Stored Food Pests


Stored Food Pests


HISTORY: There are a number of different species of moths and beetles that feed on our stored food products. Pictured above are a few of the more common pest problems in our area. The source of the infestation is almost always a package of baking mix, cornmeal, pet food, etc. that was brought into the home. It is very unusual for these insects to start from populations living outside since there is seldom enough suitable food sources to support a native population.


HABITS & HABITAT: All of the insects shown above feed on grain products such as flour, cornmeal, nuts, etc. In almost all cases the feeding is only done by the larvae. The adults live only long enough to reproduce and then they die. The adult female lays her eggs in a suitable food source. The food source will contain broken grain products (they do not feed on whole kernel grains like weevils do). Suitable foods include flour, baking mixes of all types, cornmeal, pasta, dry pet food, spices, nuts, etc. Anyplace there may be an accumulation of broken grain or nut meats is a potential nursery for young stored food pests to feed and grow.


WHAT YOU CAN DO: If you suspect you have a problem with stored food pests it is critical that you get the pest identified by a qualified pest professional or entomologist before beginning any control measures. These insects are easily confused with other moths and beetles. Their look-a-likes may be insects that only feed on plant material out of doors, or perhaps they may be a fabric pest such as clothing moths or carpet beetles. Most of these insects are very specific about what they will and will not eat. Correct identification ensures that the steps being taken are correct for the problem at hand.

Begin control of stored food pests by going through your entire pantry and other areas where their preferred food stuffs may be stored in the home. You must open every container, box or package (even the ones that are still factory sealed). Look for the insects themselves, larvae, webbing or anything else that just "doesn't look right" to you. Discard the items that are infested. Items that appear to be free of infestation must now be moved to a freezer or out of the house. Storing these food items at 0° F for 14 days will kill even the microscopic eggs of these insects. Once subjected to this freezing treatment the items will be free of the insects and the food can then be returned to the pantry.
WHAT WE CAN DO: Elimination of the infested products and freezing the rest will arrest the life cycle of these insects in the home. However, it will not eliminate adults that may be hiding in cracks or crevices. These adults (occasionally eggs or larvae) that are not dealt with may become the source of a re-population in the months to come. For this reason we strongly advise that you engage a licensed pest control professional to treat the pantry area for these pests. It is sometimes helpful to "fog" the area of the house where these products were stored (especially in the case of flour moths).

Generally, we provide our regular pest control customers with all the treatments required at no additional charge. For non-customers we will be happy to arrange a one-time service or get you started on one of our regular service programs, as you like. Just give us a call. We'll be happy to help.

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