Table of Contents
What Are Pantry Pests?
With a name like pantry pests, you’d think you already knew everything that you needed to know about these insects just from gleaning their name. Sure, they are pantry pests, meaning they like to live in and around your pantry. However, that doesn’t necessarily tell you everything you need to know about the critters, especially not when it comes to detection and eradication. Here’s what you need to know from the pros:
- Pantry pests are also commonly referred to as stored product pests. They are a group of insects with an appetite for dried and processed food products commonly found in most households.
- These products can include anything from fruit to flour, crackers, dry pasta, cereal, dry pet food, powdered milk, cornstarch, bread, spices, dried nuts, and even birdseed.
- There is a whole slew of these insects that make up this classification, but it is only the Indian Meal Moth, the Saw-Toothed Grain Beetle, and the Cigarette Beetle that you’ll have to worry about in Oklahoma City.
- These pests can breed non-stop because they’ll live in the products they feed on. Giving them the ability to just sit there, mate, and feed. Pretty interesting when it comes right down to it.
- Just because they are in the home, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the home is dirty. These bugs have been found in some of the cleanest properties in the world.
Regardless of what type of insect you are dealing with, you’ll have to learn how to properly identify it before you can do anything about it. This is because each individual bug has a different temperament. The elimination processes for each bug can be different. That being said, you must first know what you are dealing with before you can establish a plan of attack.
The Indian Meal Moth
Its scientific name is Plodia interpunctella and these are small moths with two sets of wings. The front set of wings are a reddish-brown color with the back half are whitish gray. It is the larvae of this species that tears into the dried food products. The adults aren’t capable of feeding. These critters can be extremely difficult to force from the home because they have an innate ability to crawl on ceilings and spin cocoons. They’ll even do so in other rooms than the kitchen or pantry. You could end up seeing these critters all around the property.
The Saw-Tooth Grain Beetle
With its slender body and scientific name of Oryzaephilus surinamensis, the Saw-Toothed Grain Beetle can grow to be as big as 1/10 inch long. It gets its name from the fact that it grows six saw-like tooth projections on each side of the thorax, the section between the head and abdomen. Both the adults and larvae can feed with this species.
The Cigarette Beetle
Known by its scientific name Lasioderma serricorne, the cigarette beetle can grow as big as 1/8 inches long and might commonly be found feeding on dried tobacco products in the home. They have smooth wings with a hump-backed appearance and a hairy body that gives them sort of a fuzzy appearance. While they do prefer dried cigarettes and cigars, these critters won’t turn down pet food, cereals, nuts, candies, wreaths, spices, or chili powder.
Why Do People Have Pantry Pests?
You just learned that pantry pests aren’t necessarily a sign of a dirty or cluttered home. Sure, these conditions are more preferable for these insects, but just because you have them, it doesn’t mean your property meets these specified conditions. So, why are they in the home? More often than not, these critters are mistaken brought into the home via food packages. People bring in food products from markets and don’t check them before mixing them with their old food, inadvertently infesting the two.
Because of their ability to mate non-stop, it doesn’t take long before the numbers can grow overwhelming. They breed almost continuously because of their ability to live in the products that they feed on.
Detecting The Signs Of An Infestation
Unfortunately, it is easy to overlook a pantry pest infestation, and this is because the insects are extremely small. In addition to this, they blend in with the products they feed on. This is why it is more than pertinent to know what key signs to look for. These key signs could be an indication that you are dealing with an infestation. As you know, these guys reproduce rather quickly so, the sooner you hit this problem head-on, the better off you are going to be. What you’ll want to look for are moths.
In properties that are infected, you’ll see moths flying in and around the kitchen or pantry. In addition to this, you can place specific food items in clear plastic, give them a few days, and see if the insects start to rear their ugly little heads.
Are Pantry Pests Dangerous?
Pantry pests, in themselves, are not dangerous, but they do pose some unique risks. The first would have to be the damage to your food items. These pests will get into your food and not only destroy it but contaminate it. Most people that find pantry pests in their food products just end up throwing out the entire package of food. This is only going to further increase your weekly shopping bill. That being said, if these bugs are accidentally ingested, you don’t have to worry about dangers.
Some people have reported accidentally eating these bugs and the larvae. While this is not something you’ll want to do, doing so is safe. You can’t develop any diseases from the act. You might get sick just from the thought, but you don’t have to worry about contracting illnesses. These pests don’t really pose much of a threat to the structural integrity of your home either. They’ll certainly create a mess, but they don’t chew on wood or other integral components in the home.
How Do I Get Rid Of Pantry Pests?
You’ll notice right away that pantry pests are particularly fast, agile, or even wary. However, this doesn’t mean they’ll be fun to live with. It also doesn’t make them that much easier to eliminate. If anything, they might be harder than most insects. And, this is because they virtually mate non-stop. They can live in the food they feed on and mate non-stop. In addition to this, they have a natural ability to blend into their surroundings. This makes making identification all the more difficult.
Regardless, it’s something you’ll have to do, and this is why it is best to just turn to the pest professionals. Let someone else deal with this mess for you. We’ll be more than glad to be that someone. Of course, if you want to attempt removal on your own, you can. There are a few things that you can do.
- Always store your food items in plastic containers with sealing capabilities.
- Always check old and new food products before mixing them blindly.
- Always keep a clean kitchen and pantry area.
- If you do find an infestation, dispose of the bugs in a proper container stored sufficiently away from the home.
- Wash the shelves of your pantry and the food containers before moving in new food.
Another thing you need to keep in mind is, over-the-counter pesticides aren’t as effective as the products the pros use. This is because they don’t contain all the ingredients. The ingredients needed to successfully kill these critters are illegal and not available to ordinary citizens. Anyone dealing with or selling these chemicals without the proper license is doing so illegally. This is just something to keep in mind when choosing a pest management professional in Oklahoma City.
When Can You Get Here?
Because of our abilities and knowledge of the pest industry, we stay pretty busy all year around. However, we are more than willing to make the necessary adjustments for our customers. All you have to do is give us a call and we’ll get someone out at the property within the next 24 to 48 hours. If you do find yourself in need of emergency services, we can get someone out there immediately. All you have to do is pick up the phone and call.
Are There Safer Alternatives?
You just learned that pesticides are the best way for dealing with pantry pests. This is true, but there is one problem with these chemicals, they are extremely dangerous. They are even more dangerous in the wrong hands. We offer eco-friendly treatments, but we also take great care when dealing with pesticides. When pesticides are our only option, we make sure we utilize techs that are certified and trained.