Pantry pests can invade food storage spaces and cause havoc. Many of these pests enjoy grain-based products. Here are the common insects seen in home pantries:
*Booklice (Psocids)—Found in stored cereals and grains.
*Carpet Beetles---Found in cereals, flours, and baking mixes.
*Cigarette Beetles---Found in dried herbs, spices, cereals, flours, dried fruits, seeds, dried dish and meats.
*Clothes Moths---Found in some beverages.
*Drugstore Beetle---Found in pet food, seeds, flours, mixes, and spices, It is said they “eat any except cast iron!”
*Flour Beetle---Any grain product, flour, kernel or cereal.
*Indian meal Moth---Found in cereals, stored grains, dried fruits, chocolate, and nuts.
*Saw-Toothed Grain Beetle---Found in foods of vegetable origin, grain products, nuts, candies, dried milk, and dried fruits.
Preventing Pantry Pests
Keeping storage areas clean and dry are the first line of defense against pests invading your food. Periodically clean storage areas to remove spilled food and damaged packages of food. A vacuum cleaner can easily remove spills from cracks and crevices. Eliminate hiding places by sealing cracks and crevices with putty or caulk.
If packages are damaged, inspect for insect presence or damage. If the food is still good, re-package in a sealable sturdy container. Cold-treat flours, cake mixes, and spices at 0°F for 3-7 days, making sure that the cold penetrates the materials. Heat-treat beans, nuts, and whole grains by spreading them in a shallow pan and placing them in a 150°F oven for 15-20 minutes.