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Pantry Pest Characteristics And Behaviors
Pantry pest is a classification utilized to describe insect species that invade pantries. This inspect species invade homes with vulnerabilities, such as small exterior-to-interior access points around doors and windows. Dry cereal, dog food, fruit, and nuts make up the pantry pest’s diet.
The three pantry pest species that target Portland homes and businesses include the Indian meal moth and cigarette and saw-toothed grain beetle. Like all pantry pests, the three aforementioned insect species feed on processed and dry food products stored in kitchen cabinets, pantries, and cubbyholes.
The pantry pest could be considered an occasional invader since they occasionally invade homes. Some of these insect species are also overwintering pests because they invade homes to avoid the harsh, cold winter weather outdoors.
Pantry pests do not discriminate, as they will target any home with vulnerabilities. While every home in the City of Portland is at risk, only those with vulnerabilities will be infiltrated. Fortunately, some of the city’s property owners are well aware of this unique insect classification. Why are they aware? It probably has something to do with public awareness or personal experience. Pantry pest infestations are reported all over the United States each year.
Pantry Pest Characteristics
Pantry pests have unique characteristics that can be utilized for identification purposes. These characteristics range from coloration, the number of legs, winged, wingless, flying capability, mouthpart, and behaviors.
The Plodia interpunctella, an Indian meal moth, is a unique pantry pest. The wings are layered in colors, starting with dark red, tan, and reddish/black, with a bit of copper mixed in. The diet is comprised of processed food like all pantry pests.
The Oryzaephilus surinamensis, saw-toothed grain beetle, is very similar to the Indian meal moth, as far as diet and behavior go, but that is about the extinction of the similarities. The adult grows up to one-tenth an inch, with unique tooth projections, which is where the species classification comes into play. The saw-toothed projections are utilized in defense, copulation, and food-foraging.
The Lasioderma serricorne, cigarette beetle, feeds on dried and processed food like most pantry pest species. The insect is highly identifiable thanks to its humpback. The body is covered with fine hair that experts describe as “fuzz.” In addition to processed food, spices – chili powder, paprika, Italian seasoning – and cigarette products make up the diet.
Why Is My Home Infested With Pantry Pests?
It cannot be stressed enough, pantry pests invade homes for several reasons. The first reason is to overwinter, escaping the outdoors while in a hibernation-like state, is crucial for the pantry pest’s survival. Another reason is a coincidence, an access point comes available, the insect goes for it. This is actually how most of the pantry pests end up indoors. Another reason, a very important reason indeed, is to feed. It is unfortunate for insects when food becomes scarce. When this happens, the insects are forced indoors or out into the surrounding areas.
If your home is under a pantry pest attack, you must take a close look at its pest barrier, which is comprised of doors, windows, ceilings, roofs, floors, and walls. These barriers not only keep the elements out but also intruders like pantry pests.
Know The Signs Of A Pantry Pest Infestation?
The most common signs of a pantry pest infestation include the following:
- Live insects foraging for food in the areas where food with vulnerable packaging are stored
- Swarming insects over contaminated surfaces
- Damaged food packages
- Panty pest larvae- and egg-contaminated food products
Is The Pantry Pest A Disease-Transmitting Species?
For the most part, pantry pest species do not transmit diseases to humans or animals. However, the pantry pest has been linked to foodborne illnesses like Shigella and salmonella. Pantry pest-foodborne illnesses are most often caused by the ingestion of contaminated processed and dry food.
Pest Management Strategy Targeting Pantry Pests
While some homes are under a pantry pest attack, other homes are safe and secure. Why do pantry pests invade some homes and not others? A pantry pest invasion depends on one major factor. This factor is no other than accessibility. Homes under attack were accessible while those that escaped the attack were inaccessible.
- Routine inspection of exterior and interior of homemade
- Inspect entrance ways, focusing on frames, thresholds, and seals
- Seal all cracks and crevices that could be utilized as insect access with a waterproof sealant, such as caulk and silicone
- Develop a food storage system utilizing glass and thick plastic containers with lids
- Carefully inspect stored food for signs of an infestation (moving insects)
- Develop a storage container cleaning system (wash and air dry containers before and after each refill)
- Develop a food disposal system to eliminate potential contamination of surfaces utilized for food preparation
What Is The Best Pantry Pest Control Strategy?
There is no one pest control strategy that will offer better results than another. However, a combination of professional-grade pesticides and traps will deliver a better outcome than pesticides or traps alone. We highly recommend a family meeting to keep each family member updated on the pest control progress. Unfortunately, many impacted families tends to skip these meetings, leaving them fighting against each other at every turn.
It is important for the progress of the pest control strategy that every member is aware and agrees to heed the recommendations. Do not forget, we can help with this very important process by providing routine pest inspections, professional-grade treatments, education, and tips.
Does Professional Pest Control Pose Environmental Risks?
Not when administered, handled, stored, and administered per the manufacturer’s recommendations. To further minimize the risk of chemical exposure related to pesticides, we turn to brands that have taken the steps to seek EPA approval. EPA-approved pest control products are deemed “safe” when utilized properly.
We protect our clients and their family by requesting the impacted home be evacuated several hours before and after each treatment.
What Do I Need To Do To Protect My Home From Future Pantry Pest Infestations?
A pantry pest infiltration will do a number on the impacted home’s pest barrier. At this point, your focus should be the pest barrier, which includes every component responsible for keeping insects outdoors. Routine inspections are a crucial part of the prevention strategy. We recommend inspecting both the interior and exterior of your home. If you need professional guidance throughout this process, do not hesitate to reach out to our Portland extermination team.
Our pest management targets pantry pests and other insect species that invade homes temporarily and permanently.