Our Experts Share Their Top Tips On How To Get Rid Of Pantry Bugs

Okay, don’t panic! The bugs in your pantry are harmless. We get it, the kitchen is the one room in the house that we always want to keep clean. But no matter how hard you try there’s one thing we can pretty much guarantee. Eventually, the pantry bugs will find their way in. We understand your frustration. This is why we have written this article on how to get rid of pantry bugs

There are a number of common pantry bugs. The bugs you are most likely to see in your house include ants, moths and weevils. And, believe it or not, the way some of these bugs may get into your house may not be how you expect. Some of these pantry bugs find their way into your house in the food you buy – especially if you are part of a household that buys staples like grains, flour, pasta and cereals in bulk. Depending on how you store this food, and how long it ends up sitting there, these foods can create the perfect ecosystem for pantry bugs to thrive. 

It doesn’t matter how clean your home is. As we mentioned above, given that pantry bugs often hitch a ride in with food, it doesn’t matter how clean you keep your kitchen. Let’s look at the options of how to get rid of pantry bugs

How to get rid of pantry bugs

How To Get Rid Of Pantry Bugs

How do you know if you have a pantry bug infestation?

What do you do if you have pantry bugs? How do you get rid of pantry bugs if you have an infestation? First, let’s make sure you actually have an infestation.

If you see a couple of pantry bugs in your kitchen, but not where you store your food, you probably don’t have too much to worry about. However, if the bugs are close to food storage, and their number seems significant, it could be cause for concern. A larger number of pantry bugs could be an early sign of infestation and means you should do some further investigation. 

Check inside food packaging and containers to see if you can find more bugs. You may find that the majority of bugs are in a certain packet of food. If, after investigation, you’ve found an infestation of pantry bugs, then it’s important to do everything you can to get rid of them. 

The first thing you need to do is throw away the contaminated food. Whether a bag or rice or a packet of flour, if it has pantry bugs you need to get it out of the house. You should also carefully check any of the other food in the pantry that was near the contaminated food. If there’s no further infestation you’re probably okay. Of course, if you do see an infestation, it’s time to throw out that food as well.

Pantry Bugs – These are the little critters you need to keep an eye out for.

It’s important that you know what are the most common pantry bugs out there – those that you are most likely to come across. Here are some examples:

Moths – Pantry moths are particularly fond of pasta and flour, so don’t leave open packets of either in your pantry for an extended period of time. They are most likely to have been transported into your home in an already infected packet but you need to do what you can to ensure that you don’t create a haven for this infestation to grow. Pantry moths are generally tiny and white or brown like the Indian Meal Moth Pictured below.

How to get Rid of Pantry Moths

Credit: PHOTO FUN/SHUTTERSTOCK

Weevils – Another bug usually transferred into the house from the food source is the Weevil. They usually hitch a ride into the house in food packaging and like to jump from packet to packet. The mother likes to lay eggs near a food source and they have a particular fondness for flour. Weevils are usually very small and have a long snout. There are more than 97000 known species of weevil. 

How to get Rid of Pantry Weevils

Credit: FRANK60/SHUTTERSTOCK

Ants – Ants are a common infestation and can get into your house from outside. These don’t necessarily get transported into the house from the food supplier. Ants are a concern because they live in large groups and when one finds food, it will tell all its friends. Ants tend to be more common for foods spillages that are not cleaned up properly.

Beetles – Like weevils, Grain and Flour Beetles are often transported into your house right from the source. They have a preference for flour but can also be found in cereal or dry pet food. 

How to get Rid of Pantry Beetles

Credit: CHAIKOM/SHUTTERSTOCK

How to get rid of pantry bugs if they’re all over the pantry

Let’s say that you have pantry bugs everywhere and they are out of control. How do you get rid of these pantry bugs without freaking out? The first thing you need to do is clear all food out of the pantry. You’re going to have to dispose of all of the food that is contaminated. Then move all uncontaminated items out of the pantry. While you’re at it, check the expiry dates on food packaging and throw out anything that is expired. If a package has been open for a while and you’re unsure if it’s infested because you can’t see any bugs or eggs, then it’s better to be safe than sorry and throw it out too. 

Once you have cleared your pantry of all food, you should get the vacuum cleaner out. Vacuum the shelves and the floor around your pantry. Make sure you get into all of the corners. After you have vacuumed your pantry shelves and the surrounding floor, it’s time to wipe down each shelf and the surrounding floor space. 

Use soapy water or a natural all-purpose cleaning product for this, not strong chemicals. Strong chemicals will do little to reduce the likelihood of pests returning but they could be dangerous for your family if they come in contact with foods.

Put the bug spray down!

Next up, you can use an essential oil to keep the bugs away. DO NOT spray insecticide in your pantry. You don’t want it ending up in your food. Mix half a cup of water, half a cup of vinegar, and add in 8 drops of the essential oils – Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Lavender, and Clove all naturally repel bugs. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle or moisten a microfibre cloth with it. Then wipe down the entire pantry and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes.

Once the floor and shelf is dry it’s time to put everything away again. As you are doing this it’s important to check all of your packaging once more. You don’t want to return contaminated food to the pantry shelves. Otherwise you are just going to end up with a pantry bug problem all over again.

Prevent pantry bugs from thriving – make great food choices.

There are some foods where it is more common for pantry bugs to thrive. Like us, pantry bugs like to eat too. Some of their favourite foods include flours, cereals and processed foods, as well as dried fruits, beans, nuts and spices. It must be noted that they are not picky though, and can thrive on other foods. 

To minimise the threat of infestation, it is important that food is stored correctly. As you can see from most of these foods, they are foods stored at room temperature. This temperature is perfect for pantry bugs to thrive. As such, you need to make sure you don’t leave these foods lying around in unopened packages.

Prevent pantry bugs with air-tight food containers

Once you get rid of pantry bugs, how do you keep your pantry bug free?

If you have had a pantry bug infestation, and you want to make sure that it doesn’t happen again, here are some things you can do to prevent them from coming back:

  • Turn over food more quickly – The longer food is left in your pantry, the more chance you have of getting pantry bugs. One of the easiest ways to stay pantry bug free is to buy smaller packages of food so you turn over your food more quickly.
  • Use airtight containers – Another way to minimise your risk of pantry bug re-infestation is to not leave your food in its original packaging. When you buy new staples like rice, flour, cereal and even biscuits you should put it in airtight containers. These containers have dual benefits. As well as keeping out your pantry bugs they do a great job of allowing you to keep your pantry more organised.

  • Clean your kitchen and pantry more regularly – You may need to be more vigilant with your cleaning. We don’t mean going overboard, but you need to make sure there aren’t crumbs left around for an extended period of time. Give your pantry a wipe down more regularly and, if you make a mess, clean it up more quickly.

If you would like a no obligation quote about cleaning your home, or some advice on how to get rid of pantry bugs, please get in touch today. We’d love to help you out. 

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