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What Are Pantry Pests?

Pantry pests are tiny insects that are visible to the naked eye yet small enough to invade your pantry and the foods stored within. As such, an uncontrolled infestation can quickly lead to contaminated food items such as grains, dry cereals, spices, and other similar items.

indian meal moth in a pantry

Two common types of pantry pests are the merchant grain beetle and the Indian meal moth. A brief description of each is below:

Merchant Grain Beetle

This pest is found throughout the United States and is known for its six saw-like teeth located on each side of their flat bodies. They have a narrow oval shape and are brown in color. With a size of only 1/10 an inch in length, they can easily slip into your food items.

Indian Meal Moth

The Indian meal moth is also found throughout the United States and boasts copper-red coloring on the outer part of its wings. They only grow to about 5/8 of an inch in length with an elongated oval shape, making them perfectly suited to get into your pantry items.

Are Pantry Pests Dangerous?

The good news is that these pests aren't a direct threat to your health and safety. However, that doesn't negate the impact they make on your food.

Both pests are known to contaminate food sources, making them unfit for use. If the contaminated food isn't discovered before use, it's possible for people to suffer from foodborne illnesses such as listeria, E. coli, and salmonella to name a few.

Where Do Pantry Pests Live?

Unlike most pests, you'll find both of them largely indoors thanks to their love of grains, cereals, cake mixes, and other similar dry goods. They are most common in places like pantries, grocery stores, food processing facilities, and other locations where there are plenty of dry goods and light.

What Do Pantry Pests Eat?

Neither of these pests is picky in their food selection, but they are particularly fond of foods such as grains, seeds, nuts, dried fruits, candies, dried red peppers, powdered milk, chocolate, and even cake mixes.

How Do I Know If I Have A Pantry Pest Problem?

It's actually easy to tell if you have a pantry pest problem. Carefully inspect your pantry or other locations you keep dry food, and you'll know quickly if you have a potential problem on your hands.

We recommend looking through all boxes and items stored in your kitchen pantry, inspecting each carefully to see if you can locate the source of the pantry pest infestation. Once you find the source, discard it outside of your home, and continue looking through the remainder of your stored food goods to ensure they did not contaminate any other food.

How Can I Prevent A Pantry Pest Infestation?

As long as an infestation hasn't been fully established, there are ways to enjoy effective pantry pest prevention. Follow these tips, and you'll give yourself the best chance to remain protected:

  • Inspect your dried food products on a regular basis, including pet foods.

  • Discard any contaminated foods in outdoor trashcans.

  • Check expiration dates of foods purchased and foods stored at your home, and discard any food that has expired.
  • If cupboards are infested, make sure to clean with a vacuum plus soap and water.

  • Keep food stored in sealed, airtight containers.

  • Adding a bay leaf to your packages may keep these pests away.

How Do I Get Rid Of Pantry Pests?

It's important to keep in mind that any pest infestation, including a pantry pest infestation, requires the assistance of trained professionals to fully remove. Pantry pests can reproduce rapidly when left unchecked. If you don't detect them early, you will likely have a huge problem on your hands. A good start to controlling pantry pests would be to identify and remove their source.

Our team is ready to provide the pest control solutions you need for unmatched results while keeping people and pets safe throughout the treatment process. We are a family-owned-and-operated company that does pest management right. With our Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach, we can eliminate and implement strategies to keep pests away in the long run. Reach out to us today to learn more about our recurring or one-time pest control plans.


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