Tips for Preventing and Treating Common Pantry Insect Infestations

If you’re like most homeowners, your pantry is filled with hundreds of dollars of food that you wouldn’t want to replace. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to you, something inside your pantry could be harboring insects. There are a variety of insects, including the cigarette beetle, sawtoothed grain beetle, granary weevil, and the Indian meal moth, that will devour several items inside your pantry.

Don’t allow pantry pests to destroy your groceries by following these simple tips.

Identify Common Pantry Insects

If you’re concerned about pantry bugs, the best place to begin is to learn how to tell if the random insect in your pantry is a cause for concern. Here are a few of the most common pantry pests, and how to identify them:

  • Cigarette beetle. This insect gets its name for its preference for cigarettes. However, this insect, which is brown and as an adult is less than one-half inch in length, will consume rice, raisins, ginger, and dates.
  • Sawtoothed grain beetle. The sawtoothed grain beetle gets its name from the tiny, saw-like protrusions that are behind its head. The beetle is also very small, flat, and enjoys cereal, flour, and nuts.
  • Flour beetle. There are multiple types of flour beetles. Two of the most common are the red flour beetle and the confused flour beetle. Both beetles are also very small and brown or reddish in color. In addition to preferring flour, these beetles will consume cereals.

These are only a handful of common pantry pests. For more information on identifying other insects, contact an exterminator.

Prevent Pantry Insects

The best way to avoid dealing with a pantry pest infestation is to prevent one from occurring. Even if your kitchen is immaculate, a full-blown infestation could erupt throughout your pantry. Here are a few tips to prevent pantry pests from enjoying your groceries:

  • Be mindful at the grocery store. Inspect items inside cardboard packaging for signs of damage, such as small holes. If there is damage, it could be a sign of an infestation, or the hole could provide a way for pantry insects to invade the food in the future.
  • Toss out expired food items. Check the expiration dates of the food in your pantry. Toss out any expired grains, flour, cereals, dried fruits, or items in boxes. Expired food is often more attractive to pantry insects. Also, toss out any damaged boxes.
  • Keep your pantry clean. On a regular basis, take all the items out of your pantry and clean the shelving, walls, and doors with soapy water.
  • Store foods in airtight containers. Store any grains, dried fruits, flour, sugar, cereals, and other insect-attracting foods in airtight containers.

If you have any seasonal items that are used for decorations, such as maize or potpourri, store these items in airtight containers, as well.

Get Rid of Pantry Insects

If you notice any small insects inside of your pantry, you may already have an infestation. An easy way to determine if any insects are present is to open a damaged package and spread the contents into a shallow bin, such as a pan. Grab a flashlight and a magnifying glass and sift through the food. If you find insects, there is a chance the infestation is widespread.

Cleaning out your pantry and tossing out any food in damaged packaging is a good place to start. However, the best way to completely rid your pantry of an insect infestation is with the help of a professional exterminator.

An exterminator will have the tools and skills necessary to determine the cause of your pantry infestation, eliminate any remaining insects, and provide you with information to ensure that another infestation doesn’t occur in the future.

Pantry pest infestations are a common problem that requires the assistance of a skilled exterminator. If you have any more questions, contact PermaTreat.

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