These Are The Pests In Your Pantry That May Invade Your Home During Your Time Away
You've finally returned to your Florida haven to escape the cold up north. As you unpack and settle in, you start noticing some unwelcome guests that have made themselves at home in your absence. Tiny moths fluttering around the pantry, creepy crawly beetles skittering across the countertop, webs in the corners of the cupboards. While you were away living it up, pests were busy invading your pantry and now threaten to overrun your kitchen. Before these uninvited squatters take over completely, it's time to evict them and reclaim your space. We'll walk you through how to identify common pantry pests in Florida and the best ways to get rid of them.
Common Pantry Pests in Florida Homes
When you've been away from your Florida home for months at a time, you may come back to find some unwelcome visitors in your pantry. The hot, humid climate is ideal for insects looking to feed on your stored goods. Here in Florida, the big three are Grain Beetles, Rice Weevils, and Indian Meal Moths.
What Are Grain Beetles?
These are tiny little brown or reddish brown beetles, only about 2-3 millimeters long. They've got a flattened body and some even have these saw-like things on their back. The most common is called the sawtoothed grain beetle. But there's also the merchant grain beetle, lesser grain borer and rusty grain beetle.
These guys like to munch on all sorts of stored foods - grains, cereals, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, you name it. They'll even eat pet food and bird seed. Their larvae are the real destroyers though, as they'll chew through packaging and leave droppings all over your food.
Not only that, grain beetles are no joke to get rid of. You pretty much have to clean like crazy, store things airtight, inspect regularly and invest in pest control methods.
What Are Rice Weevils?
The Rice Weevil is about the same size as the grain beetle. These little brown to black beetles have four yellow or red spots. They're native to Asia but are found worldwide now. They have been known to wreck grain supplies around the globe. The larvae eat right through rice kernels, making them inedible leaving droppings in their place.
What Are Indian Meal Moths?
Adults are around 3/8 inch with a 5/8 inch wingspan, and two-toned gray and reddish brown wings. While Indian meal moths tend to consume a varied diet, they really love grain foods like flour, cornmeal and cereal. You'll also find them in spices, nuts, dried fruit, as well as pet food.
Signs of an Infestation - What to Look for When You Return Home
When you finally return home after months up north, the last thing you want to find are bugs in your pantry. Unfortunately, pantry pests love to set up shop when you're away. Here are some signs to look for so you can nip an infestation in the bud.
Food Containers Or Packaging With Holes
Tiny holes or tears in bags, boxes or containers mean pantry moths, weevils or beetles have gotten in. Throw out any opened or damaged food items immediately.
Cocoons Or Webbing
Pantry moths and their larvae spin silky webbing and cocoons. Check shelves, corners and the undersides of lids for signs of webbing. Vacuum thoroughly to remove any eggs or larvae.
Larvae Or Worms In Foods
If you spot worms, larvae or grub-like creatures in your flour, rice, cereal, nuts or dried fruits, you likely have an active infestation. Unfortunately, you'll need to discard those food items. There is no saving them.
Adult Moths, Beetles or Weevils
Seeing the actual adults, especially small moths flying around or resting on walls, is a sure sign you have pantry pests. They may be coming from an infested food source, so inspect your pantry closely.
Don't feel overwhelmed if you discover an infestation. By removing the food source, thoroughly cleaning the area and using traps or baits, you can eliminate many common pantry pests yourself. However, for severe or persistent infestations, it's best to call an expert like Super D Pest Control. Our licensed technicians are specially trained in integrated pest management and can completely rid your pantry of unwanted freeloaders.
Preventing Pantry Pests While You Are Away
To avoid coming home to an infestation of pantry pests that have taken over in your absence, there are a few preventative measures you can take before heading back north for the summer.
Seal and Store Food Properly
The key is to eliminate access to food sources. Seal dried goods like flour, rice, oats and pasta in airtight containers. This includes pet food, birdseed and potpourri which pests may feed on. Store these containers in cabinets or pantries, not in the open on the counter.
Do a Deep Clean
Before leaving, do a thorough cleaning of your kitchen. Wipe down shelves, sweep floors and clean up any crumbs. Take out the trash and recycling and clean under and behind appliances where pests can hide.
Use Baits or Traps
You can place pantry pest traps, baits or mothballs around the house, especially near stored food areas. Baits and traps will attract and kill the pests before they become a bigger problem. Mothballs release a strong odor that repels moths, weevils and beetles.
Have a Friend Check-In
Ask a friend or neighbor to stop by your home periodically while you’re away. Have them inspect for signs of pests like webbing, larvae or adult moths around windows, baseboards and stored food areas. They can set out additional baits or traps if needed or call an exterminator if there is a major infestation.
For the most effective prevention, you may want to hire an exterminator to spray around baseboards and entry points to kill and repel common pests before you leave for an extended time. They can also ensure there are no existing infestations in walls or attics that could spread to your pantry while you’re away.
DIY Pest Control for Pantry Pests
If you discover pests after coming home to Florida, you can often get rid of these pesky intruders yourself fairly easily without hiring an exterminator.
Clean Out Your Pantry
The first step is to empty your pantry of everything—yes, everything. Throw out any opened packages of food where you see signs of infestation like webbing, larvae, or beetles. Wash down shelves with a multi-surface cleaner or diluted bleach solution and remove any crumbs. This eliminates access to food sources and hiding spots for the pests.
Use Air-Tight Containers
When restocking your pantry, use airtight containers, like jars, Ziploc bags, or plastic bins. This cuts off access to food and oxygen for the pests. Containers also make it easy to spot any future infestations. Label and date containers so you rotate your stock and don’t keep food for too long.
For persistent infestations, use pheromone traps, like moth or beetle traps, which use scents to lure the pests in but prevent them from escaping. Replace the traps every few months until you no longer see pests caught in them.
Professional Pest Control Services for Severe Infestations
When needed, Super D Pest Control has the proper training, equipment and pesticides to tackle large-scale pantry pest infestations. They can thoroughly inspect your pantry as well as adjacent areas where the pests or their larvae may have spread. We use safe industry standard pest control methods to target all life stages of the pests, ensuring they are completely eradicated. Many of our solutions can also be applied to treat other pests such as ants or cockroaches.
Super D Pest Control are experts in controlling pantry pests and can develop customized pest control treatment plans based on the specific types of pests you have. Depending on the infestation, we can make follow-up visits to re-treat the area if needed to ensure all pests have been eliminated before restocking your pantry. Call Us Today at (727) 433-5310 to schedule a free consultation or click the "Let's Chat" tab below to contact us on our website.