What Causes Pantry Pests

What Causes Pantry Pests? How Can You Stop Them?

In this article you will learn what causes pantry pests and how you can stop these pests from entering you home. This article answers a basic question about pantry pests.

That’s not all. Let’s also tell you –

  • Food pantry pests cause contamination.
  • These are the most common pantry pests you’ll find in your kitchen.
  • How can I tell if my pantry is infested with pests?
  • What can you do to prevent pantry pests from infesting your kitchen?

These common kitchen insects pests are also known as pantry bugs, food bugs, or stored food pests. They tend to infest dry and processed foods in your kitchen pantry.

Pantry pests prefer not to hide too far away from their food source.

It is easy to find them in your kitchen cabinets, baker’s rack, and even inside your jars. Their food source is your food.

Bugs and pests can be found in any home, including the White House and Buckingham Palace.

You may think that just getting rid of roaches, silverfish, or ants from your home is enough.

There are some pests that live and thrive in your kitchen, especially in your food. Pests in the pantry are called pantry pests.

What Causes Pantry Pests?

In your kitchen, pantry pests are usually caused by two things –

  • First, you don’t keep your pantry clean and organized. When you leave the food that attracts pantry pests exposed, you unintentionally invite them. Your home is infested with these pests as a result of open windows or cracks in your walls or doors.
  • Secondly, pantry pests enter your home through the food or groceries that you buy. Food storage facilities in grocery stores are commonly infested with pantry pests.

Before a food product reaches your home, it has been infested by pantry pests in production units and storage facilities.

In storage facilities, there is a greater likelihood of pantry pests invading your food than at home.

However, this does not mean that food products infested with pantry pests are stale.

Any food can be infested by pantry pests, regardless of how long it has been stored.

In the next post, we’ll discuss how you can prevent pantry pests from entering your home.

What Types Of Food Products Do Pantry Pests Infest?

Dry and processed food products are most commonly infested by pantry pests.

The following is a list of the most common food products infested by pantry pests –

  • Cereals
  • Rice
  • Wheat
  • Flour mix
  • Cornmeal
  • Spaghetti
  • Noodles
  • Biscuits and cookies
  • Any kind of beans like kidney beans or gram beans
  • All sorts of spices, excluding chili powder
  • Powder Milk
  • Tea and coffee
  • Dry pet food
  • Processed meat, fish, and chicken
  • Dry bird food
  • Dry fruits like almonds, raisin, cashew, etc.
  • Chocolates
  • Fruits

Infestations of these foods can occur when they’re kept open in the pantry.

The foods can also be accessed if they’re stored in a thin container such as a cardboard box or covered with foil.

Through these flimsy layered containers, they can quickly drill through the food kept inside and infest it.

Moreover, pantry pests multiply and lay eggs in the infested food, causing them to spread throughout your kitchen.

It’s not surprising to see food bugs of all ages in the same container (eggs, larvae, pupae, and adults).

Pantry Pests: What Are The Most Common Types?

Here are the three most common pantry pests. The insects are Indian meal moths, beetles, and weevils.

Let’s take a look at each of them.

Indianmeal Moths

The most common kitchen invader is the Indian meal moth.

However, they do not invade your pantry to feast on it. Instead, they raid it to lay their eggs.

As soon as the eggs hatch, the larvae feed on the food that they were born with.

The larvae of the Indian meal moth infest dry pet food, rice, flour, dry fruits, and nuts.

In addition to shedding their skin, these larvae poop on the food they eat.

Small clusters of dense webbing will appear on the surface of food infested by larvae.

Their excrement and dead skin are contained in these webbings.

Therefore, if you see a web cluster on your food, you should throw it out.

Keep your stored food in airtight containers or jars to prevent Indianmeal moths from laying eggs. If you see these moths flying around in your home, kill them.

Rice is also infested by booklice, another pantry pest. Molds, fungi, and the starch on the book binding glue are also fed on by booklice.

Beetles

There are six types of beetles that infest your kitchen – sawtoothed grain beetles, drugstore beetles, cigarette beetles, flour beetles, and warehouse beetles.

The flour beetle is the most common beetle in homes.

They infest all kinds of flour, as their name implies.

Additionally, they can infest shelled nuts, grains, and other foods.

Food that smells decayed or pungent, as well as food with mold on it, is likely infested by flour beetles.

Dry fruits, cereals, nuts, processed meat, flour, seeds, herbs, grains, and chocolate are infested by all six beetles. However, drugstore beetles also damage books and tobacco products.

Weevils

There are two types of weevils in your pantry: Rice Weevils and Bean Weevils.

Weevils look like beetles, but they are a bit slender and longer than beetles.

In addition to their prominent snouts, weevils also have antennae-like projections from the base of their noses.

The larvae of rice weevils eat grains and lay eggs on them, causing multiple larvae to feed on the infested grains. Rice weevil larvae are white, legless, wrinkled, and reside in the kernels of grains of rice.

As a result, they are impossible to spot. If you see holes in the grains, the larvae of rice weevils are likely inside the grains.

