b. The risk of insect infestation is increased if proven management guidelines
are not followed. Temperature control even for dry storage is recommended. High
temperature will accelerate the life cycle of insects and lead to record numbers of
insects and heavy product damage in a relatively short period of time. Poor storage
practices also contribute to insect infestation. This can include mishandling, such as
improper stacking or tossing of product, mechanical damage to containers (possible
with a forklift), and poor product rotation (not using old stock first). The standards for
cleaning and sweeping must be strictly adhered to. The required monthly inspection by
food inspection personnel must be a thorough and systematic inspection. There should
also be a regular pest management program by qualified pest control personnel.
c. Environmental control is the most important and effective measure in
preventing an insect problem. Sanitation is the primary step in a good environmental
program. It includes general cleanliness that will eliminate food and harborage for
insects. Cleanliness of the outside premises, of garbage and trash containers, of the
building itself, and of all equipment used by the food facility will accomplish the most for
elimination of insect foods. Proper storage techniques and construction of buildings will
eliminate most harborage sites.
d. In addition to sanitation, the purchase of insect-free food is a great advantage
in preventing new populations of insects from occurring. Rotation of stocks will keep
infestations down also. Old stocks with perhaps some infestation can and will in time
contaminate new stocks. Light infestation problems can become large if old and new
stocks are not isolated from each other and if old stocks are not used first. The
statement "first in, first out" is quite significant in the management of this problem.
e. Insect-proof containers should be utilized whenever possible. Properly
sealed, multiwalled bags and boxes will inhibit the entrance of insects. Also, chemically
treating the outside of the containers with some residual insecticide will help keep
insects from entering containers.
f. Proper storage temperatures and humidity are also means of controlling
insect populations. It has been discovered that temperatures below 60oF will prevent
the egg production in many insects and temperatures below 50oF will inhibit the feeding
and development of many insects. Low moisture content in foods may also retard the
activities of some insects; however, one of the most remarkable features about insects
in stored products is the fact that nearly all of them can live in products having a low
moisture content. A certain minimum moisture level is needed, and this varies
considerably for different species. Most of the insects require that their food contain 8
percent or more moisture. At the minimum level, development is frequently very slow
and mortality is usually high. Other conditions being favorable, the rate of development
generally increases as the moisture content of the food rises. Optimum conditions are
usually obtained when the moisture content of the food reaches about 14 percent.
Insects that live in food having low moisture content exhibit a remarkable capacity to