Typical household kitchen pantries are filled with shelving full of things like flour, oatmeal, corn meal and cereal. Meaning chances are pretty high that if you haven’t already, you will in the future, end up with pantry pests. Often many of these pests are unknowingly brought in after a trip to the grocery store. They can actually be in the food, hiding under the sealed flaps of a box, or inside both plastic and paper grocery bags, including your own reusable bags.
Common Pantry Pests
- Indian Meal Moths. When it comes to stored grains, dried fruits, nuts and cereals one of the most commonly found pests is the Indian meal moth. Often confused with a clothing moth, the Indian meal moth is approximately ½” in length with reddish brown forewings and a coppery sheen over the entire lower half of the body.
- Flour Beetles. Beetles in your flour? You probably have either confused flour beetles or red flour beetles. But since they are both super tiny, around 1/8” in size, you won’t know the difference. Reddish brown in color, both live in flour, grain dust, dry pet food, nuts, rice and beans. Both can cause flour to discolor, both emit a distinctly unpleasant odor, and if left unchecked, their presence will stimulate mold growth.
- Merchant Grain Beetles. Approximately the same size as the flour beetles, these pests aren’t commonly found in grains but they like to feast on higher fat content staples including cake mixes, cookies, cornmeal and brown rice. Dark brown in color, these beetles have six saw-like teeth giving them the ability to easily gnaw through plastic bags, cardboard boxes, and foil wrapped packages.
Getting Rid of Pantry Pests
- Storing foods in plastic airtight containers or glass mason jars with tight sealing lids and immediately disposing of or recycling the original boxes, bags and packages will go a long way in keeping these beetles and moths at bay.
- Bay leafs are more than for just stews and soups. A bay leaf with its pungent odor added to containers of dry food goods including rice, oats and flour will repel many of these insects.
- When you find infested food throw it away in an outside receptacle. Remove everything else from the cabinet, drawer or pantry and thoroughly vacuum the entire space. Empty the vacuum or toss the vacuum bag in the outside trash to avoid re-infestation. Wipe down all hard surfaces with a food-safe cleaner and let air dry. Reseal any uncontaminated foods in airtight containers or store in the refrigerator or freezer until you are sure the infestation is under control.
Problems getting rid of your pantry pests? Give Scout’s Pest Control a call today at 864-469-4999 for a complementary consultation.