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Pantry Pest Identification Guide

What are pantry pests?

Pantry pests are those insects that lay their eggs in stored food and grains. They are a problem in both commercial facilities where food is stored and processed and our Rhode Island homes. 

Female pantry pests lay their eggs on appropriate food sources. When the eggs hatch, the larvae feed on the food provided, contaminating it with their feces and saliva. 

The Mediterranean meal moth and the grain beetle are the two pantry pests species most likely to find a way into your Rhode Island home.

The adult Mediterranean meal moth is a pale grayish color. They have black wavy lines running across each wing.

Adult grain beetles are reddish-brown or black. They have flat, narrow bodies which allow them to enter through tight cracks. The middle section of their body has saw-like projections on each side. Depending on the species, the adults may or may not be able to fly.

Are pantry pests dangerous?

Pantry pests don’t pose any direct danger to people; they don’t bite, sting, or spread disease-causing pathogens. However, their presence in our homes is not necessary, and they should be eliminated from any structure storing or processing food immediately. Having pantry pests laying their eggs inside your family’s stored food is unsettling and unsanitary. Pantry pests contaminate way more food than their larvae can consume, causing a waste of both food and money.

Why do I have a pantry pest problem?

Pantry pests become a problem after finding a way into your home from the outside or brought inside in contaminated products you have purchased from the store.

  • Many adult pantry pests are attracted to lights and will gather around windows and doors. Gaps around your windows and doors or torn screens provide them with a way into your home.
  • Adult beetles and moths may also enter inside through cracks or holes they find in your home’s exterior walls.
  • We introduce pantry pest eggs and larvae into our homes from stored products purchased from the grocery store, pet store, or farmer’s market.

Where will I find pantry pests?

Pantry pest larvae infiltrate inside of pantry items stored in your home. Some of the things most commonly infested by pantry pests include:

  • Flour, oats, and cornmeal
  • Dry pasta
  • Whole grains 
  • Dried spices
  • Dry pet food
  • Chocolate, nuts, and dried fruit
  • Dried meats

When the adults emerge from the infested food they have been feeding on, you will see them resting or crawling across window sills, on walls, and in cabinets and closets.

How do I get rid of pantry pests?

When pantry pests find a way into our homes, they can be frustrating and difficult to eliminate. The safest and most stress-free way to eliminate pantry pests is to partner with a professional. At Encon, our business is to help people, and we take this commitment seriously. We treat our customers like family and work as a team to meet their pest control needs.

Our knowledgeable and trained technicians will use the most up-to-date products available to perform the treatments and services necessary to rid your home of unwanted pantry pests and other household pests. To learn more about our home pest control offerings in Worcester, MA, and surrounding areas, please give Encon a call today!

How can I prevent pantry pests in the future?

Reduce the chances of introducing pantry pests into your Rhode Island home using the following prevention tips.

  • Regularly clean out pantries and cabinets, wiping away crumbs and other food debris that attracts pantry pests. 
  • Practice proper food storage. Remove foods stored in bags or cardboard boxes and place them in hard-sided containers with airtight lids. 
  • Give items you will be purchasing from the store a thorough once-over, looking for any tears or openings.
  • Keep adult pantry pests from finding their way into your home by making sure screens are intact and that any gaps around windows and doors are properly sealed.

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