Biscuit beetles (Stegobium paniceum) are one of the most common species of stored product insect pest in the global food industry. Their food preferences are wide ranging, encompassing cereal-based foods such as dry dough, dry pet-food, soup powders, breakfast cereals and (unsurprisingly) biscuits.
The common name used for this species in much of the world, the drug-store beetle, highlights that it is a species that will devour most materials of plant origin, including such toxic plant materials as strychnine. Their wide-ranging taste in dried plant matter makes them a potentially highly destructive pest in museum and herbarium collections also.
Like many stored product insect species with a short-lived adult stage, the female biscuit beetle produces a pheromone to attract males. Unlike storage-moth sex pheromones, this pheromone has proven very difficult to synthesize in sufficient quantity to be used for commercial monitoring purposes.
Biscuit beetles are extremely destructive and, like storage moths, are a common source of consumer complaints. Monitoring of storage moths is common practice within the food industry. With a tool now available that is known to be effective for monitoring biscuit beetles there is no reason why a monitoring program cannot now also be a feature of those sites known to have, or vulnerable to, infestation by this species.
“At this time, the lure is not commercially available from a European distributor, but I am working with the manufacturer to get some distribution channels in place,” said Acheta Consulting Managing Director John Simmons. “If you think you would benefit from installing a monitoring system for biscuit beetles then we can advise accordingly.” For more information on Acheta, visit acheta.co.uk, or contact Simmons at email@example.com or 07855 944049.