Stored Product Insect Pests
Contamination and Damage: SIPs contaminate food with their excrement, body parts, and webbing, making it unfit for consumption or sale. SIP contamination and damage reduce food quality and market value of products, further adding to economic losses.
Loss of Germination Potential: SIPs damage grain and other seeds, reducing their viability for planting as food crops. Damage to seeds by SIPs directly affects farmers’ seed stock and future crop yields, impacting agricultural productivity and food security.
- Trade Barriers: SIP infestations can lead to trade restrictions and bans on agricultural exports from affected countries. Such trade restrictions disrupt international trade and create economic hardship for exporting nations.
- Loss of Government Revenue: Reduced agricultural production and trade lead to lower tax revenues for governments, impacting public services and infrastructure development.
- Environmental Impact: Intensive use of pesticides to control SIPs can have negative consequences for human health and the environment. Additionally, food waste due to infestations contributes to increased greenhouse gas emissions.
Economic Burden of SIPs
on Various Stakeholders:
- Farmers: SIPs directly impact farmers' income by reducing yields and market value of their produce. Additionally, they force farmers to incur costs for pest control measures and storage infrastructure to minimize losses from SIPs.
- Food Industry: SIPs cause significant economic losses for grain processors, retailers, and food manufacturers who face costs for pest control, product recalls due to contamination, and quality control measures.
- Consumers: Ultimately, consumers bear the brunt of SIP economic losses through higher food prices due to reduced supply and increased production costs. Losses from SIPs can disproportionately impact low-income populations, exacerbating food insecurity.
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) of Stored Product Insect Pests
Integrated pest management (IPM) is a comprehensive and sustainable approach to controlling stored product insect pests (SIPs).
IPM emphasizes SIP prevention and combines various methods to effectively manage their populations while minimizing environmental and health risks.
Following are the key elements of an IPM program for SIPs:
Regularly inspect stored products for signs of infestation, such as live insects, insect damage, and frass (insect excrement). Use pheromone and sticky traps to monitor adult insect activity and identify specific pest species. Conduct grain temperature and moisture measurements to identify conditions conducive to pest development.
Cleanliness: Regularly clean storage areas, including floors, walls, and equipment, to remove food debris and residues that attract pests.
Waste Management: Dispose infested products and waste materials properly to prevent them becoming a source of SIP spread.
Sealing: Seal cracks and openings in storage structures to prevent SIP entry and harbourage.
3. Physical Control:
Temperature Control: Store commodities at cool temperatures (below 15°C) to slow down insect development and reproduction.
Modified Atmosphere Storage: Deplete oxygen and/or enrich carbon dioxide levels in storage to create an atmosphere that suffocates insects.
Hermetic Storage: Store products in airtight containers to prevent insect entry.
4. Chemical Control:
Use insecticides registered for SIPs only as a last resort and per label instructions. Rotate different insecticide classes to prevent the development of resistance.
5. Good Agricultural Practices:
Harvest and store crops with proper moisture content to minimize spoilage and attracting SIPs. Use clean and pest-free containers for storage. Maintain good hygiene practices in production, storage and the rest of the supply chain.
Benefits of IPM in SIP management:
- Reduced reliance on chemical pesticides.
- Lower environmental impact.
- Improved food safety.
- Long-term cost-effectiveness.
- Sustainable pest management solution.