There are literally dozens of insect species which can infest your home and food products without your direct knowledge. Ranging from small beetles to moths, these stored product pests can multiply rapidly causing widespread and sustained infestations. Unfortunately, these pests generally have non-specific food preferences making them likely to infest any stored foods from breakfast foods, flour, cake mix, and cookies, to powdered milk, nuts, and pasta. Understanding these pests can help you manage and prevent infestations.
Sometimes known as pantry pests, stored product pests are generally insects that feed on the basic food that you find in your pantry. As mentioned, these pests include beetles and moths but also include weevils and bores. They vary in size, shape, and colour making them particularly difficult to detect.
The main risk associated with stored product pests is food contamination, but these pests can also damage clothing and furniture in your home. While they certainly feed on your stored foods, they also enjoy munching on books, upholstered furniture, and clothes in addition to dried fruits and grains. They can quickly and easily penetrate packaging materials, and they can be found in almost any kitchen environment. Regardless of your climate or geographic locale, you are not safe from stored product pests.
The first sign that you have a stored product pest infestation is the appearance of these pests around your cupboards and food sources. You will generally notice these insects around your counter tops, crawling up walls and cabinets, or even surrounding food sources. These pests may be alive at any stage of their development from the egg stage to larvae to pupa and finally the adult stage. Some pests will feed inside of whole kernels such as barley, oats, rye, or corn while others feed on processed grains, spices, and more.
Controlling stored product pests is a challenge. They are versatile and resilient, and their infestations can spread rapidly. Generally speaking, the more insects you find, the larger the infestation and in order to completely control an outbreak, you'll need to inspect all your food including boxed or bagged food items. Once you have located an infestation, you will want to remove all food sources and destroy all infested products. Wipe down and vacuum all shelving and cupboards in the infested area to ensure you have removed all the insects. With advanced infestations, you will probably want to contact a local pest control professional. Stored product pests can be very difficult to find, and their infestations can be widespread.
Once you are sure that your stored product pest problem has been solved, you'll want to turn your efforts to prevention. Sanitation is the most important method for preventing infestations. Store food in tightly-sealed containers, and regularly wipe down cupboards and shelves. For more information on how to control these pests, call Care Pest.