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Bugs in the pantry

Abell Pest Control

You’re probably wondering, how did pantry pests get into my kitchen in the first place? It’s quite simple, they are almost always brought into the home on infested items we bring in from the outside. On occasion, insects seeking shelter may also fly in through an open door or window and take up residence in the pantry.

Pantry pests feed off food stored in cabinets and pantries such as cereal, flour, spices, nuts, cookies, pasta, grains, birdseed, and pet foods.

Types of cereal pests

Several types of insects feel at home in your pantry or cupboards. The most common pantry pests are the Indian meal moth, cigarette beetles, sawtoothed grain beetles, among others.

Indian meal moths

According to the University of Nebraska, the Indian meal moth is the most common pantry pest in North America. In larval form, meal moths are small, white, and about half an inch in length and can be found in grain products, seeds, dried fruit, dog food, and spices. As adults, they are brown and tan. Their forewings are reddish-brown with a copper sheen on the outer two thirds and gray on the inner third. The university noted that pheromone traps work well to attract and trap adults. Food infested with larvae should be thrown away. To prevent infestation, seal all dry foods tightly, and monitor for holes in paper bags.

Cigarette beetles

These beetles are reddish-brown and have a rounded, oval shape. They are typically between two and three millimeters in length, making them hard to spot. According to Pennsylvania State University, cigarette beetles have been known to feed on dried fruit, spice, seeds, and rice. Of course, as the name implies, they are a significant pest wherever dried tobacco (leaves, cigars, cigarettes, or chewing tobacco) are stored. Control typically means tossing out infested items and sealing the rest of the items in plastic containers. The university warned not to overlook pet food, as beetles will often infest that as well.

Sawtoothed grain beetles

These beetles are brownish-red to almost black. Adults are 2.5-3mm long (approx. 1/8 inch. They are identified by the saw-like teeth on each side of the prothorax. They are found in many food items including, cereals, pasta, seeds, dog and cat food, dried meat, and flour. The University of Minnesota reported that sawtooth beetle mature larvae are less than 3mm (1/8 inch) long, cream-colored and slender, often making them difficult to spot, especially in light-colored grains. If you see adult beetles in your pantry, there's a good chance there are also larva nearby. You can eliminate all stages by exposing these pests to temperatures of -18C (0F) for 24 hours. Just remember, the core of the products you are freezing must reach these temperatures, and more than 24 hours is generally required.

Check all the packaging before you bring grains, beans and dried fruit into your home. Prevention is the best form of control.





About the author:

Abell Pest Control is a family owned Canadian company dedicated to providing effective, professional and courteous service in pest management.Started in 1924 with one office, Abell now employs several hundred people with branch offices across Canada and the United States.

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