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With food only growing more expensive and less obtainable, one certainly doesn’t want to waste what they have. Waste not, want it. It’s an old proverb that gets thrown around a lot these days. There is also a lot of truth to it. All that aside, no homeowner wants to waste food because some unsightly invader got in it. This not only means that you must throw out and dispose of the food, but it likely also means you’ve got a serious pantry pest problem on your hands.
What Are Pantry Pests?
When the warmer weather starts to settle in, you might start noticing unwanted visitors in your pantry. These visitors might just be nibbling at your packages right now, but if not tended to, you’ll end up with a full-blown mess on your hands. It won’t take long, and the numbers will start to grow, the damage to the food will get more severe, and before you know it, you’ll be throwing out good packages of food.
It’ll almost seem as if these invaders have taken over your kitchen or pantry. These are pantry pests and that is their mentality. While this classification of pests can be comprised of a variety of species, most of them tend to be drawn toward dried goods. Dried goods like flour, cereal, pasta, baking mixes, grain products, cookies, crackers, powdered milk, dried fruit, nuts, seeds, popcorn, spices, pet food, and even cured meats. All your favorite pastime snacks!
Learning The Most Common Pantry Pests
Although most pantry pests follow a similar attitude and mentality, it is important to educate yourself about the various species. Learning about each individual species of pantry pest could be extremely beneficial, as you might only find yourself dealing with certain ones in your part of the world. That established, there are 4 general types of pantry pests. These would be the Anobiidae Beetles, Dermestid Beetles, Flour Beetles, and Indian Meal Moths.
Anobiidae Beetles – Given their complicated technical name, you’ll oftentimes hear these invaders referred to as Drugstore Beetles or Cigarette Beetles. One of the major reasons for this is that these invaders are drawn to tobacco products. These beetles are easily identifiable with their curved, reddish-brown, oval-shaped figures. These invaders even possess the innate ability to burrow into the wood like a termite. They’ll attack your dried products with a ferocious appetite that’ll be hard to match. In addition to being commonly found in the pantry, they like to inhabit attics, pet food storage areas, garages, and utility rooms. They are strong flyers and are commonly attracted to lights like a moth is attracted to a flame.
Dermestid Beetle – Although not quite as interesting as the Drugstore Beetle, the Dermestid Beetles can be furious little creatures. They are a bit furrier with black and rust coloring. They usually appear in solid color and will devour anything organic.
Flour Beetles – Usually reddish-brown in color, these beetles are not necessarily great aviators. They do possess the ability to fly and will use it but aren’t the best at it. It would not be uncommon to overhear them crashing about in your pantry or garage. However, more times than not, you’ll likely find them crawling around in your flour products, hence the name. Yes, they stand to make a real potential mess.
Indian Meal Moths – You’ll immediately know if you are infested with Indian Meal Moths, as they oftentimes make their presence known with webbing and cocoons. They usually appear in pale gray mixed with reddish-browns and topped with coppery wings. These unfortunate invaders will devour nearly anything they can gain access to. The Indian Meal Month possesses perhaps the keenest ability of the four to navigate cracks and crevices.
Where Are They Coming From?
This is the main question that homeowners commonly find themselves asking when they discover a pantry pest problem. It is understandable why this is the case, especially if you maintain a clean home. Unfortunately, a clean home and neatly organized pantry won’t make you impervious. It’ll certainly reduce your risks.
Some people will uncover that they are doomed from the beginning, as a lot of these pest’s preferred foods can become infected during production. While this might be the case, the presence of these creatures most of the time has something to do with improper food storage. Whether it is at the grocery store, in the warehouse, or at your home, if you don’t properly store these items, they’ll become affected.
It is the products that are left in storage for extended periods of time that are most at risk. Making sure that you are rotating your food products and using them by date can greatly help prevent problems.
Starting From Scratch
Unfortunately, when you discover you have a pantry pest problem, you’ll likely need to start over from scratch. Now, this doesn’t mean you’ll need to throw out everything in your pantry.
No, that would be completely wasteful. What it means is you need to empty your pantry, clean it from top to bottom with the right agents, seal all cracks and crevices, and properly restore items.
It is hard to successfully eradicate a pantry pest problem by attacking the issue little by little. Even if you just spot one of two invaders in your products, you’ll want to clean the entire pantry and restore everything.
Prevention Is Always Key
As with any infestation, it is best to prevent a problem before it actually becomes a problem. While this is not always easily done or even possible, it can be with pantry pests. Here are some tips from our pest professional experts that you’ll want to implement around the home.
Properly Sealed Containers – It doesn’t matter how well-equipped or adept a pantry pest is, if your food is stored in the right containers, it will be inaccessible. Store your grain-based products and nuts in resealable plastic containers. Something with air-tight lids will not only make the food inaccessible but it’ll help keep it fresher. Storing in cardboard is simply not a viable solution, as many of these pests will chew right through it. They’ll also make quick work of softer plastics.
Freezer Storage – A freezer can sometimes be an invaluable pantry accessory. A freezer can actually serve two purposes. Packaging and properly storing your foods in the freezer will not only keep them safer and fresher for longer periods, but it’ll kill out any present infestations.
Proper Heating – Heat is a superb tool. And if you make sure you thoroughly heat your foods during the cooking process, you’ll eliminate any potential growth and bacteria. Usually, cooking in a preheated oven of 140 degrees F for an hour will destroy any unwanted infestations.