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Pantry Pests - The Bug Review - University of Illinois Extension

Pantry Pests

Many species of grain, flour and dermestid beetles and weevils can be found in Illinois. The adults range in size from 1/10 inch to 1/4 inch and may be various shades of brown, red-brown, or black . The Indianmeal Moth adult is about 3/8 inch long with a wing span of about 3/4 inch. The base of the front wings is grayish-white, and the outer half is a deep copper. These insects complete one generation in 1-2 months.


Indianmeal Moth Adult


Red flour beetle and larva


These insects may fly into the house or be carried into the home in infested food packages. They are found primarily in the kitchen or food storage area, including dry pet food and birdseed. These insects feed on grain products. The adult beetles and moths are frequently seen in cabinets, on counters and around windows.


The larvae and some adults of these insects feed on grains (rice, barley, corn, wheat, bird seed), grain products(oatmeal, cornmeal, pasta, cereals, flour, cake mixes, pancake flour, granola, dry pet food), nuts, dried fruits, and other dried plant material (dried flower arrangements, ornamental corn, seed displays). All life stages can be found in these products, often simultaneously.

Dermestid beetles also feed on spices, tobacco, and animal products.


Non chemical: When infestations are discovered, remove and inspect opened and unopened food packages from the cabinets. Discard infested packages. Vacuum shelves and cracks around shelves to remove spilled food and insects and dispose of the vacuumed material. Wash shelves with soapy water. Place food products in airtight containers. If no insects are found after 6 -12 months, they have probably been eliminated from the home.

Chemical: Insecticides are not recommended.