Pantry Pests

Table of Contents

There are thousands of beetle species, all of which have three sets of elbow-shaped legs, two antennas, and a tri-segmented body. Some species of beetles are more noticeable than others because of their colorful exoskeletons. Beetles can be found all over the world in varying colors, such as red, pink, green, copper, brown, black, purple, orange, and turquoise. There are also beetles that are multi-colored.

One species of beetle that is a bigger pest than the others is known as the “pantry pest.” The pantry pest also deemed “Stored Product pest” is a pesky insect that feeds on human and pet food. Learn more by reading the content provided in the article below.

Beetle Species That Classify As Pantry Pests

While beetles belong to the Coleoptera order, not all species feed on human and animal food. The bone beetle, hide beetle, carrion beetle, rove beetle, sap beetle, and clown beetle are just a few examples. These species of beetles feed on cow dung, decaying material, insect larvae, rotting fungi, decomposing animal carcass, and plant material.

Three primary beetle species classified as pantry pests include the Indian meal moth, cigarette beetle, and saw-toothed grain beetle. These species feed on dry dog food, cornstarch, flour, cornmeal, nuts, raw pasta, fruit, and crackers.

Some species of beetle are nearly always mating. The female is ready to lay her eggs about 11 days after mating. Some beetle species have a short lifespan of about three months. During their life, the beetle mate and lays eggs. Larger beetles can lay up to 300 after each mating.

An In-Depth Look At The Indian Meal Moth Beetle

The Indian meal moth (Plodia interpunctella) is a tiny moth-like pantry pest. The insect has long wings that touch the ground. The wings are multi-colored reddish/black, with a coppery sheen. The wings span out approximately ¾ of an inch. When the wings are not spread out, they assume the position of a roof over the body.

The larva feeds on all sorts of stored food. They feed on any type of food that is improperly stored.

The life cycle is divided into four stages, beginning with the egg. The female can produce up to 300 eggs in about 18 days. Unlike some beetle species, the Indian meal moth lays its eggs in food sources. The purpose of this specific location is to ensure the larva has access to food immediately upon hatching.

The larva will eventually leave the food source behind to build a cocoon. The cocoon serves as a shelter for the larva until it turns into a pupa.

An In-Depth Look At The Saw-Toothed Grain Beetle

The saw-toothed grain beetle (Orzaephilus surinamensis) has an elongated body, with three sets of elbow-shaped legs, a tri-segmented body, and two antennas. The insect varies in colors between dark brown, orangish/brown, and reddish/brown.

The insect’s most notable feature is its saw-toothed projections located in the area behind the head. Like the female Indian meal moth, the female saw-toothed grain beetle lays her eggs directly in food. The eggs are dropped one at a time or in batches. Some of the eggs may drop nearby a food source, but too far away. She can lay up to 285 eggs within a 365-day period. The eggs hatch between three and 10 days, depending on the environment.

The adult is about 1/8 of an inch in length. The diet consists of all kinds of food that is improperly stored. The insects also feed on scraps, crumbs, and leftovers on countertops, dining tables, and floors.

An In-Depth Look At The Cigarette Beetle “Tobacco Beetle”

The cigarette beetle (Lasioderma serricorne) grows up to one-eighth of an inch in length. The insect’s most distinct feature is its humpback. Unlike the saw-toothed grain beetle and Indian meal moth, the tobacco beetle has a bi-segmented. Another unique feature, but less noticeable is the fine fuzz that layers the body.

The adult measures about three millimeters in length. The body varies between dark brown and reddish/brown. The diet consists of tobacco from cigarettes, cigars, and chewing tobacco. The insect also feeds on stored food products like candy, cry cereal, sugar, tea, dried beans, bread, crackers, wheat, and rice.

The cigarette beetle share some of the same features as the drugstore beetle. People who are only familiar with one or the other may confuse the two species. Differentiating between the two beetle species is as simple as inspecting the fine fuzz covering the body. The cigarette beetle’s body fuzz is thicker than that of the drugstore beetle.

How Do Pantry Pests Get Into Houses?

Pantry pests utilize structural vulnerabilities to access buildings. Damaged window frames, door thresholds, heating & air conditioning ducts, basement vents, and garage door gaskets. What most do not know about the pantry pest is they can hitchhike rides with animals and store-food food packages. Supermarket chains strive to combat pantry pest infestations to prevent the spread to their customers’ homes.

Some beetles have flying capability. So, they can fly through open windows and doors. It is recommended to utilize window and door screens or glass storm doors.

Why Are Pantry Pests In My Flour?

This is a simple question, with a simple answer. The flour was improperly stored. This explains why you discovered pantry pests in your flour. The real question here is how the flour was improperly stored. Did leave it inside the manufacturing package? All beetle species have strong mandibles that can gnaw through vulnerable food packaging like think paper bags. Flour is sold in paper bags that larger beetle species can gnaw through. To avoid pantry pest infiltration of your stored food supply, proper storage is vital. It is recommended to utilize glass or hard plastic containers. The lids should have a strong gasket to create a full seal around the top of the storage container.

How Do I Know If My Food Supply Is Infested With Pantry Pests?

The first sign of a pantry pest infestation is mature beetles, larvae, and pupae. Other signs include open manufacturing food packages and exposed food on countertops and inside cabinets and cubbyholes. Another sign is beetle feces inside stored food and on countertops, inside cabinets, and other areas, where food is prepared or served.

Do Pantry Pest Spread Disease?

Yes, pantry pests do spread disease through feces. The insects drop their fecal matter directly into food. When the contaminated food is ingested by humans, it can result in a foodborne illness. E. coli, Shigella, and salmonella have been linked to beetle feces contamination.

Pantry pests can also cause food spoilage. By gnawing holes in vulnerable packaging, the food becomes exposed to bacteria and other germs. If humans unknowingly ingest spoiled food, they could develop a foodborne illness. Government statistics reveal around 3,000 individuals die each year in the United States due to foodborne illnesses. Vulnerable adults and children are at a higher risk of death after ingesting bacteria-contaminated food and water.

Is It Possible To Protect My Stored Food Supply From Pantry Pest Infestation?

Yes, with the proper food storage system, you can avoid pantry pest infestations. Never leave food stored in the manufacturing packages for an extended period of time. Transfer the food to a glass, stainless steel, hard plastic storage container.

Routinely inspect your food storage for signs of a pantry pest infestation. Never ingest food after the shelf life expires. The shelf life for flour is eight months after opening. Granulated sugar, on the other hand, has a shelf life of 24 months after opening.

Clean up after meals and meal prep to remove all crumbs and other leftovers. This will help remove food sources from hungry pantry pests. If a food source is not available, visiting pantry pests will not hang around too long.

What Is The Most Affordable Pantry Pest Treatment?

Over-the-counter pesticides and traps. These treatments are available through most hardware and big-box stores. While these are the most affordable treatment option, they are not always the most effective. Professional pest management offers quick eradication of pantry pests in residential and commercial settings.

Is Professional Pantry Pest Treatment Safe?

Yes, when it is implemented by our trained exterminators and certified pest control experts. To learn more about our professional pest management services, you can reach out to our customer support team. Our company is conveniently located in the city, where we have access to the Business District and residential communities.

How Long Does It Take To Process A Home Pest Inspection Request?

It takes between 24 and 48 hours during the off-season. An additional 12 hours may be required to complete the process in the peak season. Our customer support team can be reached via email and social media. Our contact information is available on our official website.

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