A Guide to Pantry Pests | Pegasus Pest Control Explains

You may have unwanted visitors this summer. These visitors are nibbling on your food, multiplying, and slowly taking over your home. They are known as pantry pests. These pesky insects can be hidden from view for quite some time in your pantry and in your food. 

The dried foods they often infest include flour, cereal, pasta, baking mixes, grain products, cookies, crackers, powdered milk, dried fruit, nuts, seeds, popcorn, spices, pet food, and cured meats.

Eventually, these pests get really comfortable and decide to let their presence be known. Our experts at Pegasus Pest Control share a guide to understand and prevent pantry pests.

A Guide to Pantry Pests

Most Common Pantry Pests

Your most common pantry pests are certain types of beetles and moths. Four types of pantry pests that frequently appear include:

  • Anobiidae Beetles:  Specifically the Drugstore Beetle and Cigarette Beetle species: Their nicknames should give you a clue about their preferred food choices. They have curved, reddish-brown, oval-shaped bodies that can even bore into wood. Also, they will eat up every dry food in your pantry as well as your pet’s food. They will show up in your kids’ macaroni art, attic, pet food storage, garage, or utility room. These beetles are strong flyers, and since they seek light, you’ll find them along your windowsills.

  • Dermestid Beetles: If you come across cast-off skins with tiny little hairs or larvae that are a bit furry, you’ve got them. The black and rust or solid black-colored species show up in the pantry, kitchen, garage, or utility room. These beetles eat anything that’s organic.

  • Flour Beetles: These are usually reddish-brown in color, and they’re not necessarily great flyers, you’ll likely find them crawling around in your flour.

  • Indian Meal Moths: You’ll know them by their webbing and cocoons. They have pale gray, reddish-brown, and coppery wings. They eat everything and their larvae are found in cracks and crevices.

Where Do They Come From?

Food products can become infested from production until it arrives at your home. However, stored food is most likely to become infested in the grocery store or in homes. Most pantry pests also infest stored grain and can be found outdoors.

Food products that are left in storage for a long time are prone to infestation. But, foods of any age can become infested.

Pantry Food Products That Can Get Infested

Most dried foods can get infested by insects:

  • Cereal products (flour, cake mix, cornmeal, rice, spaghetti, crackers, and cookies) 
  • Seeds such as dried beans and popcorn 
  • Nuts 
  • Chocolate
  • Raisins and other dried fruits 
  • Spices 
  • Powdered milk 
  • Tea 
  • Cured meats 

On the other hand, other items that may be infested include birdseed, dry pet food, ornamental corn, dried flowers and plants, garden seeds, potpourri, and rodent baits.

In other words, pantry pests are most likely to infest products that have been opened. But, they also can get into the unopened paper, thin cardboard, and plastic, foil, or cellophane-wrapped packages. They may chew their way into packages or crawl in through folds and seams.

Control Tips

1. Seal Food In Pest-Proof Containers

Store grain-based products and nuts in glass or plastic containers with tight-fitting lids to help protect food. Small beetles can chew their way through cardboard or plastic, so unopened packages are not pest proof.

2. Keep Foods in the Freezer

Firstly, this protects foods from getting infested and kills insects already in stored foods. Secondly, refrigerators will also protect non-infested food, but may not kill insects if the food is already infested.

3. Heat Infested Foods

Cook food in the oven at 140° F for an hour to destroy infestations.

4. Use Pheromone Traps

Pheromones are emitted by female insects to attract males. For instance, the pheromones have been synthesized by scientists and incorporated into traps. Meanwhile, only male insects are attracted to these traps, but it is a way to monitor infestations and passively reduce much of the population. But, locating the infestation is still needed to solve the problem.

5. Find and Dispose of Infested Food Products

Throwing away infested foods is the best approach for controlling beetle and moth infestations. On the other hand, using insecticide sprays inside pantries is not recommended.

Pantry Pest Control Near You

Were you surprised by any of these facts? In conclusion, pantry pests may pose a threat to our health, especially during warm weather. Therefore, if you have a pantry pest problem in your home, we highly advise having a professional exterminator tackle these insects so that you can have peace of mind in your home. Call Pegasus Pest Control today, toll-free on (888) 885-5017 and we will inspect your home for free!