Table of Contents
What Are Pantry Pests?
Each specific pest is unique in its own right. Not just in the way that they inhabit properties, but in the way they feed, hibernate, and simply live. Not only this, but some pests can fall into subcategories. Take the pantry pests, for example. The pantry pest isn’t just a single insect. Instead, it is a category of pests made up of different species, which is something you’ll learn more about later. What this simply comes down to is, information! Information and data are kings. If you want to successfully eliminate pests and keep them out of your property, there are things you’ll need to know about the pests. Here’s what you need to know about the pantry pest:
- This species of pests can sometimes be referred to as Stored Product Pests. They are nothing more than a group of pests with an appetite for dried and processed food products oftentimes found in the home.
- These species can include a variety of insects, but consist of a lot of species that are commonly found in kitchens and homes. The Indian Meal moth, Saw-Toothed Grain Beetle, and the Cigarette Beetle are the perfect examples.
- These pests can breed continuously.
- They tend to live in the food they feed on.
- In a single year, these pests can produce several generations, making them prolific reproducers.
- Just because you have pantry pests in the homes, it doesn’t necessarily mean your home is dirty. These pests are not generally drawn to clutter and messes.
What Do Pantry Pests Look Like?
Pantry pests are unique in that they don’t just consist of a single species. It is several different species that create pantry pests. This makes their eradication and identification even more difficult. You not only have to learn how to spot and identify one pest, but you have to learn how to spot and identify a variety of them. Just start with the Indian Meal Moth and its unique properties.
The Indian Meal Moth:
- Known by their scientific name, Plodia Interpunctella, these small moths have both a front and back set of wings. The front wings are whitish-gray, while the back wings are coppery to reddish-brown.
- It is the larvae of the species that are responsible for most of the food damage that your pantry will encounter.
- With their ability to crawl on ceilings and walls and spin cocoons, they can be notoriously hard to eradicate. They don’t always live in the kitchen or pantry where they are hatched. Some will venture to other parts of the home.
The Saw-Toothed Grain Beetle
- Rarely referred to by their scientific name, Orzaephilus surinamensis, the Saw-Toothed Grain Beetle is one with an extremely flat and slender body. It also gives off a brown appearance and grows to a total of 1/10 inch long.
- It is their six saw-like tooth projections located on each side of the thorax that gives them their distinct name. For those interested, the thorax is the section between the head and stomach
- Both the kids and adults in this species feed on dried food products
- Their preferred meals are flour, cereals, candies, dried fruit
- It’s not uncommon to see them feeding on pet food and birdseed or even rodent bait
The Cigarette Beetle
- Its scientific name is the Lasioderma Serricorne, but it has a light brown color with a body of 1/8 inch long and a humped back. Their smooth wings and body hair almost give them a fuzzy appearance.
- These bugs get their name from the fact they commonly feed on cured tobacco commonly found in the home like cigarettes and cigars. They’ll also feed on pet food, cereals, nuts, and candy.
Why Do I Have Pantry Pests?
Most people unwittingly bring pantry pests into their homes inadvertently via food packages that have already been infected. However, this doesn’t mean they can’t enter from outside sources though. A pantry pest infestation can just start with a few bugs, but it won’t be long before one is dealing with a full-blown infestation. And, this is because if these bugs have quick and easy access to food and shelter, they’ll reproduce prolifically. These bugs can feed non-stop while they live in their food source, producing several generations a year. You can easily see how a small infestation can turn into a major problem within the short time of a few months.
Signs Of An Infestation
As with most pests, it is always best to spot an infestation as early as possible. This will not only help you keep the numbers down, but it’ll save you tons of time and money on pest management efforts. What makes pantry pest infestations even worse though is, they are small and fair colored, meaning they can easily be overlooked. All that being said, this makes it more important for being able to learn to interrupt the signs. One of the early warning signs of a pantry pest infestation is moths. You’ll see small moths flying around the potentially infected areas.
What Threats Do Pantry Pest Pose?
While there are several different pantry pests, homeowners will be glad to know that Indian Meal Moths, Saw-Toothed Grain Beetles, and Cigarette Beetles are not themselves dangerous. The biggest problem that they pose is the ruination of food items. These bugs get into your dried food products and urinate and defecate all over them. That being said, you don’t have to worry about accidentally ingesting a bug or egg. Although entirely undesirable, these pests do not transmit or carry diseases.
How Do I Prevent Pantry Pests?
It doesn’t matter if you are dealing with fleas or mites, it is always best to prevent the problem before it starts. The only problem is, this is much harder said than done. Especially when you are dealing with a quick-witted pest like the pantry pest. The best place to start is in the kitchen. Make sure all your food items are sealed away properly in air-tight containers. Plastic is the better option, as the larvae can easily chew through paper and cardboard products. Cleaning your shelves and pantry regularly is also a good way to attack the problem. Removing crumbs and tiny bits of food that can be easily accessed will help.
In addition to all of this, you’ll always want to carefully inspect dried food products. Before simply mixing them in with your older products, you’ll want to take the time to make sure they are pest-free. At any point, if you are unsure or not whether a product is contaminated, you can pour the contents into a clear, plastic bag. If the product is infested, you’ll likely start to see movement or activity within just a few weeks.
Successfully And Properly Eliminating Pantry Pests
As you can imagine, dealing with pantry pests once they’ve infested the home is undesirable. Once they moved in and taken up residence, it just makes the situation all that much worse and more difficult to eliminate. These bugs are not known for their agility, but it is their quick-wits and ability to blend in with their environment that give them the leg up. Do-it-yourself methods are not always viable, especially not when it comes to DIY pesticides. Not only can these chemicals be potentially dangerous, but most of them don’t contain the necessary ingredients needed to successfully eradicate the bugs.
This is why the substances can be sold online. The real pesticides that are used by professional pest management companies like ours require a special license and certification. Anyone handling or distributing these chemicals without this license is doing so illegally. Just something to keep in mind.
When Will Help Get Here?
We are more than willing to help anyone in Toledo with a pantry pest problem. Our willingness to tackle any pest situation keeps us steady at all times of the year. However, we are always willing to go above and beyond for our customers. If you have concerns, questions, or just want to speak with someone about pantry pests, you can give our Toledo offices a shout. In addition to this, we do offer emergency services when and if they are needed for any pest situation.