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Angoumois Grain Moth

Article author: John Jackman
Most recently reviewed by: Pat Porter (2018)

Common Name(s): Angoumois Grain Moth, Grain moth

Description

Angoumois grain moths are occasionally found as pantry pests in homes, but they can be serious pests in commercial grain storage. Adult moths are a buff, tan or golden color and about 1/3 inch long. The wing span is 1/2 inch, rear edges of wings are fringed. Larvae are white with a yellowish to brown head and dark reddish-brown mouthparts. Larvae bore into kernels of cereal grains, pupate and emerge through a hole cut on the outer surface of the kernel.

Origin and Distribution

Grain storage, warehouses, bins, and pantries. Larvae feed on many types of whole grains. They prefer damp grain over dry grain.

Habitat & Hosts

They feed on stored grain, especially whole corn. The larvae require whole kernels or caked material for development. They bore into the kernel, pupate and emerge through a hole cut on the outer surface of the kernel. They are active at low temperatures and prefer barley, rye, corn, oats, rice and various seeds.

Life Cycle

Angoumois grain moth has a complete life cycle; egg, larva, pupa and adult, and it takes about about 5 weeks to complete development.  Adults can fly and are attracted to lights.

Management

If you live in the State of Texas, contact your local county agent or entomologist for management information. If you live outside of Texas, contact your local extension for management options.

In commercial/agricultural grain storage, control is complicated and requires the fundamental pest management steps of bin sanitation, grain leveling, aeration, monitoring etc. These things are beyond this fact sheet.

In homes and restaurants, control is simpler.

Nonchemical control.

The first step in controlling pantry pests is to find and eliminate infested items. Often all that is needed to solve the problem is to remove an infested package of flour, macaroni, or cake mix. But finding the source of an infestation is not always easy. Infested packages are usually the oldest, most difficult to reach foods in the pantry. Even unopened containers may be infested; some pests can easily penetrate plastic, waxed paper, and cardboard containers. Before buying an item in the store, check that the bag or container is well sealed and undamaged.

Good sanitation is important. Infestations often start in pet foods, spilled grains, or other foods. Clean up spilled food promptly. Discard old packages of grain and pasta. Vacuum and clean pantry areas periodically to remove spilled foods. Remove and clean underneath shelf paper. Caulk around pantry edges and in cracks and crevices to reduce areas where spilled food may collect.

Most pantry pest problems can be prevented by using all dried food within 2 to 4 months of purchase. Spices and other products kept for longer periods should be sealed in airtight containers.

Pet food can be a special problem.  The most commonly infested pantry items are birdseed and dog and cat foods. Store pet foods in well-sealed plastic buckets or storage containers and use them promptly. Clean the containers thoroughly before refilling them with food.

Occasionally, mice or other rodents can cause a persistent beetle infestation. Hoarded seed and grain in abandoned rodent nests can support a small population of pests. Old rodent bait that contains grain also can harbor insects. When controlling rodents, prevent insect problems by placing the bait where it can be retrieved and discarded after the rodents are controlled.

Heat or cold treatments can eliminate pests in some food items such as pet food, bulk grains and beans, and home-grown dried beans or peas. Put the product in the oven at 130 degrees F for 1 hour, or in the freezer for 7 to 14 days. To prevent an infestation, store foods that may attract pantry pests in the refrigerator or freezer.

Chemical control

On rare occasions, insecticides may be needed to control difficult infestations. Insecticides can reach inaccessible areas that cannot be easily cleaned; they can also help reduce heavy pest infestations more quickly.

Insecticide sprays may be applied to crevices and void areas around cupboards, drawers, and pantries. Before spraying, remove all food products, utensils, and containers from the treatment area. Allow the spray to dry before placing clean shelf paper on the shelves and returning food, utensils, or containers to the pantry.

Insecticide products that are labeled for use in food- storage areas generally contain ingredients that are short-lived and relatively safe to use in the home. Active ingredients of these products include pyrethrins, resmethrin, allethrin, and tetramethrin.

For areas where long-term residual control is de- sired, look for products containing synthetic pyrethroids, such as permethrin, esfenvalerate, cyfluthrin, or bifenthrin. Aerosol fog products can temporarily suppress infestations of flying insects, but these fogs will not kill pantry pests in food containers or protected locations.

Before using an insecticide, always make sure that the label says that the product may be used indoors and in kitchens. Never spray food, dishes, utensils, or cooking items with pesticides.

