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When you find moths, beetles, or weevils in your pantry foods, it can be a mystery. Not only do they appear on shelves and walls, but they can appear inside sealed glass or plastic containers. How does this happen? The answer is that they were already in the products when you purchased them from the grocery store. This is disturbing but true. While some pantry pests can come in from the outside of your home, most will ride into your home like soldiers in a Trojan horse. This is what we're going to take a look at today.

It Is A Long Trip From Farm To Table

Farmers have their work cut out for them. There is much less tolerance for pests in agricultural products than ever before. But the reality is, no matter how hard a farmer tries, Indian meal moths, several beetle species, and several weevil species can still find their way into crops. If they don't find their way in while crops are in the field, they can get into them as they are being processed, stored for shipment, sitting inside tractor-trailers or train cars, or when they are stored in a warehouse before being carried to the grocery store.

Why These Pests Get Into Stored Foods


The plot thickens as you begin to consider all the details, such as: Are you aware that Indian meal moths don't eat anything? Those moths only live long enough to mate and lay eggs. Only the developing larvae eat pantry foods. But this example helps you to see why these pests get into your food. They do it to lay eggs. When the eggs hatch, larvae emerge and feed on these products.

Sneaky Pests


Are you aware that pantry pests are sneaky? Well, some of them are. Consider these two ways pantry pests avoid detection:


Some larvae look like the product they infest. If you look into a bag of rice, you would be hard-pressed to see the worm-like larvae of some pantry pests because they take on the color of the food they are eating. If it is brown rice, they'll be brown. If it is white rice, they'll be white.


Some larvae feed on the inside of their food source. You can open up a product and not see any insects inside. You may not even realize you've eaten them when they are cooked with the product. Fortunately, there are processes to sift insects out of the pantry foods you purchase, and food processors go to great lengths to make sure your foods are bug-free.

What You Probably Don't Want To Know


When you see adult insects in your pantry or your food, it means your foods have had larvae in them. Pantry pests rarely come into pantries as adult insects. They must pass through their larval stage and develop into adults.

Some Foods You May Find Pantry Pests In


The list of pantry foods that these insects target is quite long. Here is a short list of products that could have larvae inside:


  • Cereal
  • Flour
  • Cornstarch
  • Powdered milk
  • Dried Pasta
  • Crackers
  • Bread
  • Dried nuts
  • Birdseed
  • Dry pet food
  • Fruit
  • Spices
  • Candy

The Good News


While it is certainly disturbing to find pantry pests in your foods, you might find comfort to know that they are not known to spread diseases. This is likely because they don't feed on food in your trash. They prefer to stay in your stored foods.

How To Get Rid Of Pantry Pests


Now that you know how they get in, you're probably wondering how to get them out. Don't worry; we're going to cover that.

DIY Pantry Pest Management


  • Throw out foods that have insects, eggs, or webbing in them.

  • Put all stored products in sealed plastic bags, glass containers, or plastic containers. This will help you isolate the pests and keep them from spreading. It will also help you see activity inside your products.

  • Clean your pantry shelves.

Professional Pantry Pest Control


If you want to make sure all of those pantry pests are removed, contact All-Safe Pest & Termite. We use advanced pest methods to get control of pantry pest infestations. We're here to help.

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