Pantry Pests

Pantry pest is a general term we use to describe bugs commonly found in stored food items. The most common pests we encounter in Florida are the same pests found throughout the country.

Bugs considered pantry pests are usually either moths or beetles. The adult forms of these bugs are usually the first sign of a problem. They are often seen first in the kitchen, but can move quickly to adjacent rooms because most are strong fliers and they are typically drawn to light.

If you are seeing either moths or very small beetles, the first place to begin looking for the source of the problem is in the pantry or cupboard where flour products are stored. Uncooked flour and other grain products are the food source for these bugs. Check packages carefully for signs of adult pests or their larva. Packages that have been on the shelf the longest are the ones most likely to be a problem. There is a reason for this.

As unsavory as it sounds, the eggs of these bugs are in these products when you bring them home from the store. Given enough time they will hatch. It does not matter that these items are in their original packages or stored in airproof containers or zip type plastic bags. The eggs are already in the product before the product is placed in the container. Therefore the bugs you may find inside these storage containers did not chew their way in without leaving holes. The eggs were sealed in when the container was closed and they grew into adults inside the container. In the case of plastic bags, they may chew their way out and infest other products stored nearby.

There are some things you can do to keep pantry pests out of your home.


The first is to check the expiration date on any flour based items you purchase before leaving the store. In addition to flour, check items such as: pancake mix, cake mix, pasta, oatmeal, pet food, and bird seed. Purchase the freshest products available.



The second measure is to place these items in the freezer for at least four days. This will kill the eggs. If you place them in the refrigerator it will slow the development of the eggs, but will not usually kill them. After four days these items can be removed from the freezer and because the eggs are dead, none will hatch.



The third thing you should remember is to rotate these items on the shelf in your home making sure to use the oldest products first. By doing these things you will greatly diminish the chances of seeing pantry pests in your home.

If you live in Volusia or Flagler Counties in Florida and have done these things and are still troubled with small moths or beetles, please contact Universal Pest Control. We can be reached on line at or by calling (386) 673-1557.

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