Facts Pantry pests, also called stored product pests, are brought into your home in flour, oatmeal, cereal and other dried products. Oftentimes these insects will be get into the food during the manufacturing process and are enclosed in the packaging. When these products sit on the shelf for a while the pantry pests have times to develop, chew their way out of the packaging, and make their way into the cracks of the cabinet to grow and breed. These insects ruin food by contaminating it with germs brought in from the outside and from their excrement. Pantry pest damage can make the food smell and taste bad, and contaminated food will sometimes make people sick.
Pantry Pests Damage
Pantry pests like the confused-flour beetle, rice weevil, and Indianmeal moth usually do most of their damage in your pantry. They not only eat away at grains, cereal or other stored products in your pantry, but eventually they will chew through the products or boxes they came in, and make their way into the cracks and crevices of your cupboards to breed. They can contaminate food with germs and fecal matter that can make people sick if consumed. The stored food will give off a bad odor and taste.
Pantry Pests Infestation
Pantry pests are usually brought in through groceries that have sat on the shelves at the store for extended periods of time. They may also infest your pets food. The extra shelf life gives these pests time to feed off the food and multiply. Once they are in your pantry, they will continue to eat through the packaging and can eventually end up in your cupboards, multiplying quickly. You might notice some off odors when you open boxes of rice, grains, cereal, or flour. They can also ruin or spoil food with germs and excrement.
Types of Pantry Pests
Cigarette beetles are usually smaller than ⅛ inch and are reddish-brown in color. They have oval shaped, rounded heads. Their wings are covered in tiny hairs.
Their name stems from them being found eating cornmeal. The Indianmeal moth is arguably the biggest pantry pest problem encountered in your home, or on grocery store shelves. They range in size from ⅝ to ¾ of an inch long, wing to wing. Their wings have a coppery, reddish-brown color.
Rice weevils are a huge nuisance in stored grain that is distributed throughout the southern United States. Measuring about ⅛ inch long, they have a muted reddish-brown color, a trunk-like snout and yellowish, pale markings on their wings.
Pantry Pests Identification
The two most common pantry pests are moths and beetles. The indianmeal moth is the usual suspect among moths while the most common beetle species include the warehouse beetle, confused flour beetle, red flour beetle, drugstore beetle, and cigarette beetle. Moths only feed on stored products during their larval stage while beetles feed both as larvae and adults.
Pantry Pests In The House
Pantry pests will attack a variety of stored food products. These include flour, cereal, oatmeal, cornmeal, spices, dried fruit, nuts, seeds, pet food, chocolate and candy. You may notice the larvae, often in silken tubes or cocoons, in your food or see the adults crawling or flying around your cupboards or pantry.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you keep your food safe from pantry pests?
Following these simple food storage and cleaning tips will go a long way in helping prevent a pantry pest infestation in your home. Avoid purchasing food products that have been opened or damaged. Store food in containers with airtight lids that have rubber gaskets or screw tops (pantry pests can chew through plastic baggies). Store bulk products, like pet food, in airtight containers as well. Wash your storage containers before adding fresh food. Avoid adding new products to old products, if the old food is already infested, it will quickly ruin the new food. Regularly clean areas like your pantry shelves and cracks in the cupboards, where spilled flour and other bits of food tend to accumulate. Try to keep cabinets and the pantry clean and dry as warm, humid environments are ideal for pantry pests to breed and develop.
Benefits of Professional Pantry Pests Pest Control
If you have been noticing insects in your stored food products for more than a month then you should contact a pest management professional. Pantry pest populations can quickly get out of control because of their rapid development cycle and the fact that just a small amount of spilled food in the cabinet is all they need to survive. A pest management professional has the knowledge, skills and tools to eliminate your pantry pests.