Weevils infest rice, corn, wheat, cereals, dried fruits, and fruits such as apples and pears.

You should check the bags you buy from grocery stores for rice weevils when you buy large quantities of grain.

Those bags might already have been infested with rice weevils.

A bean weevil is smaller than a rice weevil, and it looks like a beetle. It has a light brown color, an oval shape, and no visible snout, unlike the rice weevils

Bean weevils usually infest dried beans and peas. Their blackish spotted wings and legs are clearly visible through their small blackish spots.

Another type of food bug that infests your food

Here are some of the most common pantry pests. The list doesn’t end there, though.

Other types of food bugs can also infest food.

Instead of nesting, these food bugs target foods to eat and contaminate.

These food bugs are caused by unhygienic and dirty pantry conditions, where lots of food is left uncovered.

These are the three most common food bugs:

Meal Worms

Mealworms resemble yellow caterpillars. They’re smaller and thinner than caterpillars and don’t have hair. They’ll make you feel nauseous just by looking at them.

Mealworm larvae lay eggs on exposed food and are carried by the mealworm beetle.

What are these mealworms like? Where do you find them?

They can be found in boxes or bags of food that have been lying at the corner of your pantry or kitchen cabinets for months.

Additionally, you can find them in uncovered food and in any trash bin containing food wastes.

The mealworm beetle gets into your kitchen by what means?

They enter your home through cracks in the walls or floors. If you notice any damage to the walls or base of your kitchen, seal it up.

To lay their eggs, mealworms beetles prefer wet foods, meat, and fish.

Some people have also complained that mealworms infest dry foods such as flour, pet food, bird seeds, and grains.

Ants

Many houses are plagued by ants, and yours is no exception. An ant’s favorite food is sugar.

Their sweet tooth makes them consume not only sweet things in your home, but also dry items like biscuits, cookies, and dried fruits.

Carpenter ants (black ants) are the most common species. Usually they appear during the summer or towards the end of the spring.

Cockroaches

Food and kitchen have been infested by cockroaches since the dawn of time. Cockroaches are classified more as pests than bugs; they are easy to attract and difficult to get rid of.

During the night, they consume any food they can get their hands on. The food doesn’t matter whether it’s dry or wet to the roaches.

You can learn more about getting rid of cockroaches by checking out our blog post.

What Are The Signs That Your Kitchen Is Infested With Pantry Pests?

These are the signs of a pantry pest infestation –

  • You spot tiny beetles in pet food. People forget to cover pet food and if beetles will infest them first.
  • You spot the bugs that we mentioned in the post on your kitchen walls or windows.
  • Clusters of webbings in food.
  • Molds on any flour.
  • Caterpillars are crawling on the walls.
  • Your dry food or spices are smelling decayed.

How Can You Keep Pantry Pests Away?

There are a few things you can do to prevent pantry pests from infesting your kitchen and food.

Here are the steps that are proven to be sufficient to keep away pantry pests –

  • Packaged foods such as cookies, grains, flour, etc., should only be bought in quantities sufficient to last 3-4 months.
  • Make sure there is enough breathing space between jars and packets in your pantry. Cramming your pantry makes it more difficult to spot the bugs.
  • Packages should be ordered by their dates in ascending order. In other words, older packages should be used first.
  • Do not open a new package until you have finished opening the previous one.
  • You should check the packages before buying for holes and broken seals.
  • Be sure to store your food in thick, heavy, and airtight containers and jars. Keep foods meant for the refrigerator in the refrigerator as long as possible.
  • Make sure your pantry is clean every day. Don’t allow food crumbs or droppings to remain on the floor for long periods of time.
  • Keep stale food products out of your pantry as long as possible. Pests are attracted to stale food. Make sure your pantry is free of stale food.
  • Seal any cracks in the walls, cabinets, and floors. These are common entry points for pantry pests.
  • Pet food, including bird seeds, should be covered. Ensure that the area where the pet eats is clean.

Pantry pests are harmful to humans?

Humans are not harmed by pantry pests. Therefore, they are harmless.

However, they pose a serious threat to food due to infestation and contamination. In addition, the larvae, which grow on the infested food, are not dangerous if consumed intentionally or accidentally.

There are many bugs that have high nutritional value, and they’re also considered a delicacy in many countries.

Pests in your pantry cannot carry diseases that could harm you. The worst that can happen is an allergic reaction, but that only occurs in the rarest of cases.

It’s unfair to call them pests in some ways. After all, they are looking for food. They want to spoil your plants. Those creepers that spread diseases and pathogens are generally referred to as pests.

A cockroach, mealworm, and ant are certainly pests, but so are cockroaches.

Conclusion

Two of the leading causes of pantry pests are dirty kitchens and bringing food into your home that already has pests.

Besides knowing the causes, you also have to know the most common kitchen insects and the types of food they infest.

In addition, we’ve shared the types of food bugs and steps you can take to protect your food and kitchen from pantry pests.

Pests in your pantry are not lethal, and they do not pose a threat to your health. However, they can damage the food you store in your pantry.

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