Opening a box of cereal to find meal worms wriggling around does not provide a particularly pleasant surprise. Meal worms, the larvae of the meal worm beetle, actually have a lot of value and are often raised as fishing bait, but this is little comfort to someone who needs to get rid of a meal worm infestation. The worms are pretty much harmless, however, and relatively easy to eliminate.
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Keep your kitchen clean. Meal worm beetles are more likely to leave their larvae in a cupboard that is dirty and disorganised. A cupboard filled with open containers and spilt bits of food will attract the beetles. Insects also tend to like moisture, so keep your cupboard dry.
Secure cereals and grains in airtight containers. Plastic containers with a lid that can seal are best because the meal worms have no way of getting into them. Make sure you use hard plastic containers rather than plastic bags with a zip seal, as the meal worms can eat through the plastic bag.
Use a night light in areas where you are particularly concerned about meal worms. The beetles will be repelled by the light and will be less likely to deposit their larvae.
Collect the meal worms and get them out of your house. Sweeping them up and crushing them is a good idea if you're planning to simply throw them out with your trash. Since meal worms are used for some practical purposes, if you really have a lot of them, you can look into selling them.
Throw away any food in which you found the meal worms. Meal worms leave a trail of eggs in their wake, so even if you pick the worms out of your container of food, there may be more worms to come. Although eating meal worm larvae isn't particularly dangerous, it's best to dispose of the entire container of food.
Treat surfaces with pesticides such as pyrethrins either alone or with a synergist. These chemicals are useful on wooden surfaces that have been found to have infestations of meal worms living on them.
Call an exterminator. If the above steps do not work for you, a professional will be able to wipe out your infestation.
Tips and warnings
- If using chemicals be sure to follow the instructions and precautions on the packaging.
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