Omaha Pest Control services Pantry Pests
in Omaha, Nebraska and neighboring cities such as Bellevue, Papillion, Elkhorn and Council Bluffs.
If you’ve ever opened pet food or box of cereal to find crawling beetles, flying moths or webbing, you know the unpleasant experience of having found stored product pests, or pantry pests.
Several stages (egg, larva, pupa and adult) of these insects may be present at the same time in infested products. Because we keep our houses warm, these insects may continually reproduce and many stored product infestations can be found nearly any time of the year.
The first indication of an infestation is often presence of small brown beetles, moths or worms in cupboards or on counters. Upon closer inspection, insects may also be found in opened packages or containers of food and in the cracks and crevices of cupboards. Unopened packages may also become infested because some of these insects can readily chew into cardboard and foil packaging. Insects can be brought into the home along with infested food products. They can multiply and spread to other stored foods.
Once an infestation is suspected, identify the pest and try to locate the source. Occasionally, the source of an infestation can be very hard to find. It may be in an unopened package from the store. Consider the possibility food may have been spilled next to or behind hard-to-move appliances. Mice will sometimes collect seeds or dry pet food and hoard them in walls, under cupboards or dishwashers where the infestations are nearly impossible to find.
Insect pests most often encountered in stored food products are:
Indian Meal Moth (Plodia interpunctella):
The Indian meal moth is the most common food-infesting moth found in homes, grocery stores and any place where dried pet foods are produced or stored. It feeds on a large variety of stored food products, but home infestations often get started through dried pet food or birdseed. Nuts are a favorite breeding source; infestations have been found in nut caches of squirrels in attics and chimneys. The larva prefers coarse grades of flour, whole grains, cereal, dried fruits, seeds and spices. Foods infested with these insects will have silk webbing present, especially near the food surface.
Dermestid Beetles (Family: Dermestidae):
These common insects scavenge and feed on animal matter like dried meats, dead insects, hides and woolens. The species that feed on wool and other natural fibers or blends are sometimes called carpet beetles. Closely related species, such as the warehouse beetle, varied carpet beetle and larder beetle, have expanded their diet and also feed on grain and grain-based products. They are especially common in flour and cereals, but also are found in candy, cocoa, cookies, corn meal, nuts, pasta, dried spices and many other dry foods.
Sawtoothed Grain Beetle (Oryzaephilus surinamensis):
The Sawtoothed grain beetle is another very common pantry pest. It does not feed on intact whole grains, but feeds on many processed food products such as breakfast food, bran, dried fruits, nuts, sugar, chocolate and macaroni. It is especially fond of oatmeal and birdseed. These flat beetles can even get into sealed boxes and packages of food.
Drugstore beetles (Stegobium paniceum):
The drugstore beetle will feed on bread, but it will also feed on any dried, food-based material. It will damage book bindings. It has been found to perforate tinfoil and sheet lead and easily chews through most food packaging material.
Cigarette beetles (Lasioderma serricorne):
The cigarette beetle derives its name from its serious infestations of stored tobacco. Adult beetles are about 1/8-inch long, light brown and oval. The most common food materials include pet food, cereal, peppers, spices, raisins and seeds.
Flour Beetles (Tribolium spp):
There are a number of species of tiny beetles that infest flour, but the two most common flour beetles are the confused and red flour beetles. These beetles are scavengers in that they cannot attack whole grains, but rely on other insects to damage the kernels first. In homes, they can be found feeding on flour, cracked grains, cake mixes, beans, peas, dried fruits, nuts, chocolate, spices and tobacco.
These are just a few of many pests that invade Nebraska pantries. For more pest information see the Pest Library page.