Pantry Pests

Table of Contents

What Is The Pantry Pest?

There are a lot of unique things about the pantry pest. To start, this is a group of different species, rather than just one species. While this might be interesting, it makes elimination and detection all that more difficult because you don’t have to learn how to deal with just one species. You have to learn how to deal with several species. It’s a good thing that most of the bugs that fall into this classification have the same moods, habits, and temperaments. Whatever the situation, learning to spot and identify these species will be key to elimination and detection. To start, here are some things you need to know about this classification of insect:

  • Many professionals in Washington will also refer to the pantry pests as stored product pests.
  • They are referred to as stored product pests because that’s what they feed on.
  • Stored products can include anything from flour, cereal, dry pasta, dry pet food, powdered milk, cornstarch, cracker, spices, bread, birdseed, dried nuts. Candies, fruit, and tons more…
  • While there are a variety of pests that fall into the pantry pest category, there are only a few that Washington residents have to worry about.
  • These would be Indian Meal Moths, Saw-Toothed Grain Beetles, and Cigarette beetles.
  • These critters can breed non-stop because they’ll live in the products they feed on, mating non-stop.
  • Just because they are found in the home, it doesn’t mean the home is dirty. These critters can invade clean, neat, and orderly homes.

Properly Identifying Pantry Pests

As was mentioned, learning to identify each specific species of pantry pest will be crucial to successfully eliminate the bugs. Luckily there are only just three you have to worry about in Washington DC. Here’s what you need to know about each unique pest:

The Indian Meal Moth

  • It goes by the scientific name Plodia interpunctella.
  • They are small moths with reddish-brown back wings and whitish gray forewings.
  • It is the larvae of the species that are responsible for all the stored product food damage.
  • These critters can crawl on ceilings and spin cocoons in rooms other than the kitchen or pantry, making them more difficult to eliminate.

The Saw-Toothed Grain Beetle

  • Orzaephilus surinamensis is its scientific name.
  • This critter has a slender, flat brown body.
  • It can grow to be 1/10 inches long.
  • It has six saw-like tooth projections on each side of the thorax.
  • Both larvae and adults can feed on stored food products.

The Cigarette Beetle

  • It goes by the scientific name Lasioderma serricorne
  • They are light brown in color and can grow to be 1/8 inches long.
  • It has a hump-backed appearance with smooth wings and body hairs that give it a fuzzy look.
  • These critters get their nickname “cigarette beetle” from the fact that they like to feed on cured tobacco in the home. Even your cigarettes and cigars won’t be safe from the cigarette beetle.

Why Do People Have Pantry Pests?

If you recall from above, pantry pests aren’t necessarily a sign of cleanliness. They have been found in some of the cleanest properties in the world and will likely continue to be. With that in mind, if you find pantry pests in the home it’s because they are looking for food. Most of the time though these pests are introduced into the property unwittingly by the homeowner. They do it when they bring in food products and mix them. They either buy packages at a local market, bring them without checking them, and mix them with their old products.

This is why it is crucial to always check your old and new food products before mixing them. Don’t assume that because it’s new it won’t be infected or that because it came from a store it’ll be okay. While most infestations start out with just a few bugs, it won’t take long before the numbers are overwhelming. This is because they can reproduce and mate non-stop. And, with their ability to produce several generations a year, it only makes matters all that much worse.

Spotting The Signs Of An Infestation

Unfortunately, pantry pests can be extremely difficult to locate in the home. This is because they are small and blend in with the products they live in. Learning to keep an eye out for the early warning signs will be key to getting ahead and staying ahead of the infestation. You’ll want to look for moths flying around the kitchen or pantry. This could be a sign of pantry pest infestation.

Are Pantry Pests Dangerous?

When it comes right down to it, pantry pests aren’t dangerous. Although it would not be recommended, you could ingest these pests or one of their larvae without experiencing any unhealthy side effects. This has occurred more than you’d think. The reason for this is because they don’t carry or transmit any diseases. About the biggest threat, they pose is that to your food products, potentially increasing the living costs for the property owner. That being said, this is something that could be truly troubling for a restaurant owner.

Preventing Infestations

As with any pest infestation, it’s best to get ahead of the problem before it becomes a problem. Of course, this is much more difficult than one might imagine. If it was easy we wouldn’t be in business. As a pest management firm in Washington, this is something we’ll more than openly tell you. However, it doesn’t mean there aren’t things you shouldn’t do. Doing just the smallest of things can go a long way. Here’s what you’ll want to do to get started:

  • Move all your food products into plastic containers that can be sealed and unsealed.
  • The larvae of some of these species can chew through cardboard.
  • Always thoroughly inspect new and old food products because just blindly mixing them.
  • If you are unsure if a product is infected, you can pour it into a plastic container or bag, give it a week or two, and the bugs should present themselves.

Eliminating Pantry Pests

Pantry pests aren’t known for being agile, quick-witted, or even fast-moving. However, that doesn’t mean they’ll be easy to deal with. They might be one of the harder classifications of critters to get eliminate because of their abilities to reproduce so quickly. Do-it-yourself methods aren’t always successful and this is because the chemicals and pesticides just aren’t as effective as the ones we use. The powerful chemicals are actually illegal for the general public, but that’s an entirely different story. Here’s where you’ll want to start when trying to eliminate an infestation from the property:

  • Discard any infected products in a sealed bag so they can’t escape. Put them outside in cans where they can’t escape and get back into the home.
  • Remove all items from the pantry, wash down the shelves, and vacuum out every nook and cranny of the shelves.
  • Dispose of the discarded vacuum bag in the same manner that you disposed of the infected products.
  • Wash all the containers food products are stored in.

Be aware of the fact that most of the over-the-counter products aren’t effective. They just don’t contain all the necessary ingredients. Such ingredients are illegal and unavailable to the general public. Anyone selling, dealing, or distributing the products is doing so illegally without an EPA certification. Just something you’ll want to keep in mind when choosing a pest management professional in Washington DC.

When Will Your Techs Arrive

With our understanding of the pest industry and our tools, we stay extremely busy. That doesn’t mean we aren’t willing to move heaven and earth for our customers. This is likely why we stay so busy. This is why all you have to do is give us a call, set up an appointment, and we’ll get someone out to the property within the next 24 to 48 hours. We do also have emergency services available for when they are needed. We can get someone to the property immediately when needed. All you have to do is call!

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