Pantry Pest Control in New Jersey

pantry imageDiscovering bugs in your food items like oatmeal or crackers isn't uncommon. Stored foods like flour, cereals, baking mixes, crackers, dried fruits, nuts, and pet foods are often infested with pests. These bugs and their larvae can infiltrate products during the distribution process, ending up in your pantry unnoticed.

Pests in stored foods are persistent and can quickly spread throughout your home if left unchecked. They pose health risks and can cause allergies and skin conditions. Addressing this issue promptly is crucial for your family's safety and well-being.

For effective and safe elimination of pantry pests, consider hiring a professional pest control service like Cowleys Pest Services. With expertise in handling pest infestations in food preparation areas, we can rid your kitchen and home of these pests while ensuring the safety of your family and pets.

Warning Signs of Pantry Pests

Pantry pest problems often show signs before insects become visible in your food. Regularly inspect stored boxes for signs like small holes or chewed edges. Inside, lumpy food clinging to container sides may indicate flour beetles, while webbing suggests insect larvae. Shake containers to check for dirty food, droppings, or peculiar odors like those of flour beetles or crushed mites.

Various insect pests can infest stored foods. Here are the most common ones in New Jersey. If you notice bugs or larvae in your food, one of these pests is likely the cause.

Pantry Pest Beetles and Weevils

pantrypestsBeetles and weevils (snout beetles) are the largest categories of pantry pests. That is hardly surprising considering that this order of insects represents about 40% of all insect species and almost 25% of all known life forms.

Flour and grain beetles, commonly known as "bran bugs," are small reddish-brown pests found in stored cereal grain products. They can easily migrate from silos and warehouses to grocery stores and homes, often concealed within seemingly innocuous food packages. Typical suspects in this group include the Saw-toothed Grain Beetle, Confused Flour Beetle, and Red Flour Beetle. These beetles, along with Anobiid beetles like the Cigarette Beetle and Drugstore Beetle, feed on a variety of foods and can cause significant damage. Dermestid beetles, including warehouse beetles and carpet beetles, are scavengers that feed on both plant and animal products, while weevils are destructive long-snouted beetles whose larvae feed on stored dried peas, beans, grains, and fruits.

Flour and Grain Moths

These moths, which are a major pest in grain mills, can do much damage in the home. The adults are harmless, but their larvae spin cocoons in our food and otherwise contaminate it. They’re extremely destructive. If you find “white worms” and webbing in any foods, they may well be grain moth larvae. The Indian meal moth is the most common food-infesting moth found in homes, grocery stores and any place where dried pet foods are produced or stored. Food infested with these insects will have silk webbing present, especially near the food surface. Home infestations often get started through dried pet foods or birdseed. Nuts are a favorite breeding source; infestations have been found in nut caches of squirrels in attics and chimneys.

Grain Mites

Grain mites are small, pale grayish soft-bodied creatures almost microscopic in size. They are often found in stored grain and eventually may be brought into the home in grain food products. In damp conditions, they build up rapidly to populations that make infested foot seem to be alive with the mites. Mites spell trouble for humans. They carry tapeworms and cause kidney and skin problems. Grocer’s itch is severe dermatitis caused by mites.

Cheese Skippers, also called Ham Skippers, are flies that receive their name from the unusual ability of the larvae to propel themselves through the air. The flies, which feed on decaying matter, are often found in salted meat and overripe cheeses. Unintentional human ingestion of cheese skipper larvae causes the maggots to pass through the digestive system, leading to serious intestinal lesions that result in a variety of gastric symptoms. They are often cited as a cause of accidental enteric (intestinal) myiasis where the fly larvae invade living tissue. Insect groups similar to the cheese skippers include black scavenger flies, eye gnats, and small fruit flies.

For pantry pest prevention tips, or for help with other forms of pest control in your home, contact the professionals at Cowleys Pest Services. We proudly offer our pest control service in Lakewood, Somerset, Edison, Toms River, Brick, Bridgewater, Piscataway, Old Bridge, Middletown, Princeton Junction, and surrounding New Jersey.


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1145 NJ-33
Farmingdale, NJ 07727

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120 Stryker Ln Suite 206 A B
Hillsborough, NJ 08844

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391 Main St #103
Spotswood, NJ 08884

Cowleys Pest Services
3490 US-1 Suite 107
Princeton, NJ 08540
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