The Look and Behaviour of pests

Most of the pests that occur in food are insects. This is probably obvious. Today about 1 million species of insects are known and it is estimated that there are still many millions of unknown species of insects. Insects are by far that group of animals with the most members.

Some knowledge on the insects’ appearance and build is useful to be able to tell them apart and to know which insects are occasionally found in food. It is also quite useful to know something about insect behaviour. When trying to prevent or control pests, it is important to be able to make qualified guesses on the insect behaviour under certain circumstances. In most cases prevention and control is all about creating conditions for pests in which they do not thrive.

Food Pests

Food-pests-bookcover480”Food Pests” is an overview of pests that can be found in food in Europe and Northern America. In this book we have in various ways tried to answer those questions most frequently asked about the relevant pests and about dealing with the pests.

We believe this book will be a useful guide to those who engage themselves with hygiene and quality of food.
Anyone can suddenly find themselves in the situation where they would have to deal with pests in food whether they are consumers, shop owners, veterinarians, Masters of Science in food science and technology, managing directors or exterminators. Perhaps this book can contribute to people with various backgrounds discussing pests more easily.

This book does not claim to be absolute or flawless. Should the reader want to make comments which could eventually help us improve a later edition those comments are be very welcome.

February 1984

T.E. Hallas & H. Mourier
Danish Pests Infestation Laboratory

Preface to the 2nd edition
This guide, which was first published 30 years ago, was then well received by especially professional exterminators and others who engage themselves with the quality of food. In the meantime many of the copies of the book from 1984 are not in use anymore, either because they are worn out or due to the fact that regulations, means and advice in the book are simply outdated. Now we will remedy that by publishing this updated edition of Food Pests.
February 2014
T.E. Hallas & H. Mourier

Animals in foods

Ever since our ancestors found out how to keep foods in reserve for bad times, insects and rodents have taken their toll of such stores.

The remains of pests of stored products (e.g. flour beetles) have been found in graves from
2,500 B.C., and drugstore beetles, spider beetles and tobacco beetles were found in the grave of Tutankhamun.

Animal pests of stored products are still with us. Indeed it has been estimated that about 15 per cent of all stored foodstuffs never reach human mouths, but end up in the bodies of insects or rodents.

It is possible to distinguish between two types of pest that attack stored products. First, there are those that only visit foods when they are hungry, but which otherwise live and breed in cracks and crevices and similar hiding-places. These include cockroaches, silverfish and ants. Secondly, there are animals which lay their eggs in or on a foodstuff and in fact spend their whole life in it.

Animals which only visit foods when they are hungry are very sparing in their choice of food and they may also make do with odd fragments, but many of those that live directly in their food are more fastidious.