Occasionally, we receive requests to treat people’s pantry for pests. The requests are usually for “weevils” or “those little moths”. In the pantry, they are typically stored product pests, the most common of which are the drugstore beetle, cigarette beetle, weevils (granary, rice, maize), flour beetles (red and confused), sawtoothed grain beetle, and Indianmeal moth. Believe it or not these guys are all pretty easy to tell apart under magnification.
For the most part, all these pests live and reproduce in your stored food. So the question is how do we spray for them? The answer is we don’t. Sanitation is the proper method for control in a home pantry (i.e. You have to locate the infested food items and throw them away). You may also vacuum up any spilled food in the pantry.How did you get the infestation to begin with? You’re clean and organized right? Well there are three things that can put you at greater risk for an infestation.
1. Pet food
Pet food is often stored for long periods of time in stores, which leaves them open for infestation. Also, pet food can get spilled behind racks at the stores and cause a recurring infestation. We have noticed that the problem is especially bad with bird seed. The best way to avoid this problem is to store all pet food in sealed plastic containers away from where you store your human food. This is good advice to keep rodents away too, please don’t keep an open bag of dog food in your garage!
2. Buying Bulk
The same rule for pet food applies to bulk purchases. There is a chance for infestation at the store level, and if you buy way more than you need, your own storage can become infested over time. Again, store any bulk stuff in sealed plastic containers. Another option is to store it in the freezer as this will stop any infestations from developing.3. Buying unique items from International StoresGenerally this is along the same lines as the first two, but definitely worth mentioning. International stores may keep all their rarely purchased items for a long time, leaving them susceptible to infestation. We see folks with large canvass sacks full of grains or rice, which is often the problem. The solution is the same, use sealed plastic containers and/or keep these purchases in the freezer.
Remember, it’s not always just this short list of items that you need to look out for. If you have a pantry infestation, you must check everything and throw it out if found to be a problem. We’ve seen issues arise from tea bags, cereal, grains, rice, flour, sugar, almost anything in bags, and even some sealed up better than that.News Flash! The Indianmeal moth is one pantry pest we will soon be able to treat. There have been recent advances in control using mating disruption, or MD. MD has been used for years in agriculture against codling moth – a.k.a. the worm in the apple. Using MD, Indianmeal moth pheromone dispensers are used to permeate the air with their pheromone. With so much “love” in the air, it is impossible for the moths to find each other, putting a stop to reproduction. Don’t worry, it has no effect on humans or even other insects. Right now, this method is gaining popularity in Industrial areas, and will soon be launched in residential applications. My uncle, Bill Lingren, owns the company that is developing it, Trece, Inc.
! Is that insider trading?