It’s the holiday season. Along with the busy shopping days are nights filled with good food, family, and friends. It’s the worst thing when you’re preparing a dinner for a dozen people to find that your pantry or cupboards have been invaded. The most typical victims of pantry pest control are cereals, flour, chocolate, herbs, spices, dried fruits and other similar items commonly found in our homes.
Typical Pantry Pest Identification
In the Greater Sacramento area, from Roseville to El Dorado Hills, there are pantry pests typical to the area. Listed below are the top pests you’re likely to encounter in your food storage area.
The most common species of meal moth in our area is the Indianmeal Moth. They’re a fairly distinct moth with a coppery to white grey body, approximately 1/3 to 2/5 inch long. They have small, reddish-brown forewings and similar in appearance to clothes moths. Only Indianmeal moths are larger and less hairy.
The true damage to your pantry is done by the larvae. Moth eggs are laid on food material and hatch within a few days. The fully grown, whitish-green/pink larva eat a wide range of products, from cereal and rice to chocolate and candies. Beware holiday treats!
Weevils are actually a type of beetle. They are typically small, black, and about 1/8 inch long with four reddish spots on their back. You normally don’t even know the weevil is there. They feed inside individual grains of whole wheat products, such as rice, wheat, kernel corn, table beans, nuts, and. Rice weevils will plug their entrance holes in the grain leaving no evidence of their presence.
Female beetles lay their eggs inside hollowed out grains, sealing the cavity when they’re done. Once the egg hatches, the larva will feed on their individual grain until they reach their adult state. It takes as little as 32 days for an egg to reach adulthood and produce eggs of their own.
Pantry Beetles (Saw-Toothed Grain Beetle, Cigarette beetle, Confused flour beetle, Sawtoothed grain beetle)
Most pantry beetles are flightless and feed on a wide variety of foods including cereals, candy, cocoa, cookies, cornmeal, fish meal, pet foods, flour, nuts, dried peas and beans, pastas, potato chips, spices, dead animals, and dead insects. For all beetles, they are most destructive during their larval stage. Their length varies from 2mm to 5mm, with the typical three-segment body in hues of brown.
Signs of Pantry Pest Infestation
Pantry pests damage you and your food through contamination. Their bodies and by-products can cause a variety of health issues, such as irritation of the mouth, throat, and stomach when you eat infested products.
The most obvious signs of an infestation are seeing moths flying or beetles crawling around. The larva are not particularly noticeable until their population becomes abundant. The best offense against pantry pests is to take preventative measures.
Pantry Pest Control and Prevention
- First and foremost, always find the source of infestation. Remove and look through all bags and boxes of dried good in your cabinet or pantry. Trash any that you suspect of infested.
- Clean all surfaces and storage areas thoroughly before replacing the food. Soap and water will work just fine, but a bleach/water solution is also okay. This is your food storage we’re talking about!
- Put all of the food back that you’ve determined to be larva-free. Put loose, easily-accessible products, such as flour, into canister containers with well-sealing lids. Place a dried bay leaf in bags and containers of stored goods to discourage weevils and other pantry pests.
- To prevent future infestations, make a habit of checking your food monthly. Rotate older food products to the front and trash old bags of flour and cereals (that you haven’t used in a couple of months).
- Contact Pro Active Pest Control for the best pantry pest control. As a professional pest control company, we have the tools, knowledge, and experience to effectively solve all forms of pest control issues.
Pantry pest problems can happen at any time of the year. Be proactive about dealing with your pest problems. Contact Pro Active Pest Control to take care of existing pests, establish an effective pest barrier around your home, and maintain it through regular treatments. We provide Roseville pest control, El Dorado Hills pest control, Lincoln pest control, Rancho Cordova pest control, as well as provide pest control throughout the Greater Sacramento area. Contact Pro Active Pest Control for a free consultation and let us show you how we can help protect your home or business from winter pest problems.