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How to Keep Pantry Pests Out of Your Business This Winter

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Pantry pests, also known as stored product pests, are a group of unwelcome insects who thrive on the dried and processed foods stored in your cupboards and pantries. You can keep these nuisances out of your business’ storerooms and snack closets by storing food properly in clean safe containers.

Winter is when pests seek out warm safe food sources for the season. Prevention is the most effective way to manage pantry pests, but if a rascally rice weevil or sneaky Indian meal moth makes its way into your stores, we have ways to ensure your caches remain safe. Because these pests can multiply quickly, it’s best to act quickly and decisively. Read below to identify common pantry pests and learn how to thwart them before you have unwanted visitors at your lunch break.

What Are Stored Product Pests?

Stored product pests are a group of insects comprised of beetles, moths, and weevils that live on stored dried goods. Here are some of the most common pests New Yorkers find in their pantries.

  • Indian Meal Moths are small beige/copper-colored moths ½” in size. They can be found on food or flying around your workplace. During the daytime, they are inactive, making it harder to notice them. They sometimes leave a silky webbing behind.
  • Sawtoothed grain beetles are flat dark red/brown beetles named for the saw-like teeth along their thorax. They are partial to cereal, birdseed, chocolate, dried fruits and nuts. There slender design makes them adept at fitting through small openings.
  • Red flour beetles are very small, less than ½”, flat and cherry brown in color. They are oval shaped and have clubbed antennae. Adults can fly and are attracted to light. The females may lay up to 1,000 eggs during their lifetime.
  • Rice weevils are small, brown, oval-shaped insects identified by their long snouts. They sometimes have orange spots on their wing casings. Weevils only eat whole grains and seeds and will lay their eggs in the hollowed-out shells.
  • Cowpea weevils have long legs and long antennae. Their short wings are covered with brown and black markings and don’t fully cover their abdomens. Cowpea weevils favor beans and, like the rice weevil, lay their eggs in the hollowed-out shells.
  • Warehouse beetles are oblong, oval-shaped bugs with mottled wings. The larvae are identified by their tufts of long hair. They are capable of chewing through packaging to get to food and can fly.
  • Drugstore beetles are round with helmet shaped heads. They can also chew through food packaging and eat nearly anything.

These common pests all leave small, mealworm looking larvae behind. You may notice leftover skin husks and egg casings near or in your food supply. The larvae quickly grow thanks to your generous food supply and they are capable of quickly repopulating if not properly eliminated.

How Do I Prevent Pantry Pests?

Prevention is the best method of stored product pest control. By storing your food properly at your place of work, you prevent pests from getting in and multiplying. Here are some tips to consider:

  • Store food in sealed glass or heavy plastic containers.
  • Check and rotate out old food frequently.
  • Don’t combine old and new food.
  • Clean shelves and cupboards regularly.
  • Cover garbage cans.
  • Order/ buy small amounts of food at a time.

By keeping only fresh foods and snacks on site in pest proof containers, you can limit your susceptibility to any of these six-legged would-be coworkers. 

How Do I Get Rid of Stored Product Pests?

If you find any of the above-mentioned pests in your food or in your workplace follow these steps to address the infestation:

  • Immediately dispose of all contaminated food.
  • Vacuum up skins, eggs and pupae.
  • Thoroughly clean contaminated area.
  • Use caution with cleaners and pesticides around food.
  • Consult a pest control expert.

Catching pantry pests quickly and disposing of them is key to preventing continued infestation. If you’re unsure where pests are coming from or how to stop them, it may be time to get professional assistance.     

We Handle New York’s Worst Pantry Pests

Assured Environments has been keeping beetles, weevils and moths out of New York businesses since 1934. We know you have 1,000 other concerns at work beyond bugs in your trail mix. Call or contact us today and let us make sure pests don’t plague your provisions.

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