Here's a true story to start this off:
When I was around eight years old, I had sat down for my morning cereal before school. My sister poured the cereal into the bowl, added the milk and sat it down in front of me. As I scooped the first bite into the spoon, I noticed a little, black thing swimming in the milk.
Surely this wasn't a bug… it had to be a raisin, right? I looked past the spoon to the bowl and saw even more black things moving around. I said to my sister, "There are bugs in my cereal."
She dismissed it and told me to eat. I said again, only more convincing this time, "There are bugs swimming around in my cereal! Look!"
She finally looked, yelled out, "Gross!" and emptied the bowl in the sink before tossing the cereal box in the trash.
That was my first experience with stored product pests, and I still haven't forgotten it almost 40 years later.
What are Stored Product Pests
Stored product pests, also called pantry pests, are insects that either come already packaged in the box from the store or have gotten into the food from inside the home. Some insects, such as Indian meal moths and sawtoothed grain beetles, are brought into the home from infested bird seeds. Some other pantry pests include:
- Rice weevils
- Red flour beetles
- Flour and grain moths
- Spider beetles
- Drugstore beetles
Looking back at my experience with the infested cereal box, my parents had purchased it from a local general store, which had a lot of outdated goods, or at least generic products that weren't sealed very well.
These insects invade pantries and store goods by chewing through boxes and bags. They get inside and consume the food while also laying eggs and hatching new generations of insects that will also feed on the products.
How to Get Rid of Stored Pests
Killing the insects isn't the solution to the problem. Sure it gets rid of some of the adults, but the infested packages will lead to more infestations later. Finding the invaded goods and destroying them is the key to preventing future problems.
It's important to check the entire pantry and all the cabinets where food is stored. Infested items must be removed from the home and destroyed appropriately.
Cleaning and sanitizing the area is the next step. Once you've removed the items and sanitized the space, you'll want to prevent another infestation. You can do this by sealing products in plastic containers. Remove cereals, rice and beans from bags, and lock them in storage bins with lids. Do the same for other products that could easily be prone to pantry pests.
For serious infestations, using foggers and sprays may be necessary. Something like Gentrol IGR is good as a spray or a fogger and will target stored products pests at the larval stage, preventing the maturation process and eliminating future infestations.
No More Pantry Pests with WinProOnline
Discovering insects in your food is never a pleasant experience. If you buy goods from smaller local stores, inspect the boxes and bags for damage. Always store your goods properly in sealed containers to prevent infestations. Practicing safe storage and proper cleaning techniques will keep pests out of the pantry and reduce the risk of insects in your stored goods.