Discovering pests in the places you store food can be extremely distressing. Many pests can transmit serious infectious diseases and consuming food that pantry pests, or stored product pests have been in contact with can be very dangerous indeed.
Pantries and cupboards can be particularly susceptible to pest infestation because we tend not to move their contents around very much. This makes it ideal for pests who will lie undisturbed, growing in numbers, until the day you pull out an old bag of flour and receive a nasty surprise.
Common Pantry Pests
If you discover holes gnawed into your food containers, the most likely culprit is the common house mouse. They’ll happily nibble through grains and have a particular fondness for anything sweet or fatty like cereal, biscuits and cheese.
There are plenty of commercial options available for dispatching an errant biscuit-thieving rodent or two. If you suspect the problem may be serious, a reputable pest control company will help you get rid of them.
When we talk about pantry pests, however, we’re specifically referring to the tiny bugs that will infest leftover baking ingredients, dried grains and other foodstuffs.
These creepy-crawlies are far from uncommon. The vast majority of people are likely to come into contact with one or two eventually, so you shouldn’t worry that your kitchen is “dirty.”
The following list is not comprehensive, but covers the insects most commonly found in stored food products:
- Weevils (many varieties)
- Dermestid Beetles
- Sawtoothed Grain Beetles
- Flour Beetles
- Spider Beetles
- Cigarette Beetles
- Larder Beetles
- Flat Grain Beetle
- Indian Meal Moths
- Flour Mites
- Cheese Mites
Signs of an Infestation
In many cases, you won’t know you have pantry pests until you go to use the foodstuff they’ve claimed as their own. However, you may notice small brown beetles, worms or moths on your work surfaces, on cupboard shelves and around any cracks or crevices near your food storage.
Other signs are very subtle, but may include discolouration of flour, small holes in packages and in grains, flour and grain mould and tiny flour tracks caused by insects moving between food sources.
If you spot anything like this, it’s essential that you undertake a thorough inspection of your pantry and the food inside. Even unopened packages can become infested because the insects are able to chew through paper, cardboard and even foil if motivated enough.
Getting Rid of Pantry Pests
If you find bugs in any package, immediately seal in a plastic bag and throw it away in an outside bin. If you toss it into your kitchen bin, you’re risking the bugs quickly returning.
Clean your shelves and cupboard or pantry walls thoroughly, paying particular attention to any food spillages. Stored product insects can live for a couple of weeks without access to food, so you must continue to carry out checks even after removing all visible signs of the infestation.
To prevent the issue reoccurring, take the time to transfer your dried foods into sturdy plastic or glass containers that have secure seals so that the insects cannot easily access any food sources.
Because pantry pests can be so tenacious and pervasive, many people will choose to contact an experienced pest controller. These professionals can provide expert advice and more long-lasting treatments. A good pest-control company will also perform follow-up visits to ensure that the problem has been eliminated.
If you would like to speak with a pest control professional at Safeguard today, please don’t hesitate to get in contact either by phone at 0900 328 4913 or through our online form.