Why Are There Moths Inside The Pantry In My Washington D.C. Home?


Many different pantry pests contaminate your food. Some even produce toxins that are harmful to the human body. Therefore, removing pantry pests requires prompt action. Because pantry pests are a broad category of pests, control varies depending on the exact pests. You may approach a meal moth infestation differently than a hoard of drugstore beetles. For this reason, you should first identify the pests plaguing your Washington DC home to ultimately remove them.

cigarette beetle up close

Drugstore Beetles

These bugs linger around windows. Their heads are perpetually bent, and their bodies hunched. Drugstore beetles feed on grain products, tobacco, flowers, and paper products.

Cigarette Beetles

Like drugstore beetles, cigarette beetles gravitate toward windows. The two are also similar in appearance, with noticeably hunched bodies. These beetles prefer dried plant products.  

Meal Moths

There are two species of meal moths that may invade your home.

Oryzaephilus surinamensis- This species of meal moth has dark red wings. These moths are rifer in homes. They feed on dried fruit, cereals, nuts, dried meat, macaroni, and seeds.
Pyralis farinalis- Others have dark brown forewings with varying degrees of yellow. In some cases, they have dark stripes. These meal moths consume grain products.

Warehouse Beetles

These beetles are sometimes purely black and other times diluted with a touch of yellow. Their bodies are covered in tiny hairs. The warehouse beetle feeds on grain products, seeds, dried fruits, hair, skins, and fur.  

Flour Beetles

Flour beetles are brown with a thin, oval shape and shiny exterior. Flour beetles enjoy dried food, particularly bran, cereal, dried fruits, nuts, and most notably flour.

Damage Associated With A Pantry Pest Problem

Pantry pests contaminate food products, mostly through larvae. Other than the larvae themselves, there should be indicators as to what insect has plagued you. For example, if moths are responsible, you may see adult moths flying around the lights of your kitchen. On the other hand, adult beetles may leave behind shed skin. You may see them crawling across your cabinets.

Pantry Pests Prevention In Your Washington D.C Home

While this article will not cover the unique prevention tips recommended for each of the above pests, there are general rules to follow to prevent a pantry pest infestation.

  • Perhaps most importantly, you should remove the food source. To prevent further infestation, this means you should trash all infested foods. You can try heat treatments, but this method will fail to remove larvae and dead bodies. 
  • Moving forward, utilize air-tight containers to thwart access to food. 
  • Infestations are more likely in homes where food is stored for extended periods of time. Thus, it would be best if you regularly cleaned out your cabinets. If you haven’t eaten that box of cereal in a month, you likely never will. Needless to say, you should also purge your cabinets of any expired food items. 
  • Inspect foods that are especially susceptible, like cereal for larvae or shed skin.
  • Regularly clean your cabinets. Soap and water will suffice.
  • Furthermore, you should store bulk materials like pet food in air-tight bins. Clean any old containers before filling them with fresh food.
  • Always check food packaging to ensure that items aren't damaged before placing them on your shelf.  

The Experts At Capitol Pest Can Solve Your Pantry Pest Problem

All in all, if removing the food source and thoroughly cleaning your cabinets has failed to remove an infestation, let the pros handle this. Larger infestations can feel inextinguishable. Pests quickly move from one food source to the next. The infestation has become too inundating to remove on your own. If this sounds familiar to you, we encourage you to contact our team of experts at Capitol Pest. Our licensed pest technicians will identify the source of your problem and effectively remove it. If you're struggling with pantry pests and other unwanted critters in your home, give us a call to learn more about our one-time or recurring pest control options.

Tags: pantry pest control | pantry pest prevention | professional pest control |

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