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A problem in food, but other stored items too

Collectively known as pantry pests, or stored product pests, these pests feed mostly on vegetable, but sometimes animal, material. Grains, nuts, cereals, pasta, cheeses, preserved meats, wool, leather, bird seed, dried flowers, rodent baits, and cigars are some items through which pantry pests can be introduced into our homes.

 

Important Types of Pantry Pests

How Do I Manage Pantry Pests?

Inspection

Remove all product from storage and locate the source of the infestation. Pheromone baits/traps, available online and in hardware stores, can be effective in both monitoring and slowing infestation by trapping adults, but these traps alone will not eliminate an infestation.

Bread crumbs in labeled mason jar sitting on a kitchen counter
Pantry pests can't get in or out. Photo: NYSIPM. Click photo to see enlarged version.

Exclusion

  • Remove dry food materials from the original packaging and store in airtight containers.
  • Store your items so the oldest items are used first.

Sanitation

  • Inspect your shelves and cupboards.
  • Keep shelf space clean and free of any food debris.

Manual Removal

  • Capture adults using a vacuum and discard the contents outdoors.
  • Stored product pests can be killed by freezing, heating, and dehydrating.

Pesticide Treatment - Not Recommended

Pesticide sprays should never be used in the pantry, in cabinets, or around food items.