Section II. CONTROL OF INSECTS
a. Insects are small invertebrate arthropods and include such food pests as
beetles, moths, ants, cockroaches, and houseflies. Insects that infest subsistence may
be found at all life stages. Insects can harbor pathogenic microorganisms as well as,
and perhaps better than, rodents. This is true by virtue of their small size and large
numbers. They are capable of reaching and contaminating areas where rodents cannot
get. Fortunately, there are relatively few species of insects that are an actual threat to
man's well-being as far as diseases are concerned. However, of the 750,000 species of
insects known today, many of them are capable of affecting man's well-being in ways
other than harboring pathogenic micro-organisms. They may damage food in all of its
phases of production and storage.
b. Insect infestation can cause a product to be unsuitable for its intended
purpose. Esthetic value is involved. No customer wants to open a bag of flour and find
it full of insects. There is a health hazard. Ingestion of a dermestid beetle, such as that
of the genus Trogoderma, may cause gastrointestinal irritation, vomiting, and diarrhea
when the hairs become imbedded in the walls of the various parts of the digestive tract.
One such insect, living or dead, within the product itself is justification for condemnation
of the lot. There is a cost involved when products are condemned or destroyed caused
by insect infestation. The goal of storage standards and practices is insect free
subsistence, that is, no insects, alive or dead, or parts of insects, able to be seen during
inspection of subsistence.
Control measures for insects are much the same as for rodents. Three phases
of control are implemented in order to prevent insect infestation and to eliminate existing
populations. They are environmental control, chemical control, and biological control.
a. When an inspector looks for insect infestation, food products with a high
potential for infestation are looked at with special care. These include dry pet food,
operational rations not packed in cans, pasta products, flour, dry beans and peas, dried
fruits, cookies and crackers, dehydrated soups, vegetables, gravy mixes, prepared
breakfast cereals, and grains such as corn meal, rice, oats, barley. The general
appearance of the product is noted. What can be looked for are holes along creases or
folds of containers or penetration holes in the containers. Clumped-together food
particles will be visible or insect webs, such as for the Indian meal moth. Live or dead
insects may be found or insect larva or parts of insects.