Tips for a Pest-Free Pantry | Critter Control Tampa

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“Pantry pest” is a term used to describe a handful of insects that love to feed on foods such as cereal, rice, flour, and spices commonly kept in your kitchen pantry. While many of these pests make their way into your home through infested foods, they can also find their way in through windows and doors that haven’t been sealed properly.

Getting rid of a pantry pest infestation can be difficult because the insects are so small and often stay hidden for long periods of time, which allows them to reproduce rapidly. Not only are pantry pests a nuisance, but they are also responsible for the loss of millions of dollars due to food contamination and damage.

The Culprits

There are three pantry pests that are most common, which are:

Sawtooth Grain Beetle – These beetles feed on many different products including flour, cereal, bread, pasta, dried fruits, dried meat, and nuts, in homes, stores, and processing facilities all over the world. Not only does their feeding damage goods, but it can also create conditions that result in the growth of mold.

To get rid of a sawtooth beetle infestation, you must first identify and eliminate the food sources which have been infested. After throwing away the infested items, you must thoroughly clean and vacuum to ensure all of the eggs, food debris, and insects themselves are removed. Check to make sure no other items have been infested as well.

Rice Weevil – This pest is originally from India, but has spread all over through the commercial shipment of goods. While they prefer to live in tropical and subtropical climates, they can survive in almost any region when infesting food that’s stored indoors. Both the adults and larvae feed on wheat, corn, oats, nuts, beans, cereal, grains and pasta.

It can be challenging to find the sources of the infestation since rice weevils feed on such a broad range of items. They even attack dry plant arrangements, decorative items that contain dried foods, and even toys or beanbags that are stuffed with grain. To prevent rice weevils from getting into your food, store goods in containers made of glass or plastic and have a tight-fitting lid.

Indianmeal Moth – Coined Indianmeal, because these moths were regularly found infesting cornmeal made of maize, which in the mid-nineteenth century was called Indian meal. Infestations typically occur when females lay eggs directly on or inside food product packaging, which is then brought inside by people unknowingly.

While adult Indianmeal moths infect food products, only the larval or caterpillar stages can both contaminate food products and breed in areas that contain stored products. Some of these items include dried fruits, powdered milk, cornmeal, flour, raisins, prunes, nuts, chocolate, bird seed, dried dog/cat food, fish food, crackers, pasta, etc.

Check any items that may have been sitting in the pantry for an extended period, or that are loosely sealed or in thin packaging. Because of the wide range of food products they infest, you will have to check every food package. Use a vacuum hose to suck up any loose food that may have spilled on the ground as well as wipe the ceiling and walls clean and seal any cracks. Store food products in glass, metal, or hard plastic containers that can be sealed to prevent a re-infestation.

Prevention Tips

To avoid pantry pests invading your kitchen, follow these three tips:

  • Store dried foods correctly in glass, metal, or plastic containers with tight-fitting lids.
  • Keep your pantry clean and organized, making sure to vacuum regularly, and purge expired or empty items.
  • Inspect your pantry on a regular basis for anything that looks like pest activity. While pantry pests can be difficult to control, early detection can help resolve the issue sooner.

In Tampa, we get our share of pests. No matter what kind of bug you are dealing with, call Critter Control® of Tampa for all of your pest control needs. Our Eco-Wise pest control services will ensure our work will never harm your family, pets, or the environment. For a free estimate, call us today at 813.948.0870.

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