Foods stored in Pantry that are commonly infested include flour, cereals, cracked grains, baking mixes and processed foods, crackers, macaroni, cured meats, powdered milk, dried fruits, nuts, popcorn and spices. Insects that feed on these products may also infest other grain-based items such as pet foods, birdseed and ornamental corn. Insects may be present in several stages (egg, larva, pupa and adult) at the same time in infested products.
An infestation is often present in the form of small brown beetles, moths or worms in cupboards or on shelves. Upon closer inspection, insects may also be found in opened packages or containers of food and in the cracks and crevices of cupboards. Sealed packages may also become infested because some of these insects can readily chew into cardboard and foil packaging.
Once an infestation is observed one should identify the pest and try to locate the source. Occasionally, the source of an infestation can be very hard to find. Rats and mice will sometimes collect seeds or dry pet food and hoard them in walls, under cupboards or shelves where it is difficult to find infestations. So let us check out some commonly found pests and their prevention techniques.
Pests most often found in stored food products are:
Indian Meal Moth:
The Indian meal moth is the most common food-infesting moth found in homes, grocery stores and any place where dried pet foods are produced or stored. It feeds on a large variety of stored food products, but home infestations often get started through dried pet food or birdseed.
They are especially common in flour and cereals, but also are found in candy, cocoa, cookies, corn meal, nuts, pasta, dried spices and many other dry foods.
Saw-toothed Grain Beetles:
The Saw-toothed grain beetle is another very common pantry pest. It does not feed on intact whole grains, but feeds on many processed food products such as breakfast food, bran, dried fruits, nuts, sugar, chocolate and macaroni.
Cigarette and Drugstore Beetles:
These small, stout beetles are common in homes where they attack pet food, cereals, spices, drugs, tobacco and other packaged foods.
In homes, these beetles can be found feeding on flour, cracked grains, cake mixes, beans, peas, dried fruits, nuts, chocolate, spices and tobacco.
Spider beetles get their name because many actually resemble small spiders in appearance with their small head, prothorax and large globular-shaped abdomen.
Rats and mice can chew their way into almost any sort of container and, in addition to eating the contents, will urinate and defecate all over your food.
Cockroaches are especially problematic in warmer climates and/or multi-family dwellings. These are generally found in the places that lack hygiene.
Pantry Pest Prevention:
The following preventive measures may be taken:
- Purchase food in package sizes that can be used up in a short time.
- When purchasing packaged foods, be certain containers are not damaged and seals are intact.
- Store dried foods in insect-proof containers such as screw-top glass, heavy plastic or metal containers.
- Keep food storage areas clean and do not allow crumbs or food particles to accumulate, as exposed food will attract insects.
- As for bigger pests like rodents and rats, you can use traps and sprays. Depending on the kind of rodent, you will have to order your traps; you will find a wide variety of options at Havahart Traps:
Control of All Stored Food Pests:
Inspection and identification of all potential food sources is essential for control of the infestation. Control requires locating and throwing out all infested items. Infested items can be thrown away or salvaged by freezing them for three to four days. Food can be heated in a 140ÂºF oven for an hour with the same result. Use vacuum cleaner for cleaning shelves or cupboards.
Do not use insecticides for controlling these or other insects in pantry areas. Washing shelves with detergent, bleach, ammonia or disinfectants will not have any effect on these pests since these insects lay their eggs on suitable food. Removing infested items and thoroughly cleaning with a vacuum is usually sufficient. As for rats and mice, they can be caught by using Havahart Traps.
So take good care of your pantry and keep it away from pests. But most importantly always remember to have regular clean-ups and check-ups of your pantry because you do not want your pantry to be infested again and again since pests grow at an enormous rate and if it gets too late, then situation can go way out of control resulting in huge losses.
About the Author:
Robert Bryant is a blogger and writer. He likes blogging about Social Media, Online Marketing, Health & Food and Legal Issues etc. You can add him on Google+.