It is a sign of the times. People are buying food and supplies in volume to reduce the number of trips to the store. Families are buying staples such as flour, grains, and dried goods in bulk. Purchasing these dry goods can bring unwanted guests into your home. Pantry pests are small and often undetectable.
Don’t forget the garage where you store birdseed, suet, and other wildlife food and treats. Garden shops and big-box stores keep these items stored in outdoor areas, sure to invite a tag along pantry pest or two!
What are pantry pests?
The most common types of pantry pests are Indian Meal Moths, weevils, and small beetles. These pests do not bite or sting humans, but they can cause damage.
Indian meal moths
The Indian Meal Moth gets its name from living in kitchen pantries, grocery stores, and food storage facilities dining on “meal made of “Indian corn” or maize.” They are often called pantry moths, flour moths, or grain moths. According to the AEPMA, “Alternative common names are North American high-flyer, Weevil moth and pantry moth; less specifically, it may be referred to as ‘flour moth’ or ‘grain moth.’ The Almond moth (Cadra cautella) is commonly confused with the Indianmeal Moth.”
Weevils are a type of beetle with a longer snout. They are often referred to as flour bugs because that is where they are most frequently found. Weevils do not just eat pantry foods such as grains, cereal, nuts, and dried beans; they lay eggs inside the food. These eggs eventually hatch, and the larvae consume the food to support their growth. Weevils are of no danger to humans or pets.
Pantry pest beetles are tiny, less than a grain of rice, and usually brown to black. These beetles, especially, are no strangers to hitchhiking in bread rice and pasta as it is transported from the packaging facility. These small beetles also have a desire for dog food, chocolate, and nuts!
How do I prevent pantry pests from infesting my dry goods?
- Inspect all packages of dry goods from the store. Look for small tears or holes in the seams where these little pests can gain entry.
- Check the dates of dry goods in your pantry. Expired products pushed to the back of the cabinet are an invitation to pantry bugs. Summer lake homes that are closed for the season who have empty cabinets or face the unwanted pantry pests that have taken up residence in your summer home.
- Keep food items in airtight containers such as plastic and glass because they can chew through plastic and paper. Open your pantry, and if you find spilled grains, pasta, or packages ‘leaking its contents,’ you have pantry pests.
- Keep food debris at a minimum in and around your cabinets. Diligence is key. If you spill some grains or flour on the shelf, it is an invitation to pantry pests in a darkened cabinet.
- Always clean up after meal preparation. No crumbs, no spills!
If you find any bugs in your food, throw the package away immediately, and thoroughly inspect the entire area. Empty the pantry, and vacuum out the shelves and floor. Use warm soapy water on the surfaces since food will be stored there. Refrain from bleach and ammonia.
Pantry pests are very small and can go undetected. Some homeowners err on the side of caution and freeze any unopened packages for a few days, killing any eggs or insects.
How do I get rid of pantry pests?
Well, if you have found bugs and pests in your kitchen, you most likely need some help. We offer organic products, baits and traps, lures/lure traps, and liquid applications. All products used in a kitchen would be labeled for use in a kitchen and are safe for people and pets.
Small pest sightings can turn into infestations before you know it. Contact us for a free inspection, and let’s get things under control for you.
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