It’s that time of year again! Time for spring cleaning which should include going through your pantry and cupboards tossing out the expired and forgotten food! Cleaning the pantry may not be a glamorous task, but it could save you the headache of a pest infestation starting in your pantry.
Pantry pests can be a real problem. No one wants to think about bugs being in their food, but the reality is that it does happen and is more common than you probably care to realize. A common pantry pest is the weevil. There are thousands of different species of weevils, but the two most common found in the pantry are the Granary Weevil and the Rice Weevil.
These two types of weevils are actually very small beetles. The granary weevil is described as 1/8-3/16 inch long, shiny reddish brown in color, and can’t fly. The rice weevil on the other hand does fly, dull reddish brown, has four light colored spots on its back, and also 1/8-3/16-inch long. Both types of these weevils are sometimes referred to as “snout weevils” because of the shape of their head. On the end of that long snout is the mouth of the weevil, which the females use to drill holes into the casings of grains such as wheat, oats, rice, rye, corn and a variety of seeds and beans. After the female weevil drills the hole she then will deposit an egg and then create a gelatin-like substance to seal the egg in place until it is ready to hatch. The egg will be ready to hatch in just a few days, the larvae will then spend about a month eating its surrounding, growing and transitioning into an adult. This is one of the reasons a weevil infestation may be go unnoticed at first. Once you start seeing the adults in the pantry and around the home, you have an infestation.
So now the fun part, how to rid your home of these unwanted pests?
To some it may seem like common sense to find where the infestation is taking place, remove the contaminated product and problem solved, right? But that is not always the case and it can get to be a pretty tedious task! You should absolutely start by cleaning out the pantry, cupboards and drawers. You will need to thoroughly inspect all food that could possibly be housing these little weevils. Every. Single. Item. If you are unsure if the product has been contaminated it is advised to throw the item out. You don’t want to risk a re-infestation. All contaminated and “possibly” contaminated food should be put into a garbage bag and sealed tightly, immediately be taken to the outside trash can, and place as far away from the house as possible. Vacuuming and wiping down all the pantry shelves, cupboards and draws with warm soapy water is a good idea. Remember to give the spaces time to dry before adding products back.
When you are checking for contaminated products do not forget to check pet food. Often, people will store their large bags of pet food in the garage and it’s possible for the infestation to be coming from the garage or anywhere else that may have any kind of grain stored away.
If you are following all tips and being diligent about inspecting but are still not able to resolve your weevil problem, you should call your local pest management. Your pest management professional will be able to conduct an inspection all around your home, help you find the source and create a treatment plan to fit your needs.