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Pantry Pests - the Uninvited Thanksgiving Guest

Monday, November 16th, 2015 by Bill Cowley


It is time to prepare for Thanksgiving! Every family’s tradition is different, but many of us are pulling out the cookbooks with our family’s favorite recipes and maybe even attempting some baking that we don’t normally try. No matter how different traditions are, Thanksgiving is a time when the food really does take center stage. That means there is nothing that could be more embarrassing than having your guests find bugs in your kitchen in the midst of the big event. Pantry pests are both a nuisance and an embarrassment, but there are some simple tips to follow to make sure that your pantry is pest free.

There are many types of pantry pests that invade New Jersey homes. Some of the most common pests are: Indian meal moths, dermestid beetles, sawtoothed grain beetles, cigarette and drugstore beetles, flour beetles, granary weevils, rice and maize weevils, bean weevils, as well as spider beetles. They can be present in your home in any of their life cycle stages (egg, larva, pupa, and adult).

The first tip in keeping pantry pests out of your home is inspection. Even high quality food may contain pantry pests so it is best to inspect food as soon as you bring it home. If you see any pantry pests in your home, carefully go through all of your dried-goods including cereal, flour, rice, dried fruit, and pet food. If you find any of the pests listed 

storage containers

above in your food, throw the whole container away in an outside receptacle.

The second step is being a fastidious cleaner. Home infestations of pantry pests can maintain themselves on even very small spills in the crevices of cupboards and drawers. Make sure to clean your pantry carefully. Using both a vacuum as well as a sponge will help to ensure that the crevices in your cabinets are clean.

The third step in keeping your home free of pantry pests is to make sure that all your food is properly stored. Pantry pests love tofind opened packages of food that are stored for long periods of time. If you do need to store an open product for a long time it is best to remove it from its original packaging and place it in either a plastic or glass container with an air tight lid. Plastic bags are often not a sufficient deterrent for pantry pests. If you are reusing plastic or glass containers, make sure to wash them thoroughly with warm soapy water before you put new flour, rice or other dry goods into them.

Lastly, make sure that the area where you store your food is not too humid. Keeping storage units dry is imperative. Pantry pests develop best in moist areas, while dryness discourages them.

Because pantry pests are found around food, getting rid of them by using chemicals found at your local hardware store is strongly discouraged. If you follow the above tips and still have problems with pantry pests in Windsor, NJ,  or any of our other service areas, contact Cowleys today. We can help you to rid your home of those uninvited pantry pests this Thanksgiving.