Pantry and Fabric Pest
A variety of different insects attack cereals, flour, herbs, spices, chocolate, dried fruits and similar items in our homes. A few of these insects may be present but go unnoticed. The pests are usually not noticed in the home until they become abundant.
Insects found in flour and cereal are often referred to as weevils; however, the most common pantry pest is the Indian meal moth. It prefers such foods as chocolate, dried fruits, bird feed, and dry dog food. A common flour, pasta and cereal pest is the saw-toothed grain beetle. Various other species of beetles are also common pantry pests and infest a wide variety of food items. Cigarette beetles and drugstore beetles are occasional pests, but they prefer dried plant materials such as herbs and spices.
How do these pests get into our food? Occasionally, some may find their way inside from outdoors; however, the majority of these pests are in food products brought into the home. The initial infestation can originate at the processing plant, the warehouse, the delivery vehicle, or the retail store (chances of becoming infested increase the longer a food item is stored at the same location).
Beetles and moths have four stages in their development: egg, larva, pupa and adult. All stages may be present in the food, but the eggs are so tiny they are seldom seen. The larval stage is most destructive, but the adult- stage is most often seen.
Confused Flour Beetle
Flour, cornmeal, rice, and breakfast cereal – these are just a few of the places you may find the confused flour beetle. While we may not want this creature in our kitchen pantry, it does play an important recycling role in nature. Beetles eat dead plants and animals, which return to the soil as valuable nutrients.
To keep your home free of confused flour beetles:
- Locate the source of infestation and get rid of it.
- Store items in insect-proof containers (glass, heavy plastic, or metal) and/or refrigerate them.
As its name implies, this insect enjoys snacking on the glue and molds found in old books. It also feasts on molds associated with cereals, furniture stuffing, and wallpaper. On the plus side, these animals also feed on dead insects and decaying plants, therefore contributing to natural recycling.
To prevent an outbreak of book lice in your home:
- Use a dehumidifier or fan to dry and ventilate any damp areas.
- Store boxes, books, and papers off the floor.
- Freeze infected books.
If all else fails, call Midstate to prevent and/or eliminate the problem.