Pantry Pests: Who Else is Eating Your Cereal?

Do you find moths in your flour? Or, maybe, beetles in your favorite cereal? There is no need to panic – even a spotless kitchen can fall prey to pantry pests.

Luckily, these unwelcome guests don’t pose a danger and can be completely cleared by a pest control professional. In this article, we will talk about the most common pantry pests and the best prevention and treatment methods.

What are Pantry Pests?

Pantry pests are precisely what their name implies – pests that inhabit your pantry and feed off your packaged foods like cereals, flour, or grains.

The most common types of pantry pests are weevils, moths, and beetles. These tiny insects are not dangerous and are more a nuisance than anything. They will not cause any damage to your home, and they won’t sting or bite you.

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Nevertheless, getting rid of pantry pests is not an easy task and, in some cases, requires the help of a professional pest control company.

What Pantry Pests Can You Meet in Your Kitchen?

Weevils

Weevils are most commonly found inside flour or cereal boxes. They measure 2.5 to 3.5mm in length and have slender brown bodies with long snouts.

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There are various weevils, such as the rice weevil, the granary weevil, and the maize weevil.

Signs of weevil infestation:

  • Holes in your grain or rice – female grain weevils use their mandibles to bite a hole in the kernel of grain to lay an egg inside.
  • Weevils are crawling on the walls or window sills or inside the pantry.
  • Tiny larvae are found in cereals, grains, nuts, pasta, tea bags, and pulses.

Moths

Moths are among the most common pantry pests, and they are the easiest to spot flying near their food. Moths can eat dried fruit, chocolate, bird food, and dry pet food.

The 2 most common types of moths are Indian meal moths and Angoumois grain moths.

  • Indian meal moths are ½ inch long with a 2/4 inch wingspan. They are brown, with copper or reddish markings on the outer part of the wings and a gray band at the base of the wings.
  • Angoumois grain moths are ½ inch in length and pale yellow-brown.
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Signs of a moth infestation:

  • Adult moths are flying near the pantry or through the rest of the house. They are attracted to lights and can flutter around screens at night.
  • Silken webbing and threads on or inside packaging, food products, cupboards, storage shelves, walls, and ceilings.
  • Moth larvae crawling inside the food products containing cereal, flour, grains, nuts, chocolate, or dried fruits.

Beetles

There is a wide variety of pantry beetles out there – confused flour beetles, red flour beetles, cigarette beetles, drugstore beetles, and more.

Pantry beetles are typically small in size and have wings. Some can fly, while others only crawl.

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Signs of beetle Infestation:

  • Adult beetles flying inside the house. They are usually attracted to lights and can accumulate inside or along window sills.
  • Adult beetles and their larvae in food products contain cereal, flour, dog treats, dried pet food, and grain products.

Common Pantry Pest Control Methods

Generally, treatment methods for common pantry pests like moths or beetles do not include insecticide. They can be effectively dealt with by careful inspection, prevention, and sanitation.

However, when in doubt, it is still worth consulting a professional pest control company.

Inspection

A thorough inspection is required to locate and eliminate the infestation source and provide a long-term solution.

Many times, homeowners tend to overlook unopened packages, prepared or prepackaged foods, or non-food items. However, a broad range of products can be vulnerable.

Pheromone Traps

You can purchase special pheromone traps that attract the specific type of pantry pests to a pitfall trap or a sticky glue board. However, these aren’t effective as a control method and should be used as a monitoring tool.

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Prevention and Sanitation

Out of all methods, prevention and sanitation give you the best shot at effectively controlling pantry pests. Here are some tips that can help you prevent kitchen infestations and minimize wasted food:

  • Immediately dispose of infested products in thrash and put them outdoors.
  • Vacuum crevices and cracks where grains can accumulate, and insects can hide.
  • Keep an eye on non-food items that can be infested, such as spices, dried flowers, and dog biscuits.
  • Store products in insect-proof, air-tight containers.
  • Before purchase, check for tears or rips in packaging or other signs of infestation.
  • Use the oldest products first to ensure proper stock rotation.
  • Do not buy foods in bulk and store large quantities of products inside the pantry.
  • Clean up any crumbs and spills in food storage areas immediately.
  • Store infrequently used products in the freezer or refrigerator.

The Verdict

While stumbling upon dozens of insects while pouring a bowl of cereal is, without a doubt, unpleasant, pantry pests don’t present any danger to your health or your home.

Weevils, moths, and beetles can often be eliminated and prevented by following certain food storage practices and keeping your kitchen pantry clean of any crumbs, grains, or spills.

And, if this doesn’t work, a pest control professional can deal with the issue in an effective and timely manner.

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