How To Keep Your Western Massachusetts Pantry Pest Free All Year Long

How To Keep Your Western Massachusetts Pantry Pest-Free All Year Long!

One benefit of living in a first-world country with a technologically advanced society is the cleanest, safest food supply in history. Many debate issues surrounding processed foods and genetically modified products, but the reality is that we live in an era of the cleanest food ever supplied for mass consumption. If you go back just a hundred years, refrigeration and freezer abilities limited the ability to provide and maintain large quantities of food in local stores. We say all this to demonstrate that we have come to expect our food to be free from contamination; yet, despite all our advances, sometimes our food gets polluted by pantry pests.

Opening food packages in your pantry and finding them infested means you need Western Massachusetts pest control professionals from American Pest Solutions. Our company started before modern refrigeration and packaging technology; we have been helping homeowners eradicate pantry pests since 1913! The result of more than a century of pantry pest removal is the development of time-tested, proven pest control techniques. We are proud to have been pioneers in Integrated Pest Management (IPM) solutions which pest control companies nationwide now use. In addition to pest control, we strive to educate our community, and we hope you find this article regarding pantry pests helpful.

The Types Of Pests That Invade Pantries

The term "pantry pests" is not specific but is a catch-all phrase to describe many types of pests that commonly invade food products. Pantry pests consist of the following beetle, weevil, and moth species. These are examples of common pantry pest invaders:

  • Indian meal moth: An adult Indian meal moth is 3/8 inches long with a 1/2 to 3/4 inch wingspan. The adult moths have reddish-brown and bronze wings, grey legs, and a reddish-brown head. You will not find the adults in your food products, but instead will find them on the ceiling of the pantry or flying around indoor lights. Indiana meal moths invade food products when in the larvae stage of development. The larval stage is the second stage of growth, and the moths at this stage are 2/3 inches long and have a white head and a cloudy white body. The larval stage is not a quick phase but may last up to 41 weeks, during which time they feed on grains, seeds, nuts, chocolate, powdered milk, fruit, and dog food. When you consider that an adult female Indian meal moth produces up to 300 pantry moth eggs in its short, seven-day lifespan, you can see how quickly they can infest your food products.
  • Confused flour beetles: So-named due to their erratic movements, adult confuse flour beetles have a 1/8-inch, flat, reddish-brown body, and although they have grooved wing covers, they do not fly. Female confused flour beetles produce up to 400 eggs during their one-year lifetime. Unlike Indiana meal moths, who infest food during the larval stage, confused flour beetle adults and larvae can invade food products due to their small size. Confused flour beetles eat many of the same items as Indian meal moths but also enjoy dried fruit, peas, beans, and spices. Although they invade many products, they are the most common pest in processed flour. 
  • Cigarette beetle: The cigarette beetle has a small, oval, reddish-yellow, or red-brownish 0.1-inch body, which appears to be humped when viewed from the side. Like other beetles, they are prolific reproducers, with adult females laying 100 eggs during their two to four-week adult lifespan. Adults and larvae are omnivores that feed on herbs, spices, raisins, rice, tobacco, dried flowers, and dead insects.
  • Drugstore beetle: The drugstore beetle is another example of a pantry pest beetle, and it grabbed attention first by infesting medicines in the pharmacies of drug stores. An adult drugstore beetle has a 1/10-inch cylindrical brown body covered in thick hairs. Like the cigarette beetle, it has a humped-back look when viewed from the side. Unlike other beetles, drugstore beetles can fly. Female drugstore beetles produce over 100 eggs during their short lifespan. Larva drugstore beetles have a 3/16 inch creamy-white c-shaped body similar to a grub. Drugstore beetles eat similar foods as other pantry pests, with the addition of pet food and pasta. They also consume books, manuscripts, and even the poison strychnine.
  • Grain weevils: Although they are weevils, these insects are part of the beetle family. Grain weevils is a generic term referring to the three weevil species that invade pantries: rice weevils, maize weevils, and granary weevils. Adult rice weevils are 1/8 inch long, with a brown to black body with four reddish dots on their wing covers. Like all weevils, it has a long snout with a shield behind its head. Adult and larvae eat grains. Adult weevils fly, and the females lay up to 400 eggs in the cavity of rice grains, which they have hollowed out. Maize weevils are the same as rice weevils but are slightly larger and have more pronounced spots on their wing covers. Maize weevils can fly longer distances than rice weevils but consume the same diet. Granary weevils are up to 1/8-inch longer than rice weevils, have a reddish-brown to black body, and do not have spots on their wing pads. Unlike rice and maize weevils, it cannot fly, nor does light attract it. The diet of the granary weevil is the same as all grain weevils: grain.

