Do you have small moths or beetles flying or crawling around in your pantry, or on your kitchen counter or shelves?
If so, you may have Pantry Pests. These are a variety of small insects that live in and feed on the same foods we do. The most common ones are the Indianmeal Moth and Cigarette Beetle, but there are a few other moths and small beetles that can become pests as well. Several of these pests have adult stages that fly toward lights and may be found in other rooms or floors quite a distance from your food storage areas.
You can avoid these pests by taking the following steps:
- You must find the source of the infestation. Check packages you seldom use, especially such foods as cereal, grain products, nut, flour, raisins, spices, dry pet foods and bird seed. Also make it a habit to thoroughly inspect all such items when you first bring them home after purchase from your grocery store. Pay special attention to all of the same items and brand names from the same store where any previously infested items were bought.
- When found, you should wrap any heavily infested packages in a heavy plastic bag and dispose of them with your normal garbage.
Store all susceptible foods in tightly-closed glass, plastic, or metal containers.
- You should consider heating or freezing all susceptible food items you have had for 60 days or longer. You can kill nearly any pantry pests by heating in the dry heat of an oven to at least 140 degrees F. throughout the package for at least one hour; or by freezing the food item throughout to 0 degrees F. or below for at least four days. You should place dry food in a zip-lock type plastic bag before freezing to prevent it from getting wet due to condensation after removal from the freezer. Most foods can be eaten safely after pantry pests have been killed and removed, such as by hand or by sifting.
- Usually, no pesticide treatment is needed for these pests. Finding and disposing of all infested foods solves the problem.