What do pests and humans have in common? They both can find plenty of tasty items in the kitchen pantry. Many insects can use stored foods as a source of nourishment just like people do. That is why it is important to know these pantry pests and their distinguishing characteristics. By the time they have settled in and discovered your pantry, you could have a full infestation on your hands. Your Lakeland pest control experts at Superior Spray Service Inc. want to help you prevent that situation, so here is some need-to-know information about potential pantry pests.
Indian meal moths
These moths are probably the most common food-infesting moth found indoors. They are especially prevalent in areas where dried pet foods are stored. Nuts and seeds are other favorites of the Indian meal moth. Adult moths are about a half-inch long with distinctive grey and coppery brown wings.
Dried meats such as jerky, and grain-based products—including flour, cereals, oats, cocoa, pasta, and spices are favorites for this scavenger pest. You will usually find larvae in infested food. Adult beetles lay their eggs in pantry items so their young will have a direct food source.
Sawtooth Grain & Merchant Beetles
Sawtooth grain or merchant beetles prefer to feed on processed foods such as breakfast cereals, pasta, sugar, chocolate, and dried fruits. Oatmeal and seeds are also at-risk items when these insects are near. Adult beetles are flat, approximately a quarter-inch long, and are a brownish-red color. Appropriately named, these beetles also have six saw-like teeth on either side of the head.
Drugstore beetles & Cigarette Beetles
Looking almost identical to one another, their differences lie in their favorite food sources. Drugstore beetles feed on bread as well as any dried food or material—even book bindings. These resourceful beetles have been known to chew through most types of food packaging. They can even punch through tinfoil! The cigarette beetle’s name is derived from one of their preferred foods—stored tobacco, namely cigarettes.
Flour beetles come in two varieties, the red flour beetle and the confused flour beetle. Both are reddish-brown and about 3/16 of an inch long. As their name implies, you will typically find them in stored flours.
These pests actually resemble small spiders. They cause infestations when the females lay eggs within stored foods, finding grain, seeds, and cereals to be particular favorites. Spider beetles will infest any grain-based product, no matter how stale and moldy it might be.
Weevils are a despised pantry pest can wreak havoc on your stored food! Wheat and rice weevils do the most of their damage to seeds and whole grains. They usually feed on items such as loose flour or cereals. Infestations occur when the females lay their eggs on seeds, kernels or other stored food. Once the eggs hatch, larvae chew the seeds to feed. Another pantry pest in the weevil family is the bean weevil. Although they are most commonly gardens, where they target beans, they can also be found chomping on seeds and dried beans inside your pantry. Bean weevils will breed continuously as long as there is some sort of food source for them.
Grain mites proliferate in cereals, dried vegetables, cheese, and dried fruits. A mite infestation will cause a brownish tinge over the food they are devouring. This is called “mite dust” and is caused by the light brown color of the mite’s legs. Mites live only about two weeks in normal temperatures, but an infestation easily can spread if food sources are available and not treated in a prompt manner.
Tips To Stop Pantry Pests Before They Get In
- Store food in airtight containers. Cardboard and thin plastic packaging is easy for pests to chew through.
- Keep your kitchen clean. Clean up spills and wipe down counters and cabinets on a regular basis.
- Throw out old food items. Go through your pantry and cabinets. Throw out expired items or foods you know you are not going to use. You can donate unexpired and non-perishable items to a local shelter.
- Use bay leaves. Add a bay leaf to containers that store dry goods such as flour, rice and other grains. The pungent smell will repel many pantry pests.
If you see insects in your pantry, act fast to avoid a total infestation. Contact a professional pest control provider like Superior Spray Service Inc. so we can eliminate any pantry pests that may be causing problems for you. If your pantry is pest-free, we recommend using preventive treatments that stop potential infestations before they begin. To learn more, give us a call at (863) 682-0700 or send us a message. We will be happy to schedule a consultation for you with one of our professional pest control technicians.
Superior Spray Service is proud to serve the pest control needs of residential, commercial, and construction clients in Central Florida, including Lakeland, Orlando, Kissimmee, Tampa, Brandon, Plant City, and the surrounding areas.