The term "pantry bugs" refers to a number of different insect species, including moths, beetles, weevils and mites. These bugs often are found in dry pantry foods like flour, crackers, spices and cereal. These pests typically chew through cardboard and other packaging to get at the food inside. Because it is warm inside the pantry, these bugs reproduce at a quick rate, leading to an infestation. Pantry bugs are relatively easy to control and kill, even after infestation occurs.
Throw away any items that have been infested, including those that are unopened. Do not throw these items into your kitchen garbage can, however; bring them outside to the trash immediately to prevent the bugs from finding their way back into your pantry.
Kill all pantry bugs by freezing infested food items that you want to salvage for three or four days. This will kill the bugs and allow you to save easy-to-separate foods like crackers, dried fruits or even dried flowers.
Heat the infested food in the oven at 60 degrees C for one hour to kill the pantry bugs.
Set pheremone traps if you have moths in your pantry. Pheremone traps will attract and kill male moths, not females, and will reduce the production of eggs. Pheremone traps will not work on other types of pantry bugs such as beetles and mites.
Vacuum the inside of the cupboards in the pantry, paying close attention to corners, nooks and crannies, where bugs and eggs may be nestled. Any spilt infested food must be vacuumed to prevent another infestation. Throw the vacuum cleaner bag in an outside garbage can immediately after vacuuming to prevent reinfestation.
Transfer dry foods, especially powdered foods like flour and baking mixes, into airtight glass or plastic containers. You also can store these items in the freezer to prevent infestation.
Disinfecting products, like bleach, and insecticides will not kill pantry bugs or prevent pantry bug infestation. These bugs lay their eggs in the food, not on the pantry shelves.
Tips and warnings
- Disinfecting products, like bleach, and insecticides will not kill pantry bugs or prevent pantry bug infestation. These bugs lay their eggs in the food, not on the pantry shelves.