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As we start to gear up for the holidays, many of us begin gathering and storing food supplies for the upcoming months. Unfortunately, these essentials could also be providing stored product pests or “pantry pests” a supply of their own! The most common of these pantry pests, Indianmeal moths and merchant grain beetles, will infest and eat a variety of pantry items such as grains, nuts, chocolates, cake mixes, cookies, and more.
We break down some easy ways to prevent these pests this holiday season so you can get back to what matters most: family time.
Invest in Proper Storage
Utilizing Tupperware-type containers is a great way to keep your pantry organized and keep pantry pests away! Place your grains, uncooked pasta noodles, cookies, or seeds in these containers to protect against pests. Make sure that the containers are made from either glass or plastic, with a tight-fitting lid. Also, consider placing a bay leaf in dry goods such as flour, rice, and other grains – the bay leaf’s smell will help repel many pests.
Inspect Your Groceries
Most of the time, pantry pests are brought into the home from items that have already been infested, such as cardboard, plastic bags, or paper grocery bags. Before purchasing groceries, inspect the food packaging prior to placing them into your cart to buy. If you notice that there is an opening, do not purchase and let an employee know. Before entering your home with groceries, inspect and go through ingredients to make sure there hasn’t already been a pest infestation.
Sealing cracks and crevices throughout your home is essential for not letting these pests in. Check around your stovepipes and water pipes for any openings and seal them if needed. Additionally, moisture is a major attraction to any pests. Eliminate any water coming from leaking pipes or clogged drains. Consider investing in a dehumidifier to help with moisture control.
If you suspect pantry pests or have seen them, throw out anything infested and do a thorough cleaning of the entire area. Contact a local pest control company to help identify the pest and provide the best treatment and prevention plan.
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.