Pantry Pests and How to Prevent Them
There is very little more unpleasant than pouring yourself a bowl of cereal and finding something living in it. Whether ants, beetles, cockroaches or rodents, our pantries are the destination of choice for a whole range of our least wanted houseguests. So, the big questions are: how do they get in? And how can you get rid of them?
Well, the good and bad news is that pantry pests aren’t always your fault. While some of them are attracted in from outdoors by sugar trails, sticky floors and unwashed dishes, others will come via home delivery – right there in your groceries. It’s kind of a distressing thought, and makes you look at grocery stores in a whole different way, but at least you know that it’s no judgement on your house keeping.
So, what are the most common pantry pests, and how can you keep your home free of them?
5 Most Common Pantry Pests
Indian Meal Moths
There’s good cause for labelling these guys ‘public enemy number 1’ when it comes to pantry pests in North Carolina. Indian meal moths are everywhere; homes; grocery stores; commercial kitchens. The caterpillars just love cereals, but just like Eric Carle’s Very Hungry Caterpillar, they’ll take a bite out of almost anything: chocolate; crackers; dried fruit; dog biscuits. While they eat, they spin their ‘silk’, and how they spin! The good news is that they’re pretty easy to spot – if you notice lots of small brown moths fluttering around your lights at night, the chances are that you have an infestation somewhere. And they’re also pretty easy to get rid of. Simply locate the contaminated food and dispose of it – and anything else that has been touching it, just to be certain.
Ants are one of the most frequently found pantry pests. And apart from the fact that you don’t want your food to be crawling, the main reason you don’t want them is because they can be a serious health hazard. Sugar ants are known to spread salmonella, thief ants eat carrion – and you certainly don’t want traces of that in your Cap’n Crunch! They’re difficult to control because they come in through any entryway; doors, windows, cracks in the sealant. Once in, ants can be really difficult to get rid of, and most people resort to professional pest control. Because they can get in from almost anywhere, ants are hard to keep out. Your best option is look after your door and window seals, dispose of waste food immediately, and try using natural deterrents, such as talc, in your pantry.
There are a couple of different types of weevil, but the ones you’re most likely to find in your pantry are grain and rice weevils. These tiny red-brown beetle-like creatures tend to avoid processed foods, preferring pure grains, pulses, beans and rice. Because they actually live inside the foods – the females burrow in and lay eggs inside the grains – they can be very hard to detect until you have a full infestation. Weevils are something you will always buy in, so you can’t really keep them from your home. However, storing grains, seeds, rice and pulses in glass jars can stop them spreading. If you do have an infestation, simply remove contaminated foods and clean your cupboards. Leaving a dish of black pepper with your dry goods can help.
Cockroaches are associated with a variety of health problems, from the spread of E.Coli and staphylococcus to asthma. You don’t want them in your pantry. Unfortunately, they do want to be there, largely because they just love that woody environment. How do they get in? They crawl in through doors, windows, pipes and broken seals, but they’re also good at hitching a ride in grocery boxes. If you just have one or two ‘roaches, then you can probably deal with them yourself; clear out the cupboard; put down some bait and find out the entry point and close it. If they keep coming back, seek professional help.
The two beetles that generally cause pantry trouble are the grain and the flour beetle. They’re kind of like weevils in most respects, in that they are tiny, can eat through paper and plastic packaging and generally keep away from processed foods. You can deal with them in much the same way too: clear out the problem food and all other open packets, then clean your cupboards. Bay leaves can also deter them.
No one wants pests in their pantry. However, pretty much every household will have them at some time. Properly storing your food in airtight containers and disposing of all waste food promptly can help minimise the risk and control the spread. But if you do find yourself with an infestation, don’t be afraid to ask for help. No one will judge you – pests are an annoying fact of life. And Noosa Pest Management is always here to help.
Call our customer care team today: 704-499-9922