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Pantry Pests: Insects Found in Stored Food

Pantry Pests: Insects Found in Stored Food


What on earth is a pantry pest?

Insects that infest dry goods in your kitchen cupboard are often referred to as “pantry pests.”

The most common kitchen cabinet culprits are weevils, moths, and beetles who flourish in flour, cereal, died beans, pasta, chocolate, dried fruit, and the like.

How will I know if I have pantry pests?

We hope you never encounter these pesky dried food dwellers, but here are some of signs to
look for.

  • You’re likely to see tiny beetles in dried food products. These beetles are fairly easy to see in items like white flour, but more difficult to spot on products like pet food and birdseed.
  • You may see beetles on your kitchen counters, in your cupboards, and around window sills.
  • You may see small moths in your home. These are most likely Indianmeal moths, and they are often found in food products. They can survive year-round in most climates.
  • You may spot caterpillars and their webbing on walls, ceilings, inside cabinets and pantries, and inside food containers.

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How can I avoid an infestation?

The best way to make sure you don’t encounter these pests is careful storage in glass, metal, or sealed thick plastic containers.

  • Pantry pests sometimes infest products during the manufacturing process, but more often they take up residence in dried pantry items in the supermarket or once they reach your home.
  • When your at the supermarket, make sure all dry food packaging is secure and hole-free before putting it in your cart.
  • Buying in bulk can be an eco-friendly and cost-effective way to shop. When buying in bulk, make sure you are only taking what you can consume in a couple of months.
  • Store your dry food products in airtight containers.
  • Keep your kitchen clean. Wipe up spilled food and crumbs as soon as possible.
  • Use 1st Defence coasters under dried goods whenever possible.
  • Pet food, wildlife feed, and birdseed are often overlooked as the source of what brought pantry pests in to your home, but they are a commonly a source of infestations.

Use 1st Defence coasters under dried goods whenever possible.

What should I do if I find evidence of pantry pests?

If you’ve found evidence of an infestation, collect the contaminated item and make sure nothing
else in the surrounding area has been infested.

  • Vacuum the area carefully and thoroughly and remove any debris.
  • Dispose of infested items and the vacuum bag used to clean the area in an outdoor garbage receptacle.
  • Clean cabinets with a food safe cleaning agent. Harsh chemicals toxic cleaning agents are not only ineffective in preventing further infestations, but they can contaminate food. These products should not be used.
  • Do not use insecticides around food or areas where food is stored. Doing so is dangerous.
  • To help avoid re-infestation, unopened or food that’s been carefully stored in the freezer for a minimum of four days. Alternatively, you can spread the food on to a shallow baking sheet and place in a 130 degree oven for a minimum of 30 minutes.
  • You may continue to see moths for up to three weeks after this process. Seeing them for any longer indicates a continuing infestation.




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