Cowpea seed beetle
They are the most common and widespread insect pests in storage. Adults are 2-3.5 mm long. They attack both pods in the field and seeds in storage. They attack nearly mature and dried pods. Infested stored seeds can be recognised by the round exit holes and the white eggs on the seed surface. Post-harvest losses are highly variable, but losses can be over 90%.
- Pods should be harvested as soon as they mature and the seeds sun dried before stored in clean beetle-proof containers.
- A coating of edible oils or of inert clay can prevent further development of bruchids in the stored seeds.
- Some farmers in East Africa use wood ash in grain stored for food or seed for planting, or chillies or smoke from cooking fire to preserve seeds for planting.
- Other farmers store unthreshed pods as a strategy to minimise grain damage by bruchids (Minja et al. 1999).