What are Pantry Pests

Pantry Pests

Pantry Pests

As their name suggests, pantry pests are those insects that lay their eggs in, feed on, and contaminate dry goods. The most common pantry pests in and around Spokane, WA, include Indian meal moths, carpet beetles, grain beetles, and rice weevils.

Pantry pest females lay their eggs on or in dry goods. After hatching, the tiny, worm-like larvae begin feeding on and contaminating the dry goods with their saliva and excrement. The larval stage is responsible for most of the food contamination that pantry pests cause.

Grain Beetle
Grain Beetle

What Kinds of Pantry Pests Are There?

Pantry pests, also known as stored product pests, are insects that infest and contaminate stored food products. These pests can be found in kitchens, pantries, and food storage areas, causing damage to various food items. Here are some common types of pantry pests:

Meal Moth
Meal Moth

Indian Meal Moth (Plodia interpunctella):

This is one of the most widespread pantry pests. Indian meal moth larvae infest a variety of dried foods, including grains, cereal, nuts, and dried fruits. They are known for the silk webbing they produce.

Flour Beetle (Tribolium spp.):

There are several species of flour beetles, including the confused flour beetle (Tribolium confusum) and the red flour beetle (Tribolium castaneum). These beetles infest flour, cereals, pasta, and other grain products.

Sawtoothed Grain Beetle (Oryzaephilus surinamensis):

This small, brown beetle infests a wide range of stored food products, such as flour, cereal, pasta, and dried fruits. The adult beetles have distinctive saw-like projections along the sides of their thorax.

Granary Weevil (Sitophilus granarius):

Granary weevils are small, reddish-brown beetles that infest stored grains, especially wheat and barley. Unlike some pantry pests, they can breed and feed inside whole grains.

Rice Weevil (Sitophilus oryzae):

Similar to granary weevils, rice weevils infest stored grains, particularly rice, as well as other grains and cereals.

Drugstore Beetle (Stegobium paniceum):

These small, brown beetles are known for infesting a variety of stored food items, including flour, spices, and dried herbs. They can also infest non-food items like prescription drugs and leather.

Cigarette Beetle (Lasioderma serricorne):

Despite its name, the cigarette beetle infests a wide range of stored products, including spices, dried fruits, and tobacco.

If an infestation is detected, it's important to promptly identify and eliminate the infested items and take steps to prevent a recurrence. Contact us today if you're experiencing pantry pest problems!

How can I keep my pantry free of these pests?

Keeping your home clean and well-organized is key to preventing pantry pests from infesting your dry foods. Here are a few tips to help keep your pantry pest-free:

  1. Store your dry foods in airtight containers with tight-fitting lids. This will prevent pantry pests from getting into your food.
  2. Clean up any spills or crumbs immediately. Even the tiniest bit of food can attract pantry pests.
  3. Regularly inspect your pantry for signs of pantry pests, such as webbing, larvae, or adult insects. If you find any, dispose of infested items and thoroughly clean your pantry.
  4. Rotate your dry foods regularly, using older items first. This will help prevent food from sitting in your pantry for extended periods of time and potentially becoming infested.

By taking these steps, you can help prevent pantry pests from infesting your dry foods and keep your home clean and pest-free.

How do pantry pests enter my home?

Pantry pests can enter the home through various means. They can come in through contaminated food products that are already infested when purchased from the store. This is particularly common with pantry pests such as Indian meal moths and grain beetles. Open doors and windows can also provide entry points for pantry pests, especially flying insects like moths. Small cracks and gaps in walls, floors, and foundations can also provide entry points for pantry pests to enter the home. Pantry pests may also be present in pet food, which can then spread to other dry foods in your pantry. Additionally, bringing infested items such as used furniture or antiques into the home can introduce pantry pests.

To prevent pantry pests from entering your home, it's important to regularly inspect your dry foods and pantry for signs of infestation. This will help you catch any potential infestations early before they can spread to other foods in your pantry. Keeping your home clean and well-organized can also help reduce the likelihood of pantry pests entering and thriving in your pantry. Store your dry foods in airtight containers with tight-fitting lids, clean up any spills or crumbs immediately, and rotate your dry foods regularly, using older items first. Additionally, consider using natural pest repellents, such as cedar or lavender sachets, to help keep pantry pests at bay.

Pantry Pests FAQ

Are Pantry Pests Dangerous?

Pantry pests cause food contamination with their saliva and excrement, so you should never ignore them. While they are certainly a nuisance and you should get rid of them as quickly as possible, they’re not a dangerous pest because they don’t cause harm to people or structures.

Why Do I Have a Pantry Pest Problem?

The most common way pantry pests find their way into homes is inside infested food boxes purchased from the store with their eggs or larvae. Food contaminated by pantry pests usually begins at food processing facilities. The infestation then carries over into food storage facilities, retail stores, homes, and other places where food is prepared and stored. Adult pantry pests sometimes find their way indoors on their own, usually after being attracted to a home or other building by its exterior lights.

Where will I find pantry pests?

Pantry pests live wherever there is stored food like kitchen cupboards, pantry areas, and other food storage areas. They feed on and contaminate a variety of dry goods, including whole grains, pasta, flour, cereals, cake mixes, dried fruit, dry pet food, and similar items. Homes, restaurants, grocery stores, hospitals, schools, and pet stores are examples of places where pantry pest populations can flourish.

How do I get rid of pantry pests?

For homeowners looking for a responsible approach to get rid of pantry pests on their property, we suggest partnering with Alta Pest Control. We focus on low-impact pest control that effectively eliminates pantry pests and other household pests while minimizing the impact on the environment. Let our family-owned company protect your home and family from our area’s most persistent household invading pests! If you are looking for more information about our pantry pest control services, reach out today and speak with one of our friendly and helpful professionals!

How can I prevent pantry pests in the future?

It's important to keep your pantry clean and well-organized to prevent these pests from infesting your food. Additionally, storing dry foods in airtight containers can help to keep pests out.

How Alta Pest Control Protects Your Home From Pests

All of our treatment plans are customized to your home and yard. We do this to ensure that you get the exact coverage you need to keep your home safe. All of our technicians and inspectors are experts in their field, so you can be sure that you are getting top-tier protection.


One of our expert technicians will inspect every inch of your home and business for pest activity. Then they will create a custom plan based on their findings.

Initial Service

Once your custom plan is created, we will treat your home and yard to give you immediate relief from pests. Then, we will create a boundary around your property to prevent more pests from entering.

Follow Ups

After the initial service, we will conduct regular maintenance to ensure that your pest problems remain solved. We will also conduct free inspections for problem pests, such as termites.

Alta Guarantee

When it comes to pest control, we put our money where our mouth is. If we treat your home, and you're still seeing pests, we'll come back and retreat for free. We'll always have your back.


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