How to Identify and Eliminate Pantry Pests

If you want to protect the foods that are stored in your pantry and kitchen cupboards, then it is essential to identify pantry pests so that you can prevent infestations. When you have pantry pests, it can lead to a loss of expensive foods that you probably store long-term for your family’s meals. Some of the foods that pantry pests will infest include:

  • Boxes of cereal
  • Nuts
  • Bags of rice
  • Boxes of pasta
  • Bags of flour
  • Packages of crackers
  • Containers of spices
  • Dried fruit

In addition, pantry pests will infest bags of dry pet food, making the items inedible.

Here is a list of some of the most common pantry pests along with the ways to control and eliminate the vermin.

1- Confused Flour Beetle

The confused flour beetle is a common pantry pest that you might bring home accidentally from a supermarket. This insect prefers consuming flour and other grains. It has a small body size, reddish-brown coloration and clubbed antennae. This beetle pantry pest cannot fly, helping you to recognize it. A confused flour beetle searches for finely ground flour and grain products that are easier to consume. When your flour or foodstuffs are infested with the confused flour beetle, you may find dead insects, fecal pellets and a foul odor. The bad odor from this insect’s secretions will cause mold to grow in the infested bags of grain. To get rid of these beetles, you must throw away the contaminated food before washing all containers, walls and shelves thoroughly, according to Indian Meal Moth Products and Control Spray.

2- Greater Rice Weevil

The greater rice weevil prefers to eat grains such as wheat, rice and oats, but it will also infest other foods such as dried fruit. This weevil resembles a small brown beetle, and it will have reddish-brown colorations on its wings to help you identify it. This variety of weevil can fly, and it has a long thin snout that it uses to ingest food. This pantry pest is found worldwide, and it has a life cycle of approximately 40 days. A female greater rice weevil will lay one small white egg inside a grain of rice or wheat before sealing it inside. It is nearly impossible to know if the grain is infested until the weevils hatch from the wheat or rice. This means that if you see adult weevils, then you must throw away the bags of grain or other foodstuffs that may have an infestation of larvae.

3- Cigarette Beetle

The cigarette beetle will infest food products when there is no tobacco available. This is a small brown beetle with a round body and large wings, helping it to fly to new locations. Younger beetles will consume foodstuffs such as nuts, dried fruit and grain products while the adults are focused on breeding a new generation of beetles. Female cigarette beetles lay approximately 100 eggs at a time, and the larvae will also infest foods, leaving a trail of fecal matter. If you have an infestation of cigarette beetles, then look for ready-made traps that contain pheromones that will attract males, helping to prevent large populations of this insect. To eliminate the beetles in your pantry, spray a safe nontoxic insect spray that is formulated for this insect.

4- Pantry Moth

There are several types of flying pantry moths that will infest and consume your dry pantry goods. These insects vary in size but will have papery wings with different colorations of gray, copper or brown. An adult pantry moth is small, making it difficult to see, but the insects will ingest the dry foods in your pantry or cupboards for nourishment. Favorite foods include nuts, flour and pasta. If you find a few pantry moths in your pantry or near dried foodstuffs, then the adult insects have likely laid eggs in the bags of rice or dried food. Don’t try to consume any infested foods because it can lead to an illness. Make sure to throw away the contaminated foods in tightly sealed trash bags. Also, throw away the containers that might have eggs or larvae. To get rid of pantry moths, you should wash the shelves and doors in a pantry thoroughly.