Pantry Pests

Table of Contents

What Are Pantry Pests? 

Pantry pests are no doubt a hassle under the right circumstances. That being said, if you want to successfully deal with the critters and keep them from your home, you’ll need the right plan of attack. The right plan of attack starts with knowing as much as you possibly can about these critters. Here is some crucial information you need.

  • These pests are also referred to by many as Stored Product Pests. This is because they are a group of insects with an appetite for dried and processed food products found in most common households.
  • These products can be anything from flour to cereal, dry pasta, dry pet food, powdered milk, cornstarch, crackers, spices, bread, birdseed, dried nuts, fruit, and tons more
  • There are a variety of different species of insects that fall into the pantry pest category. However, it’s the Indian Meal Moth, Saw-Toothed Grain Beetle, and Cigarette Beetle that are most commonly found in Dayton, Ohio.
  • These critters posse the uncanny ability to breed non-stop. They live in the food products they feed on and breed non-stop. Because of this, they can produce several generations in the course of a single year.
  • Just because they are found in the home or on a property, it doesn’t necessarily indicate that the property is unclean.

Identifying Them

Regardless of what type of critter you are dealing with, you’ll have to learn how to properly identify it if you want to eliminate it. This is because each individual critter possesses unique abilities, traits, and characteristics. The insects that make up the pantry pests are no different. Before you can start dealing with them properly, you’ll have to learn how to identify them.

The Indian Meal Moth

This month is referred to by its scientific name of Plodia interpunctella by many. They are small moth-like creatures with reddish-brown forewings and whitish gray front wings. It is the larvae of this species that will be responsible for all the food product damage. They are the ones that do the feeding, and they’ll attack a wide variety of stored food products. Unfortunately, these critters can be notoriously hard to get rid of Indian Meal Moth because they possess the ability to crawl on ceilings and spin cocoons.

The Saw-Tooth Grain Beetle

Its scientific name is thee Oryzaephilus surinamensis, and it possesses a slender body that is somewhat flat and brown in color. They can grow to be about 1/10 inches long, and get their name from the fact that they have six saw-like tooth projections located on each side of the thorax. The thorax, just for those interested, is the section between the head and the abdomen. With this species, both the adult and larvae feed on stored food products.

The Cigarette Beetle

This one sometimes goes by its scientific name of Lasioderma serricorne, but is more commonly referred to as the cigarette beetle because it likes to feed on cured tobacco found in the home. Leave your cigarettes and cigars sitting around and this beetle will dig right into them. They are light brown with a body size of about 1/8 inch and have a hump-backed appearance with smooth wing covers. Despite their smooth wing covers they also have a string of body hairs that give them an almost fuzzy appearance.

Why Are Pantry Pests In My Home?

If you have pantry pests in the home, it is more often the case than not that you brought them in. You probably did so unwittingly, but you likely the responsible party. This is not to say they won’t enter the property from outside because they will, but it is more common that these creatures are brought into the home via food products than anything else. This is why you always have to keep a diligent eye out, making sure you check your old and new products before mixing them.

This is especially crucial when you buy fruits, cereals, flour, or anything else at open markets. Store the food in a plastic, sealed container for a couple of days and see if you get a sign of the presence of pests. Pantry pest infestations can be trouble because they’ll start in small numbers, but it won’t be long at all before you are dealing with many. And, this is because they can live in your food products and mate non-stop while doing so.

Detecting The Early Warning Signs

It is always best to identify an infestation as early as possible. This will allow you to hit the problem early and get a start on it before the numbers are far too overwhelming. That being said, these critters are oftentimes easy to miss because they are so small and blend in with the products that they live in. This is why you’ll want to keep an eye out for flying moths. If you have moths flying around the kitchen or pantry area, this could be a good indication you are dealing with pantry pests. Moths are attracted to the critters, as they’ll feed on them. Moths are attracted to light so don’t just assume they’ve come in from the outside in search of light.

It could be entirely possible that they are around the property looking for pantry pests.

Are Pantry Pests Dangerous?

All in all, pantry pests don’t really pose a threat. They aren’t physically threatening and there have been many reported occasions where homeowners have eaten the bugs or their eggs. In these instances, there were no major reported illnesses. These bugs aren’t known for carrying diseases or transmitting them so this is just one less thing you have to concern yourself with. About the biggest threat, they pose is the one that they’ll do to your food products. This is not to say that some individuals don’t become mentally overwhelmed with them because that’s entirely possible. It’s just that they aren’t physically imposing.

Properly Preventing Pantry Pest Infestations

It is always best if you can prevent a pest infestation before they start, and here’s how you might be able to do so with pantry pests:

  • Always store your food products in plastic, sealed containers (The larvae of this species can easily chew and tear through cardboard)
  • Keep your kitchen and pantry clean on the regular
  • Always remove small bits of food
  • Never just blindly combine old food products with new ones (Take the time to make sure neither are compromised)
  • Clean your containers before mixing food

Eliminating Pantry Pests

While pantry pests are not particularly agile, smart, or witting creatures, they do mate prolifically. This means their numbers are always growing. This without a doubt makes elimination all that much more difficult. Because of this, it is something that usually requires the assistance of a trained professional. This is not to say that you can’t get rid of them on your own, but the task will be a formidable one. We are always more than willing to help with our trained and certified techs. You just have to give us a call. That being said, here are some things you can try on your own:

  • Discard infested items in sealed plastic containers located in cans sufficient distance from the property.
  • Remove everything from the pantry and vacuum the entire area, making sure you get deep into the cracks and crevices
  • Wash down the walls with a stout cleaning agent

When Will Help Be On The Way?

In Dayton, we stay pretty busy at all times of the year. That being said, we take great pride in what we do and are always more than willing to adapt for our customers. Whatever you need, feel free to give us a call. We always have specialists standing by for those in need of emergency services. However, if you want to schedule an in-home assessment, we’ll get someone out to inspect the property within the next 24 to 48 hours. All you have to do is pick up the phone and call! Don’t hesitate!

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Pantry Pests