the dispositions and the instructions wrote on the label and, if it is not badly, arrange of regulations detailed for each chain or production line. In the end we underline that the monitoring is useful to drive the intervents, at the contrary it become an expensive action without a logical target: it results to be a clinical analysis that underlining a pathology is not followed by an adequate therapy.