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5 Things You Absolutely Need To Know About Pantry Pests

women shopping in grocery store

There is a long, and very boring list of pantry pests that I could bore you with, but it really comes down to four classifications: moths, beetles, weevils, and foraging pests. But, instead, give me a minute of your time, and I'll give you a lesson on pantry pests that will stay with you longer than a Schoolhouse Rock jingle.

It is easy to go on about what these pests look like, what they typically eat, and the deep complexities of their mating habits, but unless you're a entomologist, that stuff will just make you nod off--and possibly even give you flashbacks of laying your forehead on the hard surface of your school desk, collecting drool on your sleeve. So, let's skip to the important part.

5 things you absolutely need to know about pantry pests

  1. Pantry pests can get into your pantry in one of two ways: they can come in on their own, or you can carry them in. Keeping these pests out starts in the grocery store. Be sure to check all your packaging for rips, tears, or holes. And, make sure none of the food you buy is expired.
  2. Pantry pests can be inside your food long before you see them. In the egg and larvae states, pests can be invisible to the naked eye. Even when fully grown, some insects are hard to see, because they look like the food they enjoy eating. The best way to keep from accidentally eating pantry pests, is to cycle the food in your pantry, by eating the older items first, store all your pantry items in hard plastic containers, and keep your pantry clean and dry.
  3. How to protect your pantry. Examine all the walls for holes or cracks, and seal those them. A yearly inspection of your pantry walls can save your from mouse, cockroach, and ant activity. You'll also want to seal the exterior walls of your home, check window screens, inspect door sweeps and weather stripping, and use a caulking gun to fill in hole, gaps, and cracks. It also helps to get a professional pest controller to do an inspection, offer exclusion advice, and do routine treatments of your exterior walls or perimeter.
  4. How your pantry should look. Bugs like dirty, food covered wooden shelves. If you have wire shelves, not only will it be easier to do your yearly wall inspections, it will also deter many pests from getting into your food.
  5. Some pantry pests fly. Remember, even if your pantry is fully sealed, some pantry pests--like moths--can fly in when you open the door.

There you go. Everything you "really" need to know about pantry pests. Now, if you're curious, you can go look up some pictures and facts about drugstore beetles, indian meal moths, spider beetles, granary weevils, cigarette beetles, rice weevils, sawtoothed grain beetles, cockroaches, dermestid beetles, bean weevils, ants, mice, and more. You can never know too much about insect pests, and how to keep them out of your home. And, like Schoolhouse Rock says, "knowledge is power!"