Pantry Pests

Table of Contents

A Few Facts About Pantry Pests

If you not only want to eliminate pantry pests but keep them out of your home for the foreseeable future, there are things you will need to know.

  • Pantry pests are commonly referred to as stored product pests because they have an appetite for dried and processed food products oftentimes stored in the home
  • These dried and processed food products can include but are not limited to flour, cereal, dry pasta, dry pet food, powdered milk, cornstarch, crackers, spices, bread, birdseed, dried nuts, and fruit
  • Pantry pests can include a variety of different species, but it is the Indian meal moth, saw-toothed grain beetle, and cigarette beetle that are the most well-known
  • Pantry pests are commonly found in kitchens and homes
  • Pantry pests do not discriminate. They will invade clean and dirty homes
  • These pests mate continuously
  • They tend to live in the food products they feed on
  • Pantry pests produce several generations in a year

Characteristics Of Pantry Pests

Just knowing the information above isn’t enough to keep your home pantry pest-free. The best place to start is by knowing what specific species you are dealing with. Just because an Indian meal moth and saw-toothed grain beetle are both pantry pests, it doesn’t mean successful elimination requires the same tactics. To start, you’ll need to know specifically what type of pest you are dealing with.

Indian Meal Moth:

  • The Indian meal moth is also known as the Plodia interpunctella and is a small moth with reddish-brown forewings. The back half of the wings are a copper color while the fronts are a grayish color
  • It is the larvae of this species that are responsible for the damage to the food products. The larvae will attack a wide variety of dried food products in the home
  • With their ability to crawl on ceilings and spin cocoons in other rooms than the kitchen and pantry where they feed, this species can be extremely hard to eliminate

Saw-Toothed Grain Beetle:

  • Known by their scientific name, Oryzaephilus surinamensis, the saw-toothed grain beetles are slender-bodied, flat, and measure to about 1/10 of an inch. They have six saw-like teeth located on each side of the thorax, hence the name (The thorax is the section between the head and abdomen)
  • Both the larvae and adults of this species can feed on dried food products
  • This species commonly feeds on pet food, birdseed, and rodent bait, but prefer flours, cereals, candies, and dried fruit

Cigarette Beetle:

  • Their scientific name is the Lasioderma serricorne and the cigarette beetle is light brownish with a body of 1/8 inches in length. With body hairs, smooth wing covers, a hump-backed appearance, these creatures give off a fuzzy appearance
  • These critters get their distinct name from the fact that they feed on cured tobacco, cigarettes, and cigars. Along with this, they’ll eat pet food, cereals, nuts, candy, dried peppers, wreaths, spices, paprika, and chili powder.

Why Do People Have Pantry Pests?

Pantry pests can enter the home from the outside, but it is most common that they enter via packaged food that is already infested. This is why you must be diligent about checked food products and groceries before unloading them into the home. While these infestations can start extremely small, it won’t take long at all before the numbers grow. With easy access to food and shelter, these pests will soar in population. This is because they breed almost continuously. In addition to this, they live near their food source and can generate several generations a year. These are just a few of the reasons that people’s homes get invaded by pantry pests.

Interrupting The Signs Of An Infestation

Unfortunately, the signs of an infestation can be extremely easy to overlook. This is because pantry pests are extremely small. In addition to this, they are often the color of the food that they feed on, making them even harder to spot. This makes it even more important to learn to detect the early warning signs. That being said, one of the first signs of a pantry pest infestation is moths. Months flying around light and food sources will be the first indication of an infestation.

Are Pantry Pests Dangerous?

While pantry pests are not life-threatening or even dangerous, they do pose risks. Risk to your wallet more than anything else. They’ll invade your food, making it worthless. That being said, they do not spread diseases or pathogens.

Preventing Infestations

The best way to deal with any pest problem is by stopping it before it becomes a problem or by preventing it from occurring in the first place. Unfortunately, this is much harder said than done, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t entirely possible. The best place to start is with your food. Make sure are your food is stored in sealed containers. Tight-fitting, sealed plastic containers are the best way to go because the larvae can easily chew through cardboard.

Along with this, cleaning your shelves regularly and never combining old food with new food is a good way to go. It is possible to combine food products if you are 100 percent sure they aren’t contaminated. If you are unsure how to do this, you can place the product in a clear plastic bag and give the pests a few days to accumulate. Also, clean all old containers before filling them with new food products.

Successfully Eliminating Pantry Pests

Since it is not entirely possible to prevent pantry pests, you need to understand how to eliminate pantry pests. And unfortunately, this is something that’s going to be much harder than most people would prefer. A lot of this has to do with the fact that the pests are so agile, fast, and wary. Combine this with the fact that they blend in with their natural environment, and it just makes the situation all that much worse.

When you consider the cost of pest management these days it’s easy to understand why people opt for DIY treatment. The only problem is, these treatment options aren’t usually as effective. A lot of this is because the pesticides available just aren’t as effective. The chemicals needed to successfully eliminate pests are illegal and can only be purchased and distributed with a license. Of course, this doesn’t mean you can’t attempt to eradicate the problem on your own. To do so, start with the food.

Seal it in plastic bags and properly dispose of it in sealed containers sufficiently located away from the home. If you do have to eliminate pests from food items, you’ll want to empty and clean the entire pantry. Wash the shelves, walls, and coroners thoroughly before returning your food items.

When Can Help Arrive?

In North Carolina with our dedicated techs and diverse treatment solutions, we stayed pretty busy all year around. However, we are always more than willing to adapt to the clientele. Whether you have a question, concerns, or just want to talk to someone about your pest problem, we are more than willing to help. All you have to do is reach out to our offices and we’ll get out a tech there within the next 24 to 48 hours.

A Safer Treatment Option

Thanks to the modern advancement of the pest industry and technology, there are now a variety of eco-friendly pest management solutions. We always try to offer these solutions when the situations call for it. Unfortunately, there are times when pesticides are the only option. In these situations, we make sure to take all precautions possible. In addition to this, we only use certified techs that are trained and certified to legally handle these chemicals. When eco-friendly solutions are not an option, we’ll make sure we handle the situation as effectively and safely as possible.

If you have any other pest control issues please check out other services.

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