Pantry Pest Basics

Pantry pests

At Ledford’s, our Florence pest control experts really hope that you don’t have pantry pests that are out of control, but in case you do, we’re here to offer some sound advice:

First of all, what are pantry pests? Pantry pests can include several types of beetles and moths, but the most common are merchant grain beetles and Indian meal moths. Both of these insect types are attracted to packaged, dried foods and can multiply quickly.

Beetles & Moths

Merchant grain beetles are thin, dark brown beetles that are about 1/10-1/8 of an inch long. As their name suggests, they tend to eat foods made from grain, such as flour, cereal, cornmeal, and rice. They also like dried fruit and nuts. While adult grain beetles can fly, they often don’t. Instead, you’ll find them inside of your packaged foods and they’ll scurry away from the light when you open them.

Indian meal moths are a little bigger than merchant grain beetles – adults can be around 3/8 of an inch long and have a wingspan of around 3/4 of an inch. They’re usually white and brown and enjoy some of the same foods merchant grain beetles do, including cereal, flour, dried fruits, nuts, and rice. However, these moths can also be attracted to spices and chocolate. Once they’ve infested your foods, they can very quickly lay larvae and multiply.

What to Do

If you don’t physically see beetles or moths in your foods, there are other ways to tell if they’ve been feeding in your pantry. If your foods taste funny (beetle larvae produce secretions that can alter the taste of your food) or if your foods seem to be “webbed” together (with Indian meal moth larvae), throw them out. Also throw out any other foods that are not in tightly sealed containers, as pantry pests can squeeze into small areas. After that, remove your pantry shelves and vacuum them and the inside of the pantry.


In order to prevent pantry pests from infesting your foods, keep them tightly sealed in thick plastic containers or glass containers. Also – to prevent merchant grain beetles, place bay leaves around your pantry; the scent has been known to repel them. You can also spray your pantry with a safe, odorless pest aerosol to prevent the pests from appearing or returning.

If you have any other questions about pantry pests, give our Florence pest control services a call.

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