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Preventing Pantry Pests

8/3/2013 12:00:00 AM
Preventing Pantry Pests

It can happen at any time of year. You haven’t visited the beach house in a while, and when you finally do, you discover tiny bugs all over the kitchen and pantry. Further inspection reveals that one box of pancake mix, in particular, is severely infested. It’s likely that you’re dealing with pantry pests, or stored product pests. Common pantry pests include drugstore beetles, cigarette beetles, flour beetles, rice weevils, grain moths, and the Indian meal moth. They infest a variety of dry food products, which are usually packaged in bags and/or cardboard boxes.

  • The tiny, brown drugstore beetle is also called the bread beetle or biscuit beetle. Sometimes it can be excluded by controlling humidity levels.
  • The cigarette beetle looks similar to the drugstore beetle, and is a pest of tobacco products, cereals, dried fruit, and flour.
  • The flour beetle feeds on wheat and other grains, and tends to be resistant to many insecticides.
  • The tiny rice weevil is easily identified by its long snout. It feeds on rice, wheat, and corn.
  • The grain moth feeds on dry organic material, like flour, cereal, and cork.
  • The Indian meal moth, also called the flour moth, feeds on a variety of grains, including cereals.

As with other pests, it’s much easier to prevent an infestation than it is to eliminate one. Here are a few tips for preventing pantry pest infestations:

  1. Check newly purchased bags and boxes. Sometimes pantry pests come home from the grocery store.
  2. Clean cupboards regularly. Accumulated food particles, even in small quantities, can attract pests.
  3. Check spices like paprika and red pepper, and throw out old containers that aren’t likely to be used.
  4. Be sure to seal opened bags of flour, grain, cereal, batter mix, seeds, and dog food.
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