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Minute pirate bug

Article author: John David Gonzales
Most recently reviewed by: Pat Porter (2018)

Common Name(s): minute pirate bug, Pirate bug

Description

Adults are tiny (1/8 inch) black bugs with white markings at the base of the front wings (hemelytra), resulting in a band-like appearance across the body when wings are at rest. Wingless immature stages (nymphs) are orange. Insects in this family (Anthocoridae) are occasionally mistaken for chinch bugs (family Blissidae), particularly in the early nymphal stages.  

Origin and Distribution

Orius species are most common in the eastern United States, although they occur across the southwestern United States to Utah and southern California, then south into Mexico and Central and South America (Herring 1966). They also occur in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and many other islands of the West Indies (Herring 1966). There are at least eight species found in the United States. 

Habitat & Hosts

Nymphs and adults prey upon a wide variety of arthropods including aphids, chinch bugs, springtails, plant bugs, thrips, eggs and small larvae of corn earworms, whiteflies and spider mites. Sucking mouthparts are inserted into prey and body fluids are removed. When corn earworm eggs are plentiful, Orius sp. eat about one egg per day. They are important natural enemies of pests of many agronomic and horticultural crops including corn, cotton, sorghum, soybeans. They may also feed on tender plants. Anthocorids can be found on many kinds of plants, particularly agricultural crops, where they can be abundant. Some Orius species are sold commercially for augmentative biological control releases.

Orius species are capable of using their sucking mouthparts to bite humans. The insidious flower bug, O. insidiosus (Say), is often the more abundant species in east Texas.

Life Cycle

Adults overwinter in protected habitats such as in leaf litter. Female Orius sp. insert eggs into plant tissue. Nymphs develop through several stages (instars) before becoming winged adults. Development from egg to adult takes approximately 20 days, and there are several generations per year. 

Management

If you live in the State of Texas, contact your local county agent or entomologist for management information. If you live outside of Texas, contact your local extension for management options.

Orius species are considered to be beneficial; nymphs and adults prey on a number of small arthropod life stages. 

Related Publications

Orius species on Bugguide.

Citations

Marshall, S. A. (2006). True Bugs and Other Hemipteroids . In S. Marshall (Ed.), Insects Their Natural History and Diversity . United States : Firefly Books Ltd.

Herring JL. 1966. The genus Orius of the Western Hemisphere (Hemiptera: Anthocoridae). Annals of the Entomological Society of America. 59: 1093-1109.

University of California: http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/NE/minute_pirate_bug.html

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June beetle


Most recently reviewed by: Charles Allen (2018)

Common Name(s): June Beetle, May Beetle

Pest Location

Urban Structural

Description

Adult beetles, commonly referred to as May beetles or June bugs are ½ to 5/8 inches long, and reddish brown. White grubs are “C”-shaped larvae, up to 1 inch long, with cream-colored bodies and brown head capsules. They have three pairs of legs, one on each of the first three segments behind the head.

There are more than 100 species of scarab beetles from several genera (e.g.,Cyclocephala, Phyllophaga and others) in Texas that are considered to be white grubs, May beetles and June bugs. However, the most common is Phyllophaga crinita. Their biologies are similar, but species differ in distribution, habitat preference, length of life cycle and seasonal occurrence. Other common species include the southern masked chafer, Cyclocephala immaculata (Oliver), and the green June beetle, Cotinis nitida (Linnaeus). The Japanese beetle, Popillia japonica, introduced into the northeastern United States and migrating west and south, has recently been detected in some Texas counties.

Cyclocephala melanocephala.

Cyclocephala melanocephala.

 

Habitat & Hosts

Phyllophaga crinita is common in Texas turfgrass, particularly Bermudagrass, St. Augustine grass and tall fescue. Feeding of large numbers of grubs causes lawns to turn yellow and die. Severely damaged grass can be “rolled up” like a carpet. Grubs also feed on the roots of weeds, vegetable transplants and ornamental plants. In agriculture, they are important pests of forage, corn, sorghum and sugarcane. Most severe injury to plants is caused by large (third stage or instar) grubs feeding on roots in the fall and spring. White grubs are frequently encountered tilling garden soil or by sifting through soil underneath damaged turfgrass. Adults can be abundant around lights in the spring of the year. Larval stages eat roots of grasses, vegetable and ornamental plants; Adults can be a nuisance around lights at night in early summer; medically harmless.

