Keep Stored Product Pests Out of Your Pantry
Stored product pests, also known as pantry pests, include moths and beetles that can feed on processed foods or grains. These kinds of pests are found all over the country, including here in the Pacific Northwest. And professional pest control services deal with removing them on a regular basis.
Distasteful as it may be, many of the stored products we purchase contain insect eggs of one species or another. Ordinarily, this really doesn’t matter much. But if the product sits long enough in the right temperature and humidity conditions, these eggs may hatch into larvae. The larvae, generally small worm-like creatures, consume some of the product for energy, and then pupate, eventually emerging as adults. The adults are usually capable of flight, and they mate and then the females lay their eggs on or near the original product or some other protein source.
The exact threat that these pests pose to your stored foods varies from species to species. Here in the Greater Seattle Area stored product pests that you are likely to encounter include:
- Carpet Beetles
- Indian Meal Moths
- Cigarette Beetles,
- Saw-Toothed Grain Beetles
- Flour Beetles
- Drugstore Beetles
Generally, your first indication of a stored product pest infestation is these insects crawling or flying around inside your house. By the time you notice this activity, it’s likely that these pests have begun to ravage your stored food goods. In other words, you could be dealing with hundreds of dollars of damage in your pantry and elsewhere.
Clearing an infestation of stored product pests from inside your home can be challenging. Fortunately, Eastside Exterminators offers excellent pest control solutions for these problems. To schedule our services, call 425-482-2100 today.
Common Stored Product Pests: Beetles
Cigarette beetles and drugstore beetles are basically omnivorous when it comes to stored foods. In fact, they will even consume spice and leather products. On the other hand, saw-toothed grain beetles can’t feed on whole grains. But they will attack many processed grains, candy bars, tobacco, dry dog food, fruits, meats, and other miscellaneous things. This group of stored product pests average 1/8” in length and are red-brown in color. However, as larvae they most often reside on in stored products, and so aren’t noticed before it’s too late. Additionally, saw-toothed grain beetles are not known to fly or be drawn to light. That means one way you might detect and trap other insects—with a light source—is useless for them.
Flour beetles have a diet that is mainly comprised of processed grains and spices. Flour beetles are especially important to consider as their life cycle lasts for about seven weeks. Moreover, adult female flour beetles can live anywhere from several months up to a year. This means that a flour beetle infestation can potentially grow over a long period, destroying long-term stored food. However, flour beetles whether of the ‘confused’ or ‘red’ varieties, are drawn to light sources, unlike saw-toothed grain beetles.
Carpet beetles feed on and breed in a very wide variety of grain-based products, as well as a variety of natural fiber products, including some clothing. There are two types of carpet beetles in our area: the varied carpet beetle, and the black carpet beetle. Most commonly, the adults are small mottled grey beetles similar in shape to ladybugs, but only a fraction as big. The larvae are like a very small, fuzzy brown-striped caterpillar. These beetles often arrive as hitchhikers in stored food products in the egg stage.
Common Stored Product Pests: Moths
Indian meal moths, like flour beetles, tend to feed on processed grains, as well as spices. At ½” long, they are easily identified by their gray and brown front wings. In their larval stage, they are pinkish-white, and are visible as they are looking for places to build a cocoon. Furthermore, in this stage, unique sign of their presence in stored foods can be silk webbing. They also have a relatively short life cycle, which lasts as little as 25 days.
Getting Rid of Stored Product Pests
A very thorough inspection, and careful treatment of a variety of areas, is needed to clear stored product pests. This process requires the expertise of pest management professionals who understand the latest pest control methods.
The licensed pest control operators at Eastside Exterminators can provide the assistance you need. To learn more about our proven, affordable services, call us at 425-482-2100.