Maryland Property Owners' Handy Guide To Stored-Product Pests

12/17/2020

It happens when you least expect it. You’re looking for ingredients or an afternoon snack, so you’re looking through the cabinet or the pantry when you see it: bugs, hundreds of them burrowing around in your food. Make no mistake, these pests didn’t get there overnight. Rather, they’ve just hatched in the pantry of your Maryland home, and many food products need to be thrown out. Stored-product pests are a real problem in Maryland, but they don’t have to be. Let’s examine what stored-product pests are and how to prevent them from ruining your food.
 

confused flour beetle and larvae

Identifying Stored-Product Pests 

Stored-product pests are a general name for any pests that rely on food for reproduction. These pests naturally want to use healthy, abundant food for their offspring, so it’s no wonder they try to move inside Maryland properties. In our area, there are a few different kinds of stored-product pests that you should know about. These include:

  • Confused flour beetles. These dark, shiny beetles prefer sacks of flour or grain to lay their young in, often attacking grain silos and other stored-food products.
  • Indian meal moths. A common Maryland pest, Indian meal moths stop eating in adulthood and only move indoors to lay eggs in your food. These pests are in and out quickly, but their young will soon hatch. 
  • Grain weevils. Much like confused flour beetles, grain weevils love to infest grain and wheat stores. These pests often hitchhike in processed foods and cereals, so homeowners may benefit from freezing their cereals before eating them. 

Stored-product pests happen more often than you might think. To understand how to prevent them, you need to know why they move inside.

Why Stored-Product Pests Infest Homes In Maryland  

Most stored-product pests have one goal: reproduction. When the adult pests reach maturity, they lay their eggs in food so that their larvae can feast and grow once they hatch. As soon as these eggs are laid, the adults usually leave or hide around the house, but the damage is done as soon as their eggs start growing. 
 
Stored-product pests get inside in one of two ways. If they’re like the Indian meal moth, then they get inside by sneaking through the cracks in your masonry, because they detected a fertile breeding ground for their young. In the case of weevils and sometimes beetles, they may have hitched a ride in the food you bought at the grocery store. These pests may have been collected from the grain silo and stayed put until they moved into your pantry, where their young can feast once they’ve hatched.

Stored-Product Pest Prevention

To prevent stored-product pests, you have to prevent them from moving inside entirely. To prevent Indian meal moths, make sure your home is properly sealed and crack-free. Meal moths especially like sneaking in through the cracks in windows and doors, so make sure your sealant and caulking are up-to-date. 
 
In the case of other pests, always inspect your food both before and after purchasing. Look for dark spots or insect excrement in the fresh produce you buy, and examine all boxes you open before pouring out their contents. If a stored-product pest snuck inside a cereal box or flour bag, freeze those groceries for several hours before throwing them away. This way, you kill the larvae and stop the pest cycle. 
 
For more advice and assistance concerning stored-product pests in Maryland, contact your local pest professionals. Capitol Pest is ready to protect you, your family, and your pantry from the threat of any pest!

Tags: pantry pests | pest extermination | stored-product pests |

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