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You know pantry pests are gross, but what are the health risks?

By: Mandy Garnto on January 31st, 2018

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You know pantry pests are gross, but what are the health risks?

Pest Control Tips  |  Health

It’s Saturday morning. The kids are up— much earlier than you would like. You get the coffee started and stumble over to the pantry to grab a box of cereal. As you open the door and light hits your shelves, out flies a pantry moth. How did he get in there?

You’ve probably brought home a pantry pest inside a food item. The most common types are Indian Meal Moths, saw-toothed grain beetles, cigarette beetles, drugstore beetles, warehouse beetles and rice weevils. These pests are usually found in grains like cereal, flour, cornmeal and grits. The larvae make their way inside the packaging then mature to adulthood and exit. Foods can become infested inside processing plants, warehouses, delivery trucks, stores and even your house. Once they’ve matured, pantry pests lay new eggs inside the grains of their chosen home, and the cycle begins again.

Now, you’re probably wondering what type of threat these pests could pose to your family. Could you have unknowingly ingested pantry moths? This is the most unsavory part of a pantry pest infestation. There’s no way to know for sure whether you or your family may have eaten any eggs before you were aware of their presence. The good news is that pantry moths and beetles have not been linked to any diseases, parasites, or parabens at this time. 

What should homeowners do to get rid of pantry moths or other pests?

  • Correctly identifying the type of pest is the first step to evicting them from your home. A local pest control company is your best bet for the most accurate identification. A pest technician may use pheromone traps to pinpoint and monitor infestations by attracting and trapping any adult males that may be lingering.
  • Next is finding the source of the infestation. All susceptible foods must be thoroughly inspected. These include foods like macaroni, dried fruit, cereals, dried beans, any type of grains, pet foods and bird seeds.
  • Removing infested products is next. Items should be bagged, sealed and discarded in an outside receptacle. It is recommended that any open food items be thrown away, due to the possibility of eggs being present inside.
  • Cleaning, cleaning and cleaning is possibly the most important step in making sure the problem does not continue. Vacuum and wipe down all floors, shelves and walls and eliminate any spilled food particles. Be sure to check cracks and crevices for any residue or crumbs. In some cases where cleaning and removing infested products are not sufficient, a pest professional may need to apply a chemical treatment to specific areas.

What are the best ways to prevent pantry pests in the future?

  • Keep your food storage areas clean and do not allow food particles that could attract pests to build up. This is especially important when storing dried pet food or bird seed. Vacuum cracks and crevices on a regular basis.
  • Always inspect and purchase dried food in sealed, unbroken packages that have the freshest date on the package.
  • Use your oldest pantry products first.
  • Store dried food in metal, glass or heavy plastic containers with airtight lids or store in the freezer.

Following these steps greatly reduces your chances of a pest infestation. Unfortunately, it is possible to have a reoccurrence. If you continue to have problems with moths, beetles or pantry weevils in food, Cingo can help you eliminate pantry pests as well as provide comprehensive pest control in Atlanta and throughout the southeast.