American Pest Solutions provides pantry pest removal services.

Signs There Are Pests Inside Your Western Massachusetts Pantry

Pantry pests are often not seen until the product is opened and closely examined. Although they sometimes pass through food inspections undetected, signs of pantry pests include the following:

  • Droppings: Moth poop and the feces of beetles and weevils (called frass) look like dark-colored sawdust.
  • Skins: Pantry pests are insects that shed their exoskeleton to grow. Discarded skins in the foods and on shelves from pantry pest larvae indicate a problem. 
  • Damaged packaging: Paper packaged products riddled with tiny holes are from beetles that have penetrated the paper and infiltrated the product.  
  • Warm food: An infestation of beetles can cause the temperature of the food product to rise. 
  • Larvae: Unlike the larva of weevils and beetles, Indian meal moth larvae are visible to the naked eye. The larvae are cream-colored with a dark head. 
  • Clumpy food: Indian meal moths bind their eggs and larvae together with a sticky webbing creating lumps in the food product. 
  • Live pests: If you notice worm-like larvae or beetles crawling around foods, or weevils or moths flying around lights in the pantry or kitchen, you likely have an infestation.

When you notice these signs of pantry pests, secure pantry pest control from American Pest Solutions.

Ways To Deter Pests In Your Pantry

In this age of rising food costs, you don't want to throw out food because pantry pests have contaminated it. Food costs money, and the best way to protect your investment is to prevent a pantry moth infestation. Inspect food packaging before purchasing. If there are tiny holes in the product or it shows any sign of damage, do not purchase it.

When you bring the products home, transfer the contents into airtight glass containers, examining them for bugs as you make the transfer. A product may contain the nearly invisible eggs of pantry pests; therefore, an advantage of sealable glass containers is that they allow you to see future larvae movements after the eggs hatch. Furthermore, some pantry pests can chew through plastic, so glass is the best option; however, plastic containers are the next best choice if glass containers are not available. Place a label on the product container noting the date of purchase, and use the product within the next four months. If the product exceeds four months, discard it.

Regularly clean the pantry area by disinfecting the shelves and sweeping the pantry floor and ceiling. Use a wand attachment on the vacuum to suction out corners on the floor and ceiling. Avoid using the pantry light as much as possible to keep from attracting pantry pests to the area. 

Pantry pests do not enter products only at the processing plant but may infest food products after arriving at your Western Massachusetts home. To prevent pantry pests from the outside, seal cracks around door and window frames, repair holes in door and window screens and replace outdoor incandescent lights with LED or bug lights to minimize attraction to your home. Seal cracks in the foundation around incoming pipes and wires and along the roofline. Screen attic and crawlspace vents. 

Keep your food products safe and protect your home with American Pest Solutions.

Total Indoor Pest Control In Western Massachusetts

When pantry pests invade your home, they multiply fast and quickly invade nearby accessible products. Before the pests destroy more food products, contact our pest control professionals at American Pest Solutions. When our technicians arrive, they will thoroughly inspect the infested area and note attractants, entry points, and hot spots. Next, we will implement an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategy to eliminate pests using eco-friendly products and methods.

Our Pest Guard program not only removes the problem but also focuses on preventing future infestations. Contact us today for your free evaluation.

Have Pests? Our Team is Ready to Help!
For Immediate Assistance Call 857-524-2991

Why Choose American Pest Solutions?

We're Not Just Exterminators, We're Pest-Exterminating Experts!
  • We're Responsible
    All of our employees undergo stringent background checks, including drug screening. Our field representatives are committed to providing exceptional service, while our office staff, praised by customers for their expertise, diligently assists with inquiries regarding services, products, scheduling, and payment options.
  • We've got the solutions
    Our company President, Bob Russell, is a Board Certified Entomologist, and a member of the Entomological Society of America, distinguishing us from others in our field. Should you encounter an unidentified pest, simply photograph it, email us the picture with details of its discovery, and we'll promptly provide a confirmed identification and expert treatment recommendations.
  • We're licensed & certified.
    American Pest Solutions, recognized by the NPMA as a QualityPro certified company, boasts licensed and certified pest control professionals in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Engaged in both regional and national pest management associations, our employees undergo annual recertification training and seminars, supplemented by regular classes conducted by our resident Entomologist at our facility.

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