When you start pulling out ingredients for your favorite cookie, the last thing you want to find are bugs. The bugs that like to sneak into your pantries are referred to as pantry pests or stored product pests. These bugs live in and feed on your favorite ingredients. We’ve gathered information about the most common pests you could find in your pantry.
Indian Meal Moths
The Indian meal moth is one of the most common pantry invaders. Adult Indian meal moths have mostly gray wings with some brown coloration on the outer edges. Larvae are white with a dark head and are about 1/2ʺ in length. While having adult moths in your home can be a nuisance, the larvae are more troublesome. Adult Indian meal moths don’t eat, but their larvae feed on items such as flour, nuts, pasta, and spices. They also leave behind webbing on products and shelves. If these moths infest food products, you’ll have to throw them away.
There are two flour beetles that often infest pantries—the red and confused flour beetle. These beetles look very similar and can be difficult to tell apart if not viewed up close. Both beetles are reddish-brown and grow to about 1/8ʺ. The red flour beetle can fly, while the confused flour beetle does not. These beetles feed on a variety of pantry items including flour, pasta, and cereal. They often infest packages at stores and warehouses before being brought into homes. Not only do they lay eggs on food, but also their shed skin and feces.
Rice weevils are small pests that are about 1/8ʺ in length. They have a reddish-brown body with yellow or red markings on their wings. A defining trait of a weevil is its long snout. Though they’re called rice weevils, this pest is attracted to several grains. Barley, oats, corn, and wheat are all targets of the rice weevil. Female rice weevils can lay eggs inside of grain kernels every day. Not only does this make food inedible, it also can lead to a large infestation.
Sawtoothed and merchant beetles are closely related grain beetles. Both species of beetles are about 1/10ʺ and brown. Behind their head, they have six projections that resemble a tooth of a saw blade. While merchant grain beetles can fly, sawtoothed beetles do not. These grain beetles will eat a variety of pantry items. Cereals, pasta, cake mixes, and oats are all potential targets. As with the other pests on this list, you won’t want to keep the food that grain beetles infest.
Cockroaches are another pest that likes to snack on your favorite treats. The German, American, brown-banded, and Oriental cockroach are all known to invade homes. While they vary in size and coloring, they all are in search of shelter near a food source. Your pantry meets these requirements. Cockroaches can squeeze into tight spaces and will eat and crawl on food in your pantry. These pests can carry and transfer bacteria they have picked up along their travels.
The thought of these pests in your kitchen probably has your skin crawling. Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to keep your pantry pest-free. Make sure to check your groceries before bringing them home for signs of pests. You’ll also want to ensure your pantry and kitchen are kept clean and free of crumbs and spills. Store your ingredients in containers with air-tight seals to prevent bugs from sneaking into them. Using an insecticide spray with plant essential oils, like Maggie’s Farm Simply Effective Home Bug Spray, near entry points will not only kill pests on contact, but also repel other pests from entering your home.
If you find your pantry is overrun with pests, there are a few steps to treating the problem. Remove all items from your pantry and discard infested products. You’ll want to clean your pantry by vacuuming and wiping it down. Before filling your pantry again, you can apply an insecticide dust like Maggie’s Farm Simply Effective Spider & Insect Dust. Placing this in the cracks and crevices will not only kill any pests you may have missed, but it will also leave you with residual repellency. This will help to keep pests from returning to your pantry.
You don’t want to have to cancel your dinner plans because of uninvited pests. Knowing which pests are eyeing your food can help you prevent and eliminate an infestation. If bugs are giving you a fit, we want to help! Check out our Maggie’s Farm Simply Effective Pest Control products.