What Are They?
No, pantry pests are not hungry family members scrounging for a snack! Pantry pests are an assortment of beetles, moths, and other “bugs” that feed in dried food products. They can infest almost anything in your cupboard from spices to flour to macaroni to chocolate candy. Pantry pests contaminate food and can give it an “off taste.”
How Do They Get Into My House?
Often, pantry pests are brought home from the store. Beetles or moths may lay eggs in food products during harvesting, processing, or while in storage. If an infested box or bag sits on your shelf for a while, the pests can infest other foods in your kitchen as well.
Pantry pests can get into your home in other ways, too. Bean or seed mosaic pictures or jewelry, Indian corn, dried flower arrangements, fish or turtle food, mouse bait, and various other non-pantry items can be infested with pantry pests.
An infestation can go unnoticed for a long time. Eventually, you might find the beetles or moths, or their larvae, inside a food package. You might see skins that they've shed or silk webbing in the food itself. You might see whitish caterpillars crawling up kitchen walls.
If you discover that you have a pantry pest problem, the key is to find the infested food products. Dried foods most often infested are: (1) those that have been sitting unopened on the shelf for some time, (2) those that are used only occasionally, or (3) those that are bought in bulk like pet food and bird seed.
What Can You Do About Pantry Pests?
Preventing beetles and moths from infesting your kitchen takes a little common sense, good food storage practices, and some luck. Completely eliminating an existing pantry pest infestation isn't easy, and requires a lot of effort.
- Buy packaged foods in smaller quantities that are used up more quickly. Use older foods first. Get rid of packages that have been on the shelf forever.
- Check packages before purchase. Make sure they are sealed, with no crumbs or webbing on the bottom. Check the package date to make sure the food is still fresh.
- Dry pet food and bird seed are the two most commonly infested items. If you buy these in large quantities, store them away from the kitchen in a metal garbage can or other large container with a tight-fitting lid.
- If you suspect pantry pests, you or your pest control professional will need to check every boxed or bagged food item in your kitchen. Even packages that are sealed can contain pantry pests. Pour the contents onto a cookie sheet to look for evidence of pantry pests. If in doubt, throw it out.
- Store foods that are “bug—free” in glass, plastic, or metal containers with tight lids, or keep them in the refrigerator. Pantry pests can chew through cardboard, and plastic or paper bags.
- Remove shelf paper, vacuum and wash empty cupboards, drawers, and shelves. Don't let flour or crumbs accumulate on shelves or in crevices.
- Because pantry pests often lay eggs in hidden cracks and crevices that your cleaning can't reach, a professional pest control service will help prevent another infestation.
Calling a local professional pest control company will always be your most effective and convenient solution when it comes to unwelcomed pests in your home or business. For trusted service you can rely on, give us a call at (561) 791-2400.