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Fighting Pantry Pests in Northeast Ohio

Pest is the right word for these tiny bugs that fly into your kitchen when you open your pantry door. Unfortunately, they can become a major problem if they are not dealt with immediately. Pantry pests include various types of moths, beetles and weevils that like to make their homes in the items you store in your pantry, and they can easily have you emptying your shelves in disgust.

Fruit flies are a common occurrence in kitchens, as fruit stored on the counter for quick snacks becomes a bit overripe. Oftentimes if you get rid of the fruit, you get rid of the flies.

Pantry pests are different. They usually make it into your home in a product you purchased at the grocery store. Once inside your pantry, they quickly spread to other favored products, such as flour, dry cereals, spices, even candy and chocolate. Your food becomes contaminated with live insects, cocoons, webbing, feces, cast skins, dead carcasses, and in some instances bacterial decay.

Preventing pantry pests

Usually a pantry infestation begins when someone purchases a contaminated product from the grocery store. Pantry pests like such products as grains, seeds and nuts, cereals, flour, and dried pet foods and treats. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to tell whether a product is contaminated. You may avoid boxes or packaging that appear damaged, but there may not be any sign that a pest has invaded a product.

Critters that you may find in your pantry include:
Indian meal moths
dermestid beetles
sawtoothed grain beetles
cigarette and drugstore beetles
flour beetles
granary, rice and maize weevils
bean weevils
spider beetles

Among the most common of these are the Merchant grain beetle, which favors cereals, cake mixes, pasta, cookies and chocolate, and the Indian meal moth, which tends to favor seeds, nuts and powdered milk, in addition to sweets and grain-based products. Any of these pests established in a single package, however, will quickly grow to large numbers once introduced to the multitude of grain- and flour-based products stored in your pantry. Moreover, they need very little food to survive.

Checking packages carefully before placing them in your pantry can help you avoid an infestation, and always check the expiration date on baking products. Your best defense, however, is to keep these products in airtight containers once a package is opened. Some flour-based products, such as premixed biscuit products, are best kept refrigerated after opening. Pasta also can be sealed and refrigerated if you suspect a problem. Adding a bay leaf to flour and grain products may repel pantry pests.

Oftentimes, by the time a homeowner notices a beetle, weevil or moth infestation, it is a serious problem. When this happens, it is best to discard any items that are suspect, as it can take up to a month for an adult pest to emerge from a contaminated item. Check all dried foods for larvae and webbing and be sure to discard in outdoor trash bins.

Then contact a professional to inspect your pantry, kitchen and surrounding area. Pantry pests can be difficult to eradicate. At TNT Exterminating, we treat all cracks and crevices that could harbor these pests with safe and effective products that will get rid of your problem for good.

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