The kitchen is the most vulnerable area of a home when it comes to insect pests. That is where all the food is, so it naturally attracts the most insects since they are all searching for food. Our stored food and pantry items are where the real danger lies, as anything not tightly sealed away is in danger of being found by hungry insects for them to infest and destroy. Many of the food items we place in our pantries spend a good time on the shelf, only used occasionally, a tempting invitation for insect pests inclined to use them as a permanent residence. Three of the most common kitchen and pantry pests are the sawtoothed grain beetle, the confused flour beetle, and carpet beetles.
The sawtoothed grain beetle holds the honor of being the most common kitchen pest. They are slender and flat, brown in color, and 1/10 inch long. It also has six saw-tooth-looking protrusions on either side of its thorax, which is where it gets its name. These insect pests consume a variety of dried foods, and generally live between six and ten months, although they can live up to three years in the right conditions. The adult beetles infest food, in which they lay their eggs, which only take three to five days to hatch. The larvae then join the adults in their consumption and infestation of your food.
The confused flour beetle is another common kitchen pest, similar to the sawtoothed grain beetle in regards to its behavior and life cycle, although their average lifespan is one year as adults and six months developing from eggs into adults. These beetles are around 1/7 inch long and reddish brown in color. Its distinguishing features include the ridges along its hind wings and the tiny punctures covering its head and thorax.
Carpet beetles are particular amongst these kitchen pests, as the adults don’t actually do the eating of the food, that is done entirely by their larvae. The black carpet beetle, the varied carpet beetle, and the larder beetle are all common kitchen pests, and will eat a wide variety of foods stored in your pantry. These larvae can be incredibly destructive too, usually brown to black in color, depending on the species, and their size and shape are also dependent on the species, but the one distinctive characteristic they all have are the long hairs or tufts of hair that can be seen protruding from their body. This is your best way of identifying whether you have carpet beetle larvae infesting your stored food.
Have you had to deal with kitchen pantry pests and what kind have you come across?