Pantry pests include insects found in food, spices, pasta, herbs, flour and cereal such as beetles and moths. There are many types of pantry pests, but the most common insect pantry pests are Indian meal moth and merchant grain beetles. Both these types of insects can multiply quickly and have a preference for packaged, dried foods. The Indian meal moth is attracted to foods like bird feed, chocolate, dry dog food and dried fruits. Pantry Beetles are usually brought home unknowingly and are barely noticed until you see them near a food source or a moth-like insect flying if it’s a pantry moth. Whereas it can be easy to tell the difference between the two adults, the larvae can be a little bit harder to identify.
Difference between pantry moths and pantry beetles
There are various stored product pests known as pantry weevils or pantry beetles. These are; the Cigarette Beetle, Saw tooth Beetle, Drugstore Beetle, Merchant Grain Beetle, Red Flour Beetle, and Confused Flour Beetle. These beetles feed on a wide array of foods such as cereals, pet foods, nuts, candy, potato chips, dried legumes, pasta, spices, dead insects, cookies, crackers and even dead animals. The bean weevil, the rice weevils, the lesser grain borer and the granary weevil mostly feed on seeds and grains. Weevils are less likely to feed on grains and cereals unless they’ve been caked and hardened. There are also some beetles of fabric pests that should not be confused with pantry pest. These include; furniture carpet beetle, varied carpet beetles, and black carpet beetles.
How to get rid of the pests
You can notice that pantry pests have been feeding in your pantry through the taste of your food if you can’t physically see them. A funny taste can be brought by the secretions produced by the beetle larvae. You can also identify infestation if your food seems to be “webbed” together (most likely to be Indian meal moth larvae). Dispose of all your food that was not in tightly sealed containers if you spot these webs, or your food tastes funny since pantry pests can squeeze even into small areas. After you throw the food away, remove your pantry shelves and vacuum them as well as the inside of the pantry.
How to control pantry pests
The prevention, control, and management of pantry pests would be similar for both pantry moths and the pantry beetles. To avoid infestation, keep foods tightly sealed in thick glass containers or plastic containers. To prevent beetles like the merchant grain beetles, you can place bay leaves around your pantry as the scent is known to repel them. You can also spray your pantry with an odorless pest aerosol that is safe near food to prevent pests from attacking food in your pantry or returning. Lastly, you can try beetle pheromone traps that catch both pantry moths and pantry beetles. These traps are usually in liquid form and can be used on an additional glue board or inside a pitfall trap used to catch pantry pests.