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Plantwise Technical Factsheet

flat grain beetle (Cryptolestes pusillus)

Host plants / species affected
Arachis hypogaea (groundnut)
Coffea (coffee)
Hordeum vulgare (barley)
Oryza sativa (rice)
Sorghum bicolor (sorghum)
stored products (dried stored products)
Theobroma cacao (cocoa)
Triticum (wheat)
Triticum aestivum (wheat)
Zea mays (maize)
List of symptoms/signs
Fruit  -  external feeding
Fruit  -  internal feeding
Seeds  -  external feeding
Seeds  -  internal feeding
Symptoms
C. pusillus feeds on damaged grains, dried fruits, nuts and other stored plant materials. Damage caused by this pest cannot be distinguished from that caused by many other stored-product insects, except by identification of the insects present.

The larvae and adults feed on damaged grains and will burrow into the grain to feed. On softer stored plant materials, C. pusillus will feed on undamaged material. C. pusillus infestations may increase the temperature and moisture content of stored commodities, thus increased levels of microorganisms may accompany infestations.
Prevention and control

The methods which are used to control C. pusillus are those which are generally used to control infestation by a complex of stored-product insect pests.

Sanitation and Chemical Control

Sanitation is the first step in the control of stored product insect pests. Storage structures should be thoroughly cleaned before new commodities are stored. The application of insecticide to the empty storage structure is recommended to kill any pests that may be present. The application of a protectant insecticide to the commodity as it is placed into storage is often recommended.

Environmental Manipulation

Lowering grain temperature, by aeration or chilling, to slow pest population growth is sometimes practical. If an infestation occurs during storage, the use of a fumigant or the introduction of a gas such as carbon dioxide may be used to kill the insects.

Integrated Pest Management

The parasitoid, Cephalonomia waterstoni, has potential to control this pest when used as part of an integrated pest management programme. Economic threshold levels are not well established for stored grain pests. Generally, the end use of the commodity will determine how many insects can be tolerated before control is required; this will depend on whether the commodity is to be used for animal or human consumption, as a raw component for non-edible goods, and whether the commodity is to be exported.

Impact
C. pusillus occurs regularly in stored grains, fruits, nuts and other commodities throughout its range, although it is only widespread in regions with warmer climates. It is a secondary pest of grains; it cannot damage intact grains. However, the presence of this pest can cause heating and an increase in the moisture content of stored grains, thus enhancing the proliferation of microorganisms.

Additionally, its presence in some commodities can make those commodities unmarketable when there is little or no tolerance for insects or insect parts.
Related treatment support
 
External factsheets
Sistemas de Produção Embrapa - Publicações eletrônicas, Embrapa, Portuguese language
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