From cockroaches to rodents to bedbugs – your house, just like any other, is at risk of invasion by a surfeit of pests. Like you didn’t already have enough to worry about, there are also stored product insects ready to pester you!
Never heard of stored product pests? Then, you must learn all about them. After all, these insects are commonly found in most households and food processing facilities.
In this article, you can learn what stored product insects are and what type of food they are attracted to. You can also read about the telltale signs of these pantry pests and find out how to get rid of the stored product insects.
What are Stored Product Insects?
Stored product insects are so named because they are pests that can destroy your stored food. These insects can be broadly classified into two species: beetles and moths. Most stored product insects enjoy dried and processed foods stored at room temperature. However, you will be surprised to learn that they can even enter unopened packages and eat the food from within.
These insects prefer stored products such as flour, rice, pasta, corn kernels, corn meal, spices, herbs, powdered milk, cake mixes, grits, cookies, nuts and seeds. They also love to feed on dried fruits and vegetables, soup mixes, chocolate, beans, crackers, and biscuit mixes.
Unlike in the prevention of most pests, just having a clean home is not a surefire way to prevent pantry bugs. These insects found in flour, rice, or other food items can come into your home from the grocery store, warehouse, or processing plant.
The Downsides of Having Stored Product Insects
Many pests make a home in the cosy corners of your pantry, and stored product insects are no exception. However, these pantry pests are less dangerous than cockroaches or rodents. They do not sting like bees or bite like ants. Neither do they destroy your home like termites. So what are the downsides of having small beetles, moths, and weevils living in your stored foods?
Well, the answer is quite obvious. They are unhygienic. You do not want to open your biscuit container to notice tiny insects crawling all over your snacks. After all, they are insects and are not meant to be eaten. So anything that is infested should be discarded.
In addition to being an inconvenience, this is also a financial loss. For example, an infestation of stored product insects in your pantry could cost you a lot of money if you are holding large quantities of food items at the same time.
Telltale Sign of Stored Product Insects Infestation
To prevent the loss of food items and the general annoyance that pantry pests cause, you must learn to identify the telltale sign of each of these insects. Yes, even though the most obvious hint is the physical sighting of pantry pests, each stored product insect leaves a different clue.
You can identify weevils by the presence of larvae in your stored food. This is common for items in the pantry that have not been sealed properly. When there is a weevil infestation, you will also start seeing more weevils and their droppings around your pantry.
The same signs are also true of grain beetles. In addition, the food they feed and live in starts to undergo a change in temperature. So, if any stored food seems warmer than it is supposed to be, you should do a closer inspection. Upon careful observation, you might notice crawling grain beetles. You may also find random holes in the packaging. These are signs that grain beetles have chewed their way into the packet.
Moths, another very common pantry pest, leave clumps in your food. Indian Meal Moths lay eggs on the food and attach their eggs and larvae to it with a sticky webbing. This webbing adheres to the food and forms clumps.
How Do You Get Rid of Stored Product Insects?
Thankfully, once identified, getting rid of pantry pests is relatively easy. Here’s how:
The first step is to tackle affected stored products. Check all the containers in your pantry and shelves and identify the infested items. Do not hesitate to throw away affected pantry items that have any pantry pests or signs of pests.
To take care of any existing stored product insects, you can use stored product pest pheromone traps in the kitchen. Light traps in internal areas of the house are another control method to trap flying pantry pests.
Next, vacuum to remove any stored product insects from the cupboards. Wash the cabinets and shelves with hot soapy water. Finally, after you have taken care of the infestation, it is time to prevent any future infestations.
How to Prevent Stored Product Insect Infestation?
There is no better way to prevent stored product pests than to keep your food properly. Use airtight containers to avoid any pantry pests from entering. Some insects can chew right through any plastic packaging, so always put your food items in containers.
While you are at it, also inspect incoming raw materials. Simply put, do not mix anything infested with other food items. If you do not want to open a food packet immediately, store it in the refrigerator first. Also, try not to buy anything with broken or crushed packaging.
Even if you think you have stored all the food properly, you must regularly check for signs of pantry pests. Inspect food items in your pantry every few weeks to ensure the bugs are not returning.
Of course, there is no alternative to thorough cleaning when it comes to pest control. In addition to regular cleaning, deep clean the pantry and shelves at least once every three months.
In general, it is advised that you only buy grain products that you will consume immediately. If you do not have an abundance of stored food, the insects will not be attracted to your pantry.
What’s more, you can eliminate stagnant water around the house and pay attention to the lighting. For example, use low UV lamps near entrances to your home to keep from attracting insects.
Pay special attention to the food waste storage area where organic matter often decomposes and therefore serves as food for a surfeit of insects. Keep the food waste storage away from entrances.
Who likes to open the flour jar and see tiny insects squirming all over? No one! Stored product insects are very common. It is vital that you learn all about these pests and also learn how to recognise each type. Yes, there are different types of stored product pests – moths, weevils, beetles, etc. Each of these will also provide different signs of their presence.
Getting rid of stored product pests is rather straightforward. First, identify the affected food items and discard them. Also, clean surrounding areas and seal food in airtight jars to prevent any reproduction or re-infestation by these pests.
Indeed, it is simple to eliminate these pests, but it can end up being a costly ordeal depending on how much food you have to throw away. This is why from the very beginning, you should do what you can to prevent pantry pests from taking over your kitchen.
If you suspect you have a stored product insect infestaion in your kitchen, you should call an experienced pest control company to help you manage the situation. They would help you clear out the infested products and also ensure there is no further cross-infestation.