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Pantry Pests

Summary: Pantry pests often infest stored foods that have gone beyond their expiration dates. This includes boxes of food that have never been opened.

Tom T; Stoneham, MA asks: I would like to know how to kill maggots. I have found them in bag of penuts, bread, rice, pasta and almost everything in my house. Please help!

Dear Tom: What you are describing are probably the larvae of some type of pantry pest insect like sawtooth grain beetle, Indian meal moth, cigarette beetle or some type of flour beetle. Maggots usually describe the larvae of flies which are normally found in a damp environment. and saw toothed grain beetles are common pests found infesting the foods you mentioned.

My guess is that all of the infested foods have been sitting in your cabinet untouched or even unopened for many months. Once these pests get established there is only one way to get rid of them. Open every package containing grain, crackers, cereal, flour, spices or pasta and check for the infestation. Throw everything away that is infested.

While the cupboards are empty thoroughly vacuum the cracks and crevices, then treat all cabinet crevices with a residual insecticide such as Tri Die Aerosol and allow to dry before returning everything to the shelves. I would also purchase some insect monitoring traps that can be set up like a little tent and place those in the back corners of each cabinet shelf to monitor for possible future activity.

People always want to know where these insects come from. Some come hidden in packaging. Some find their way in through windows. Manufacturers do a near perfect job of excluding all insects, but achieving 100% exclusion is not possible. You won't have any problem with these infestations if you transfer products that you don't plan to immediately use to air tight containers like those made by Rubbermaid or glass jars with screw top lids.

It's a pain in the neck, but absolutely necessary to resolve the problem.

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