Life Cycle

Adults begin to emerge in spring. During adult flights large numbers of beetles can be attracted to lights. Peak flights occur in mid to late June in central Texas. Females, less attracted to lights, tunnel 2 to 5 inches into the soil and deposit eggs. In 3 to 4 weeks, small grubs (larvae) hatch from eggs and develop through three stages (instars), with the first two stages lasting about 3 weeks. The last larval stage remains in the soil from the fall through spring. In spring and early summer, white grubs pupate 3 to 6 inches deep in the soil. Adults emerge from pupae in about 3 weeks. There is one generation per year, but in north Texas, development may take two years.

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Corn earworm

Article author: Pat Porter
Most recently reviewed by: Ed Bynum (2018)

Common Name(s): Corn earworm, Cotton Bollworm, Tomato Fruitworm

Pest Location

Row Crop

Description

Corn earworm moth. Photo: Ed Bynum, AgriLife Extension

Corn earworm moth

The corn earworm is also the pest known as the cotton bollworm and tomato fruitworm and can be found on many garden and farm crops and non-crop vegetation. Adults have buff-colored wings and rather stout bodies. The wingspan is approximately 1½ inches. They are good fliers and can easily move from field to field and often arrive in large numbers on storm fronts. The moths only feed on nectar and are not pests.

 Corn earworm egg. Photo: Pat Porter, AgriLife Extension

Corn earworm egg

However, each female can lay 500 or more eggs. The eggs are laid singly and, when new, are pearly white. The color changes to a yellow/dull white tint over time before hatching. Small caterpillars look much like the small caterpillars of other species, and it is difficult to identify them without a microscope. Corn earworm caterpillars have many microspines on the back and sides of the body, and these are not found on most other common caterpillar pests. Larvae have a tan head and alternating dark and light stripes running lengthwise down the body, and they have numerous tubercles (dark spots) with long spines. Other pest species have stripes as well, but they do not have the abundance of microspines and tubercles, and a 10x hand lens will allow differentiation. There is no “typical” larval color, and it is common to find larvae that are either light green, dark green to grey green, or pink. Full grown larvae are approximately 1.5 inches long.

Origin and Distribution

The corn earworm is a New World insect (Western Hemisphere) and is present throughout this region. It overwinters only in areas with mild winters, but flies to other areas during the course of the spring, summer and fall.

Habitat & Hosts

Corn earworm has a very wide host range, and in Texas is usually the caterpillar found in ears of corn. Other cultivated hosts include tomato, sorghum, cotton, soybean, sunflower, squash, watermelon, potato, sweet potato, asparagus, artichoke, cowpea, snap pea, green bean, cabbage, cantaloupe, collard, cucumber eggplant, pepper, watermelon and others.

Life Cycle

Adults are quite mobile and can lay eggs on any host that is at a susceptible stage. Eggs are often laid near or on fruiting structures, but they can be laid on leaves and stems as well. Moths prefer to lay eggs directly on the green silks of field corn and sweet corn, and the larvae then consume the silk and move toward the ear tip.

Eggs hatch in 3-5 days and there will be five to six larval instars, each separated by a molt to a larger caterpillar. The larval stage lasts from 13 to 31 days depending on temperature. Insects develop faster under higher temperatures. After the last larval stage, the larvae move to the soil and construct a burrow where they will remain while in the pupal stage, which lasts from 10 – 25 days depending on temperature. Adults then emerge and will live for an average of 10 days, some more and some less. Corn earworm overwinters in south Texas, and often flies north carried on storm fronts. There are several generations per year and the insect can be expected to be present for most of the growing season in the south, but only increases gradually in number in more northern parts of the state. However, the growing season starts later in the north, and corn earworm is usually quite abundant by the time vegetables and other crops are susceptible.

Corn earworm larvae are cannibalistic and, even though there may be several small larvae in an ear of corn, these will eventually be reduced to one, or less commonly two, per ear. As fruit feeders, even one larva can cause significant damage in vegetable crops, but in agricultural crops like field corn, corn earworm is rarely an economic worry

Management

If you live in the State of Texas, contact your local county agent or entomologist for management information. If you live outside of Texas, contact your local extension for management options.

Home garden control options include:

  • Spinosad (Rate varies by brand name)
  • Permethrin
  • Synthetic pyrethroids
  • Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt. subspecies Kurstaki)

See Understanding Common House and Garden Insecticides ( https://citybugs.tamu.edu/factsheets/ipm/ent-4002/ ) for more information on insecticides.

Related Publications

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