How to Control Stored Product Pests

Ghost Ants

What are Stored Product Pests?

The most common way that stored product pests enter the home, are items purchased at your local grocery store. Yes, Many times the manufacturer, Warehouse, even Grocery Distributor, unknowingly sends these products out already infested.  Most pantry pests like to munch on grains, like flours, rice, cereals, chocolate, processed foods, as well as dried fruits, beans, nuts and spices — but they’re not picky.

Nearly any dried food that is stored at room temperature can be a draw.  Flour beetles, saw-toothed grain beetles, cigarette beetles, drugstore beetles, mealworms, Indian meal moths, granary weevils, rice weevils, and grain beetles are all examples of common types of pantry pests dealt with in South Florida. These pests are known to infest and contaminate stored food products in order to breed and feed their young, and can become a huge problem inside the home, grocery stores, food processing facilities, and other food-related businesses that they invade. 

Pheromone Trail

Are These Pests Dangerous?

These are NOT considered dangerous pests, as they pose no direct threat to us in the form of bites, stings, or the spread of harmful diseases. But the biggest threat that pantry pests pose is the contamination of food sources. Pantry pests typically have four stages of development: egg, larva, pupa, and adult, and the larval stage is usually the stage that these pests become the most destructive or “dangerous”. When they invade, the female pantry pests will lay their eggs in a stored food product, and when those larvae hatch, they will begin feeding on and contaminating that product with their saliva and excrement. In the case of a large-scale infestation, this can become very destructive.

Where are Pantry Pests Commonly Found?

Pantry pests can breed and feed on a variety of stored food products found in kitchens and pantry areas including whole grains, beans, corn, pasta, flour, cereal, cornmeal, dried fruits, chocolate, cookies, spices, and more. These food-infesting pests can be found living and breeding in a variety of different places and can become problematic in a wide variety of commercial and residential buildings including grocery stores, food processing facilities, food storage facilities, pharmacies, restaurants, and homes.

How Do I Get Rid of Pantry Pests?

Eliminating a pantry pest infestation is rather easy. Going through each bag, box, of these food items will usually locate the bugs inside the packaging. DONT BE FOOLED! Even though that bag of pasta looks sealed, these pests can drill small holes in the packaging, looking completely sealed. Go through each item, and where these bugs are found, simply discard the items in the trach can outside the house.

How Can I Prevent Pantry Pests in the Future?

Pantry pests can be difficult pests to prevent, but the following tips can help to keep them out of your home’s kitchen and pantry areas:

  • Before purchasing dry goods from the store, check for rips or tears in packaging.
  • Avoid buying bulk items from the store, if possible.
  • In your home, store food products in air-tight containers.
  • Regularly rotate items in your pantry, discarding old or expired items.

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