Treatments for Pantry Pests

Pantry pests consume packaged goods. Small beetles, moths, and weevils are the most common pests found in the pantry. These critters may not be dangerous, but they are annoying.

They won’t sting or bite you. Eliminating pantry pests is time-consuming, but it’s possible. You may be able to get rid of pantry pest infestations by yourself, but it’s still a good idea to have it checked by a pest control company.

Various Treatments You Can Try When Dealing with Pantry Pests

There are various treatments that you can do to get rid of pests from your stored items. Some of the treatments you can try are the following:

·         Discard Infested Items

Find and throw away all infested food products. Check all food items on shelves and in the pantry because some pests hide underneath packaging. After removing the infested items, observe if there are remaining bugs.

Wash the shelves and cupboards with water and soap. Vacuum the cupboards thoroughly. Don’t use pesticides because it may affect the food. Moreover, it won’t prevent future pantry pest infestations.

Seal food products in airtight containers. This will help prevent further or future infestations. Inspect food products before returning them to the pantry to check if there are other bugs.

·         Temperature Control

Place new food items in sealable plastic bags and keep them in the freezer for at least eight days. After removing the items from the freezer, keep them in plastic bags.

Sometimes, freezing moths only slowly places these critters into a dormant condition until the temperature increases and they become active once again. This method may work, but many people don’t have ample freezer room to dedicate to these pests.

·         Pheromone Traps

Using pheromone traps is a natural and safe way of getting rid of an infestation. It uses the same female pantry moth pheromones that are released when the female moth is prepared to mate. Pheromone traps don’t contain pesticides or poisons.

Male moths will follow the odour and become trapped in the sticky glue board, preventing them from breeding with the females. The more male moths you can capture, the faster the issue will be kept under control. 

Getting rid of pantry pests with moth specific pesticides or general pesticides could be dangerous. Keep in mind that these critters consume your food. Spraying pantry areas or food with chemicals to kill pantry pests could have serious side effects.

If you didn’t see any improvement despite your effort, you should consider hiring an expert pest control. They have the tools and knowledge needed to keep your pantry pest-free. Expect to throw away all the food in the pantry and start over once the treatment is done.

How to Discourage Pantry Pests

Here are some tips on how to prevent pantry pests from invading your food items.

  • Clean areas where you store food storage at least once every year.
  • Don’t purchase a large number of grain products that you will not consume quickly or immediately.
  • Throw away packaging with insect pieces or insect webs.
  • Inspect food from every package under bright light.
  • Store foods in the refrigerator or in airtight metal, plastic or glass containers.

You should also clean up spills immediately. Don’t buy crushed or opened packages.

Common Pantry Pests You May Encounter

·         Moths

These pests usually feed on dried foods, dried fruits, chocolate; dry pet food and birdseed. Moths are easy to spot as they’re typically seen flying near food items. The Indian meal moth is 1/2" long, brownish in colour and has a ¾" wingspan.

To get rid of pantry moths, you need to remove any food source that they might access. Store untouched food packages in an airtight container.

Wipe down cupboards with water and soap. Clean the cabinets thoroughly and throw away any infested food.

·         Beetles

There are different kinds of pantry beetles – confused flour beetles, red flour beetles, drugstore beetles, cigarette beetles, foreign grain beetles, warehouse beetles, merchant grain beetles and sawtoothed grain beetles. Pantry beetles are usually small and have wings. Some crawl, while others fly. 

·         Weevils

Weevils are usually found in cereal and flour. They are brown and have slender bodies. Weevils have a long snout and are 2.5 to 3.5 mm in length.

There are different kinds of weevils – maize weevils, granary weevils and rice weevils.

What Pantry Pests Feed On

Pantry pests consume grains such as cereal, flour, and processed foods. They also love nuts, pet food, spices, and dried fruits.

Pantry pests are usually found in opened packages, but they can also gain access to unopened packages. 

Life Cycle of Pantry Pests

Moths and beetles have four development stages – eggs, larvae, pupa, and adults. The larval stage of Indian meal moths causes damage as it feeds on pantry food. Pantry pests don’t cause damage to your house.

Pantry pests can be extremely costly for businesses like grocery stores, especially if you need to discard large amounts of infested products.

Pantry pests enter through cracks and crevices or gaps in the building’s exterior. They can also enter the building through infested stored products bought from suppliers. If you find an infested item, you should inspect the other products to see how far the infestation has spread.

Signs of an Infestation

The first sign of an infestation is noticing caterpillars crawling on the ceiling or on the walls, moths flying inside your kitchen or bugs crawling on the kitchen countertops. If you check the packaged food products and see bugs, there’s probably an infestation.

Once you confirm an infestation, you can proceed to use various treatments mentioned above or contact an exterminator.