Protect Your Home and Business From Beetles.
Beetles Found In Washington State
Beetles—commonly pantry pests or stored product pests—are insects that can attack your household or business inventory of stored grain products or dried goods. Once these beetles burrow themselves inside a food product, their population can explode and move throughout the rest of your commodities without notice, contaminating your food supply and costing you money.
Stored product pests often enter homes, warehouses, or businesses through cracks and crevices as they scavenge for food. Additionally, these pantry pests can be directly transferred via infested products, finding their way into shipping and receiving containers directly from food manufacturers.
Although these beetles aren’t aggressive, they can ruin your dried goods in a short period of time, so it’s imperative to understand the ins and outs of these bugs to help with infestation identification.
Types of Stored Product Beetles
The most common beetles found in dried goods infestations are:
- Drugstore beetles
- Saw-toothed grain beetles
- Merchant grain beetles
- Cigarette beetles
- Flour beetles
- Spider beetles
- Rice weevils
- Granary weevil
- Carpet beetle
What Dried Goods Do Beetles Eat?
Beetles enjoy eating a variety of dried goods, including:
- Dried dog food
- Seeds and nuts
Stored product beetles can also survive on items containing no nutritional content, such as book bindings. Surprisingly, drugstore beetles have even been known to chew through tin, aluminum foil, and lead sheets!
How to Prevent Pantry Beetles
No home is exempt from the dangers of a stored product pest infestation, although good sanitation and food storage methods can help to significantly lessen your chances. Because spilled or exposed foods attract these pests, it’s imperative to thoroughly clean up any food mess and keep your goods in tightly sealed containers at all times.
To lower your chances of a beetle infestation, here are a few tips from the pros:
Clean Up Crumbs and Spills
Cleaning up spills and sealing food product containers ensures that you will rarely have a problem with beetles. Make sure to monitor areas that can buildup food debris over time, cleaning cracks and corners of storage areas with a vacuum. Clean spills and crumbs from behind or alongside stoves, refrigerators, and food prep areas as quickly as possible. Watch the dishwasher and toaster area for food crumbs, too.
Limit How Long You Store Your Foods
If you buy food for storage, buy quantities that you will use over a short period of time. Foods that are stored for six months or more can become havens for serious infestation problems. Many infestations start in long-term food storage and explode into unmanageable numbers before they are even noticed.
Avoid Cardboard Boxes and Plastic Sacks
Cardboard boxes and plastic sacks are particularly vulnerable to beetle infestations because the insects can chew through the material. Stored goods should be placed in sealed containers made of glass or tough, plastic materials. If an infestation occurs within a well-built container, it will be isolated to that single product, as the beetles won’t be able to escape and propagate!
Utilize Cool and Dry Storage Areas
Place your sealed goods in storage areas that are cool and dry. If possible, use refrigerated storage for goods that aren’t used often but are still important to you.
Protect Your Pet Food
The most frequent spots for infestation problems are near dried pet foods, particularly in the case of the drugstore beetle. If your dried pet foods are exposed, they can also be susceptible to mice, meaning you could have a compounded problem.
Mice will steal and harbor pet food in places that can’t be seen, such as wall voids or sub-floor spaces. If stored product pests manage to locate the food, it can be incredibly difficult to locate and remove the source of the problem. Make sure to pay close attention to how you store dry pet foods.
DIY Stored Product Pest Removal
When you first notice a problem with stored product pests, you should immediately locate the source and get rid of it. If these beetles are discovered quickly enough, you may catch the infestation before it spreads throughout the rest of your home.
If you have the slightest suspicion of a problem, it’s best to get rid of the suspected source. However, if it appears your dried goods are fairly undisturbed and you don’t want to throw them out, you can perform a containment inspection. Place your goods in a see-through, sealed container—preferably a large jar—and inspect it regularly to confirm an infestation before tossing the products out.
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