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Plantwise Technical Factsheet

lesser mealworm (Alphitobius diaperinus)

Host plants / species affected
Arachis hypogaea (groundnut)
Oryza sativa (rice)
stored products (dried stored products)
List of symptoms/signs
Seeds  -  external feeding
The presence of A. diaperinus and A. laevigatus is normally first indicated by the sighting of brown-black beetles, at least 5 mm long, moving over the stored food or across the floor of stores.
Prevention and control

Chemical Control

Grain may be protected by the admixture of insecticide. As far as is known, Alphitobius spp. are susceptible to all those insecticides normally used on stored food. Electrostatic duster application of tertrachlorvinphos after the clean out of old litter in poultry houses is adequate for the control of the larvae and adults during one commercial broiler chicken cycle only (Khan et al., 1998). Grain stocks may be fumigated with phosphine to eliminate existing infestation but these treatments provide no protection against re-infestation.

Biological Control

Biological control has not been practised against A. diaperinus or A. laevigatus. Strains of the entomopathogenic fungus Beauvaria bassiana are effectiev against larvae in new poulty litter but rather less effective in old litter (Crawford et al., 1998).

Cultural Control and Sanitary Methods

Good store hygiene plays an important role in limiting infestation by A. diaperinus and A. laevigatus. The removal of infested residues from the previous harvest is essential, as is general hygiene in stores, such as ensuring that all spillage is removed and cracks and crevices are filled. Infestations may also be limited by ensuring that the commodity is well dried and free of mould.

A. diaperinus and A. laevigatus are unwelcome contaminants of stored food but are not generally regarded as a significant problem. However, A. diaperinus is a more serious pest in deep-litter poultry farms where it may spread various avian diseases and certain human pathogens, such as Salmonella.
Related treatment support
External factsheets
University of Maine Cooperative Extension Pest Management Fact Sheets, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, 2010, English language
Sistemas de Produção Embrapa - Publicações eletrônicas, Embrapa, Portuguese language
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