Pantry Pests


Drugstore Beetles

Drugstore beetles are not found in the wild in our area but are very common in our homes. They are brought in from the store in the foods you buy. This species is most commonly found in wheat based dry foods like crackers, pasta, pancake mixes and other wheat based grains or cereals. They are also found in paprika and paprika spiced seasoning packets and rarely, but sometimes found in organic decorations. Lately we’ve found them in the non-plastic but organic packing peanuts. They are fairly small, about 1/8″ in length. They can be costly since control is best by tossing the affected foods. Putting these foods in baggies only slows down the spread as they will burrough out easily, but will take longer to find the other foods, because the baggies may not allow the smell out.. DO-IT-YOURSELF: Remember, this pest is in food and therefore no pesticide is to be used. Determine the area of most sightings, usually it’s in the pantry. Next, confirm the primary source. Look at wheat based products, like pasta, crackers, soup packets, flour, dried dog or cat food. The source will probably have holes in the package where the pest burroughed out. Discard it and look for more in the surrounding area, discarding as needed until no more affected foods are found. Take the remaining similar foods that are not infested and move them to the freezer or refrigerator until any escapies die. This will take a week to a month, depending on the degree of infestation.

Granary Weevil

Granary Weevils are not found in our area, but are transported into our homes via the foods we buy. Of all the weevils, the granary weevil is the most popular we encounter. They are black and have a long snout. They can fly but rarely do. They are about an 1/8″ in length. They are found in flour, rice, pasta, cake mixes, seasoning mixes, soup mixes, etc. The package will have holes in it where the weevils burroughed out. DO-IT-YOURSELF: First remember the pest is in the food, therefore no pesticide is to be used. Find the area of most activity. Locate the main source and discard. Look in the surrounding area next for possible reinfests. Discard as needed. Take the remainder of these foods and move them to the freezer or refrigerator for a week to a month until the activity is stopped.

Indian Meal Moth

Indian Meal moths are not from our area but are commonly introduced to our homes in food and organic decorations. The adult moth is about 1/2″ long and has a couple of bands across their wings. They go through a complete metamorphosis, egg, larvae, pupae and adult. They infest starchy foods and seeds, like grits, flour, pancake mixes, soup mixes, oatmeal, breadcrumbs, cornmeal, dried beans, bagged popcorn, chocolate and bird seed. They are most often found in pet foods and bird seeds. DO-IT-YOURSELF: First remember, the bugs are in your food. No pesticides are to be used in or around your food. Find the area of most abundance. The infested item will have a clumping, spider web like substance found in it. Discard the source. Search the surrounding area for reinfested foods. The larvae look like large maggots and are found in the foods, on the walls and ceiling. Discard these too. Take the remaining attraction foods and move them to the freezer or refrigerator. The escapies will die without a food source in a week to a month, depending on the degree of infestation.

Sawtooth Grain Beetle

Sawtooth grain beetles are not from our area, but are transported into our homes in infested foods. They are one of the smallest of pantry pests with an adult length of 1/16″. This picture shows them on rolled oats. They are found in raw grains, like dried beans, peas, oatmeal, corn, barley and bird seed. They tend not to spread as much as the other pantry pests. DO-IT-YOURSELF: First, remember that this pest is found in the food and therefore no pesticide is to be used. Find the source and discard. Check the surrounding competing foods for infestation and discard as needed. Take any remaining, non-infested similar foods and move them to the refrigerator or freezer for a week to a month, to allow the prior infestation to expire.