Pantry Pest Identification Guide

What are pantry pests?

Pantry pests are those insects that contaminate stored food and food products. An infestation of pantry pests is a common occurrence – especially in homes, restaurants, grocery stores, and food processing facilities. Pantry pests typically have a four-stage life cycle: egg, larvae, pupae, and adult. The female lays her eggs in or on stored food. The larvae begin feeding on the food once they hatch, contaminating it with their saliva and excrement. The larval stage is the stage responsible for most of the food contamination. However, the presence of adults is what usually alerts homeowners to an infestation.

a weevil crawling on rice in a home in elizabeth city north carolina

The most common species of pantry pests to invade homes and businesses in our areas of North Carolina and Virginia are listed below.

  • Cigarette beetles

  • Drug store beetles

  • Confused flour beetles

  • Grain and rice weevils

Are pantry pests dangerous?

Pantry pests are not dangerous to people or structures, but having these pests inside your home or business will result in the contamination of food products. Some species such as the confused flour beetle cause food to have a moldy flavor or a strong, foul odor. In general, pantry pests breed rapidly and an infestation can quickly become quite large and difficult to deal with.

Why do I have a pantry pest problem?

A pantry pest infestation usually originates at a food processing plant, warehouse, or grocery store. The most common way that pantry pests enter homes is inside of infested food product packages purchased at the store. Additionally, a pantry pest infestation may occur after adults find their way onto to your property, lured by outdoor lighting, and move inside through spaces around windows and doors or torn screens.

Where will I find pantry pests?

You may find pantry pests wherever you store dry goods and other stored products. Kitchens, pantries, closets, and basements are all common places where pantry pest infestations occur. Grain and rice weevils typically attack and feed on whole grains like wheat, corn, and barely. They also feed on some nuts and dried pasta. Confused flour beetles have a more varied diet and feed on things like flour, cereals, dried pasta, crackers, chocolate, dried fruits, dry pet food, and cake mixes. The preference of cigarette beetles and drug store beetles is usually dried herbs and spices.

How do I get rid of pantry pests?

Professional pest control is the best way to eliminate pests and keep them from returning. At Albemarle Termite & Pest Control, our pest management professionals are highly trained and dedicated to providing safe and effective services that are affordable. We are a local, family-owned pest control company whose number one priority is putting our customers first and exceeding their expectations. To eliminate pests from your home or business once and for all, contact Albemarle Termite & Pest Control today!

How can I prevent pantry pests in the future?

Prevent problems with pantry pests in Elizabeth City, NC and surrounding areas by combining our professional services with the following prevention tips:

  • Always check the expiration dates before purchasing dry goods from a store.

  • Avoid buying dry goods like spices, nuts, flour, and birdseed in bulk.

  • Never purchase food with rips or tears in its packaging.

  • Replace torn window or door screens.

  • Install weatherstripping around windows and doors.

  • Regularly inspect your pantry and get rid of older or expired items.

  • Use yellow or LED outdoor light bulbs that are less attractive to insects.

  • After purchasing dry goods, remove them from their original packing and store them in containers with airtight lids.

 

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