Pantry Pests

Table of Contents

What Are Pantry Pests?

If you want to successfully eliminate pantry pests and keep them out of the home, you are going to need a good plan of attack. This plan of attack should start with, discovering as much information as you possibly can about these critters. You do not want pantry pests in the home and below you’ll learn why.

  • Pantry pests are also commonly referred to as stored product pests by many. This is because they are a group or species of insects that have an innate appetite for dried and processed food products that are regularly found in the home
  • These dried and processed food products can include, but are not limited to flour, cereal, dry pasta, dry pet food, powdered milk, cornstarch, crackers, spices, bread, birdseed, dried nuts, fruit, and more…
  • Pantry pests are made up of many species of insects, but it is the Indian Meal Moth, Saw-Toothed grain Beetle, and the Cigarette Beetle that is the most commonly found in Syracuse
  • These types of pests breed non-stop. The reason they are able to do this is that they can live in the food they feed on. There literally is no need for them to travel anywhere, so they can just sit there and mate and feed. Only if life were this easy, right?
  • Just because they are found in a property, it doesn’t necessarily mean that property is dirty. These pests have been located in some of the cleanest homes in the world

Identifying Pantry Pests

You just learned some fun and interesting facts about pantry pests. While that information will help, it doesn’t actually tell you what pest or species you are dealing with. This is extremely important when it comes to successful elimination. Learning to identify each individual species will be key. Here’s what you need to know about each of these pantry pests:

The Indian Meal Moth

This species goes by the scientific name (Plodia Interpuncetlla) and are nothing more than small moths with reddish-brown forewings. The back half of their wings are actually bi-colored. The back parts are coppery luster while the front parts are gray. Only the larvae damage food dried and stored food products. They will, however, attack it with great veracity. They have an innate ability to crawl on ceilings and spin cocoons, which makes elimination even all that much more difficult. Most of the time, it is a process that requires the assistance of a licensed, trained professional pest management team.

The Saw-Toothed Grain Beetle

Its scientific name is Oryzaephilus Surinamensis and it possesses a slender body that is somewhat flat. It can grow to be a total of 1/10 inches in length and gets its name from the fact that it has six saw-like tooth projections located on each side of the thorax. The thorax is the section located between the head and abdomen of the bug. In this species, both the larvae and adults attack dried and stored food products. These scavengers are highly known for feeding on loose or open food products like flours, cereals, candies, fruit, and tons more… It’s not also uncommon to find them in pet food, rodent bait, or common birdseed.

The Cigarette Beetle

Known by its scientific name, Lasioderma serricorne, these bugs are light brown in appearance and only grow to 1/8 inch. They have a hump-backed appearance with smooth wings, and body hairs that give them an almost fuzzy appearance. This is likely how you would describe the critter seeing it from a distance. This critter gets its unique and common name from the fact that it commonly feeds on tobacco products in the home. Leave old cigarettes or cigars laying around, and it’s possible they’ll get into them and feed on the cured tobacco. They’ll also eat dried and stored food products, but it is the tobacco that they prefer. 

Why Do Syracuse Properties Have Pantry Pests

The next step in your quest is to figure out why these bugs are on the property. If you figure this out, you’ll be halfway to eliminating the problem. Pantry pests are commonly found in Syracuse properties because they are unwittingly brought in via already-infested food packages. If you bring food or other products into the home that are already infested with pantry pests and mix them with the new ones, you are just virtually contaminating your new products. That being said, it doesn’t mean these critters can’t enter the home from outside either.

A typical infestation usually just starts with a few insects but will be so widespread in just a matter of months that it won’t be funny. And, this is because of their innate ability to live in the products they feed on. You combine this with the fact that they continuously breed, and it should be more than easy to see how these pests are so potentially threatening.

The Early Warning Signs Of An Infestation

Hitting an infestation on as early as possible is always key. Finding the infestation not only limits the exposure of bugs in the home, but it could end up saving you some money in the long run. The earlier you stop the problem, the better off you are. That being said, the only way to stop the problem early is by learning to interrupt the early warning signs. These pests can and will easily be overlooked if not careful. This is because they are small and can easily blend in with the products they fed on.

This is why you’ll want to keep an eye out for months. If you see moths flying in the kitchen, pantry, or wherever you stored dried and processed food products, it’s probably a good indication you are dealing with pantry pests.

Are Pantry Pests Dangerous?

Indian Meal Moths, Saw-Toothed Grain Beetles, and Cigarette Beetles are not particularly dangerous. They don’t really pose a physical threat. There have been many reported incidents of people accidentally ingesting the bug or the larvae. While this is not recommended, there were no heinous side effects associated with the incidents. They don’t really pose a threat to your property either, as they don’t feed on wood or any other major structure.

The biggest threat they pose is to your food products. They’ll get into your food products and destroy them, urinating and defecating over everything. They don’t transmit diseases or carry pathogens.

Is It Possible To Prevent Infestations?

While it is entirely impossible to prevent pantry pest infestations, there are things you can do to greatly lower your risks. Here’s how you’ll want to start:

  • Always keep food in tight-fitting, sealed containers. The larvae can easily chew through cardboard and paper products to gain access to food. They can also get to containers that don’t have tightly sealed tops.
  • Cleaning your shelves and walls regularly are key
  • Always clean up food crumbs and messes immediately
  • Always check your food products to make sure you are not mixing contaminated packages
  • Any time you are unsure if a package is infected, you can pour the contents in a clear bag, give it a month, and check the contents later (An infected package will show the presence of these bugs)

How Can I Eliminate Pantry Pests?

Pantry pests aren’t known for their speed or agility, but that doesn’t make eliminating them all that much easier. This is because they easily blend in with their environment, making them hard to identify. Unfortunately, do-it-yourself methods probably won’t work because of this. Unless you can positively identify the source of the infestation, you won’t be able to remove them from any property. However, it is always possible to try to eliminate an infestation by yourself. Here are some things that you can try:

  • Discard anything that seems to be infected, but before doing so make sure you put them in sealed plastic bags
  • Remove everything from your pantry shelves and used a vacuum to thoroughly clean the area, Eggs, adults, and pupae should all be removed, and you have to remember they could be hiding in crevices and cracks.
  • After vacuuming out the shelves place the discarded vacuum bag in a sealed plastic bag in the same manner that you disposed of the infected food products
  • After vacuuming shelves and walls and corners, wash everything thoroughly with a recommended cleaning agent

When it comes to do-it-yourself treatments there is one major thing to keep in mind. This is the fact that over-the-counter pesticides aren’t effective. The reason they aren’t effective is that they are missing essential ingredients. Ingredients that are illegal and cannot be purchased without a license or certification. This is just something to keep in mind when choosing a professional pest management firm. Anyone operating with these chemicals or selling them without a license or certification is doing so illegally.

When Can Help Get Here?

Every pest management pest provider in Syracuse is different, but we are more than willing to adapt and accommodate. After you make that initial call, we’ll be out at the property within 24 to 48 hours. That being said, we do have emergency techs available if and when needed.

Are There Safe Treatments?

Thanks to the advances in technology and the growth in the pest management industry, there are now greener alternatives and solutions available for treating pantry pests. There is no denying that pesticides are effective. They have been tried and tested many times over the past couple of years. The only problem is these chemicals are dangerous. This is why there are now green alternatives available. While we do offer these solutions, you have to remember that these alternative treatments might not be viable for every customer in every situation.

All you have to do is give us a call and we’ll send out a pest management professional to see if you qualify for one of these treatments.

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