What Pantry Pests Eat And How To Get Rid Of Them

September 2, 2020
What Pantry Pests Eat And How To Get Rid Of Them

There is certainly quite a list of pests to be made concerning those that can intrude one’s home but pests that are more specific to your pantry are a bit different than the general pest problems homeowners deal with. Pests that are commonly known to invade your food spaces typically include moths, weevils and beetles. The most common pantry pests in the Pacific Northwest include the Indian moth and Drugstore & Cigarette beetle. These pantry pests can be quite a nuisance, especially when it comes to getting rid of them.


Moths typically go unnoticed in people’s homes until they are found in food or destroying clothing products. Unfortunately, if left alone too long, they can reproduce and take over your pantry. These pantry moths are referred to as Indian meal moths, flour moths or grain moths. They are golden in color with a satiny sheen and a head full of reddish hairs. When given enough time these pests will lay tiny, practically invisible eggs within your food packages where they will hatch and spoil your food. The most common food source to find them in is bird seed but they don’t get the name flour moths for nothing! Any dry food sources will be perfect for them to breed and infest. If you spot these moths around your home, checking your pantry is a good idea.


There are tens of thousands of species of weevils but those most commonly found in your pantry are either flour weevils or rice weevils. Both are metallic in color and grow to be barely a few millimeters long. They are so small that they are hard to notice in your pantry. Once inside your pantry they infest food products such as rice, flour, flour based products like pasta and cereal. What many do not know is that they will usually come from the outside, in, through tiny cracks and gaps in the house. They infest fruit trees and gardens which can sometimes be close enough to the side of the home that they allow for easy access. Food bits lying around your home will attract them as well. Flour dust, cereal, and spilled rice are all attractants for these pests.


Obviously, there are many beetles that people see outside their homes but finding them inside your home can be a bit bothersome. Common beetles found in the Pacific Northwest pantries are the drugstore and cigarette beetles. True to their name, drugstore beetles feed on a variety of pharmaceutical products including laxative teas and strychnine. In the home, they may also feed on almonds, peanuts, paprika and red pepper, cornmeal, flour, and wheat, dry dog and cat food, coffee beans, and books and manuscripts. Cigarette beetles prefer to feed on dried tobacco, but they will also eat spices, beans, dried fruits, peanuts, yeast, and seeds. They may also damage the leaves and bindings of books when feeding on paste. A female will lay about 30 eggs over a period of three weeks. The eggs hatch in six to 10 days. The larval stage lasts five to 10 weeks and the pupal period lasts two to three weeks. Each year, three to six generations may be produced.

How To Get Rid Of Pantry Pests

The best prevention when it comes to pests is keeping everything in air tight containers as well as cleaning up after spills and crumbs. Without a food source, pests will go elsewhere. Varied carpet beetles in particular may be a bit harder to keep at bay, especially if you have carpet in your home. Although, getting rid of them is not as hard as one may think. Regular vacuuming of your home can keep these pests from infesting your living space, including your pantry if everything is sealed up tightly. Moths and weevils can be prevented from infesting your pantry food by simply putting everything in airtight containers; preferably glass as some weevils are known to chew through plastic. By regularly cleaning up your food storage spaces you can easily get rid of pantry pests and keep them from coming back! The Food Network provided a great article titled Everything You Need to Know About Pantry Pests for those interested in further reading.

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