Have you ever pulled out your flour or cornmeal and found little creepy crawlies in it? I’ve done that and it’s the grossest thing. I had to completely empty my pantry cabinets one summer because the pantry bugs were everywhere. If you don’t secure pantry items like flours and baking goods, the bugs will find a home inside! Fortunately, like other natural pest control ideas, there are some easy ways to get rid of pantry bugs.
How to Get Rid of Pantry Bugs
The pantry is a favorite spot of many unwanted insects and pantry beetles. What pest wouldn’t love a place where there is such a variety of edible living spaces to be found? Depending on what part of the country you live in, some of these pests may be more common than others. But whatever uninvited guest has made itself at home in your pantry, here is a list of the more frequent ones and how you can get rid of bugs in pantry items when they have taken up residence.
Most common pantry bugs found in food products:
- Indian meal moths
- Dermestid beetles
- Sawtoothed grain beetles
- Cigarette and drugstore beetles
- Flour beetles
- Granary, rice and maize weevils
- Bean weevils
- Spider beetles
These pesky insects love to live in the food they are named after, as well as many other edible substances. If you want to keep your flour and other goods free from these pests, there are several steps you should take. First, clean the entire pantry with a cleaning solution, being sure to cover every crack and corner. I like to use a peppermint spray since bugs really don’t like that smell. Let the area dry completely, and then get rid of any trace of flour beetle life that you can find.
Indian Meal Moths
These are commonly found where pet food is made or stored. Indian meal moths like a wide variety of dry foods, and can make their way into the tightest of spots, squeezing through tiny openings and chewing holes through bags. You can keep them away by using a variety of essential oils as a spray in your pantry, which acts as a repellent. You can also scrub any infested areas with a mixture of water, soap and vinegar.
Keep food storage areas clean and do not allow crumbs or food particles to accumulate, as exposed food will attract insects. Cleanliness is especially important in areas where pet foods and birdseed are stored.
There are several types of weevils, including the rice weevil, the maize weevil, and the granary weevil. Each of these has particular foods they are drawn to, and many of their preferred foods overlap. You can keep these from taking over your pantry by removing foods that are contaminated and by cleaning the entire pantry thoroughly. It is also a good idea to store problem foods in the freezer for a minimum of four days, as this kills all eggs, larvae and mature weevils.
If you have the space, consider freezing your food full time. Heat will also kill weevils in their various forms. Seeds and other similar foods can be cooked on a baking sheet at a temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit for one hour.
Saw-Toothed Grain Beetle
This pest’s flat body allows it to easily slip into packaged foods, and even into cracked and damaged grains. The best way to get rid of this food thief is to throw away all infested food and vacuum any loose crumbs from surrounding areas. Store all food in tightly sealed containers to avoid a reinfestation.
Cigarette and Drugstore Beetles
These two types of beetles appear almost identical at first glance. They like various edibles, and are fairly common. Pheromone traps are a common way to catch these bugs – just be sure to buy the one that is specific to this particular pest, as there are different types of pheromone traps.
No one wants uninvited visitors in their pantry, especially the ones listed above. By following the proper steps, you can destroy these pests and prevent another invasion. Use these simple tips to ensure that your pantry becomes and stays pest free.
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