Fall is finally here, and we all know what that means; the holiday season is upon us. Two months and two big holidays are on the horizon: Thanksgiving and Christmas! For many Americans, the coming holiday season is a time for celebration, a time to gather together with our family and friends, and a time to talk, laugh, snack, and all around have a good time. Until, of course, someone opens up a bag of chips to find moths and beetles crawling around. Nothing ends a party faster than bugs in the food. But how did they get there? And what exactly are they? If these are the questions on your mind, then you have come to the right place.
Indian Meal Moths
Indian meal moths are small pests with bodies that are only ⅜” long, however, their wings make them look to be ⅝”. A copper red in color, these 6-legged pests are known for their ability to invade stored products and are usually found in foods such as dried fruits, seeds, chocolate, grains, nuts, bird seed, dog food, powdered milk, and dried red peppers. Most commonly, Indian meal moths will invade dry foods before they ever get to the shelves of your home. It is a good habit to carefully inspect boxes of food for damage or holes that pests could have used to get inside, before bringing them home. When you get home, consider storing dried foods inside plastic or glass, sealed containers that have airtight lids.
Saw-Toothed Grain Beetles
Saw-toothed grain beetles are much smaller than meal moths, with flat brown bodies that are a tiny 1/10” in length. Just like the Indian meal moth, grain beetles infest dry foods. The same as moths, these beetles may be prevented by thoroughly investigating food before purchasing it, and by storing foods in airtight containers.
Dangers of Beetles and Moths
It is true that both of the above panty pests do not pose any direct risk to you and your family. However, they do pose a threat to sanitation, especially in the food they infest with the eggs and fecal matter they leave behind. And, as we talked about earlier, pantry pests can pose a threat to your holiday parties by the fact that they are an extremely unpleasant addition to any food you may be trying to serve to guests.
Warning Signs and When to Call a Professional
Once inside your home, pantry pests can get out of control, spreading from food source to food source in your cabinets till it seems that nothing you want to eat is edible. If the infestation is large enough, there will be no question that they are there—you will know when you see them crawling around in your box of cornflakes. If you do find bugs in your cereal, it’s safe to say it’s time to call a professional. If your home has pantry pests, do not hesitate and call Russel’s today and let us help keep your pantries, and parties, safe this holiday season.