It’s finally the holiday season when we can celebrate with our favorite dishes and desserts! While we might find ourselves stocking up on ingredients for our upcoming dinners, you could be providing certain “pantry pests” their holiday meals! Here are two common pantry pests to look out for this holiday season.

Indian Meal Moth

The Indian meal moth is famously known for feeding on pantry items. These pests have a two-toned wing pattern with tan or copper colors throughout their oval-shaped body. They have six legs and a 1/2” to 5/8” wingspan. These insects are highly attracted to light and anywhere they can find food stored. They prefer to feed on dried fruits and vegetables, grains, seeds, nuts, candies, chocolate, pet food, and powdered milk.

Merchant Grain Beetles

The merchant grain beetle has a dark brown body, six legs, and six saw-like teeth on each side of their bodies. Their narrow oval body shape allows them to crawl inside of packaging to eat, live, and reproduce. While their name suggests that they feed on grains, they actually prefer to feed on cereals, cake mixes, macaroni, cookies, and chocolate! Once these insects infest food packages, they immediately contaminate them.

Prevention:

  • Buy dried food in quantities that can be eaten or used within 2 to 4 months
  • Use up all your older food products before buying new ones
  • Store foods in tightly closed containers, preferably those made of glass, metal, or heavy plastic
  • Keep food storage areas clean by cleaning up crumbs and spills immediately
  • Thoroughly clean cracks and corners of cupboards and doors with a vacuum cleaner
  • Inspect all food packages before buying them or bringing them home
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