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Pantry Pests

What are Pantry Pests?

Pantry pests are a group of pests that enjoy to eat dried and processed food products stored in your own home. Some of the common pantry pests you may encounter are Saw-toothed grain beetles, Weevils, Indian Meal Moths and Flour and Red Flour Beetles.

Saw-toothed Grain Beetle are thin, flat, brown beetles that is about 2.5 to 3 mm long. They have six tiny projections on each side just behind their heads.

Weevils are other types of beetles. In North America alone there are over 1,000 species of this type of weevil. Depending on what type of weevil you encounter they will range in colors and sizes. They typically are thin or oval shaped and depending on the species they can range in size from 3 mm to over 10 mm in length. Their color will range from brownish to black. The shape of their heads will vary. An adult weevil will have an elongated head that forms a snout. Their mouth will be found at the end of the snout. Other weevils will have a snout that is longer than their actual bodies. 

The Indian Meal Moth usually have a dirty white to off white color with green or pink hues. As an adult they may have a wingspan of about 3/4' when at rest with their wings folded together.

The Flour and Red Flour Beetle are small reddish brown sized beetles that will range anywhere from 3 to 4 mm long as an adult in size. Given they are very similar looking the only difference in these two beetles will have are their antennae. The red flour beetle antennae end in a three-segmented club, the flour beetle's antennae end is gradually club-like consisting of four segments. 

How Did I Get Pantry Pests?

While you may have a clean home that does not mean that your pantry are safe from pests. Although pantry pests include a variety of different types of insects they all have one thing in common. They are usually found in kitchens and homes. 

Saw-toothed Grain Beetle usually get into food that has gone through production or on their way to stores & homes. The main problem that begins once the infested food has been brought into the kitchen. These insects will quickly spread into other bagged or boxed products. As an adults they can potentially leave the pantry and appear in other areas of the home. If they have easy access to a place to reproduce and food sources the number of beetles can quickly grow even if two or three have entered your home. They breed continuously and can produce several generations in just one year. 

Similar to the Saw-toothed grain beetle, Weevils can find their way into your home from outdoors or inside packaged foods. Their eggs are very difficult to see and can easily contaminate grains and starch foods such as rice, flour, pastas and cereals. 

Indian Meal Moth infestation starts with food that contains the pest's eggs. They typically lay their eggs in foods such as flours, cereals, grains, grain products, dried fruit, dried food, seeds, powder milk, chocolates, candy and dry pet foods.

Both Flour and Red Flour Beetles feed on bits and dust from grain that is collected in grains, flour, cereal and pasta. Both types of beetles will lay their eggs in the food they are contaminating. A female beetle is able to produce more than 450 eggs and lay them on loose food materials. These pests can infest on any kind of dried grain, food product or powder. Any food that has evidence of flour beetles is considered contaminated this does not mean that by removing these beetles the contamination has been removed. 

Inspection & Treatment

It is important to properly inspect your home if you encounter pantry pests. A variety of different insects attach cereal, flour, herbs, spices, chocolate, dried fruits and similar items in your home. Some may be present but others go unnoticed. Signs of infestation are easy to overlook if the insects are small and often resemble the color of the food. Usually one sign of infestation is the appearance of small moths flying around or the presence of beetles in or near food. While most of the common pantry pests will feed on food products, weevils will not. Instead they attack on whole grains such as rice, beans or seeds. 


Seeing an Indian Meal Moth is a common sign of infestation. As an adult you will find these moths flying in zigzag motion instead of direct flying. These are commonly mistaken as clothing pests. One common difference is that adult Indian meal moths do not feed and are usually resting during the day in dim lit areas of the home as they are nocturnal. The larvae however are surface feeders and cover their food with silken webbing. During the larval and pupal stages you will find them on walls and where the wall and ceiling meet. The Saw-toothed grained beetles prefer flour, pasta, pet foods, birdseed, nuts, yeast, tobacco and cereal whereas flour and red flour beetles like to eat flour and cereal products. 

Getting rid of pantry pests can be very difficult. While they may not move fast they naturally blend in with their environment. Contacting Pest2Kill Exterminating Company, Inc can help eliminate this problem effectively and efficiently. We will inspect and create a thorough pest control plan to help eliminate these pests. Once a plan is put in place removal of all infested package is thrown away immediately. Vacuuming the pantry and cabinets shelves will remove any food particles found in these locations. One effective method we apply is insecticide. This will go into any crack and crevice to help eliminate any pest that may be hiding.  

Indian Meal Moth

Indian Meal Moth.jpeg

Close Up Weevils


Close Up Saw-toothed Grain Beetle

Saw Tooth Grain Beetle.jpeg

Prevention is key when avoiding pantry pests in your home. There are a number of different ways to prevent them from entering. Here are some helpful tips to avoid them:​

Avoid purchasing large quantities of bulk items that are used slowly. Items stored for over six months can develop serious infestations. ​

  1. Re-package slowly eaten foods into tightly sealed containers. This is important as it can help prevent these moths from entering in.

  2. Frequently clean your kitchen cabinets if any spills occur. Vacuum if any powder food product has spilled. 

  3. Never leave dry food including pet food overnight. 

  4. Seal any holes seen. Larvae leave food and develop into an adult. It is very important that walls and ceilings in the pantry area are properly checked as they can hide behind appliances, picture frames and even cracks.

  5. Never combine old and new dry food unless you are absolutely sure both products are pest free.

  6. Check the expiration dates on the food in your cabinets and sort through older items in your pantry. Dispose of any food that has been stored for a long period of time. 

Call Pest2Kill Exterminating today to set up a custom plan just for you and help eliminate your pantry pest problem! 

Man Vacuuming
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