Plagued with pantry pests? They can be small moths or beetles flying or crawling around the pantry area. Customers often call complaining of these small moths around the house, not realizing they are coming from the kitchen or pantry.

Here are a few tips to handle them and avoid future infestations.

Find the source of the infestation. Check packages you seldom use, especially grain products, cereal, rice, flour, raisins, spices, pet food and bird seed. Look for moths, worms, casings or a webby substance in or around the packages.

Dispose of the infested packages in a dense plastic bag and put it outside in the trash
Clean storage areas. Vacuum the cracks and crevices, in and out of the cupboards, then wash the area with a disinfecting cleaner. Check the ceilings for small worms or webby substances, vacuum and clean as needed.

Store uncontaminated food in tightly-closed glass, metal or plastic containers. New packages should be isolated in the same manner. This will avoid infesting the new food, and will prevent any missed problems from spreading.

Use a pheromone type trap to speed clean-up of the adult moths. It will attract and catch the male moth to prevent mating.

Heat or freeze susceptible food packages after you have them for 60 days
It is important to correctly identify your intruder.

GET A SAMPLE! The sample cannot be squashed. A simple technique is to use hair spray (It will kill the insect without damaging it and without the stink or poison of a household pesticide) then scoop it up in an envelope or other container, save it to be checked by us or Cooperative Extension. You can also check our insect gallery for an ID.

Many any people cringe at the thought of catching bugs but it is invaluable to have a sample. It dispels any question of what the problem is and what approach to use.

Usually you can control pantry pests with the non-chemical techniques described above, but some types can be more difficult. Have a sample checked, then based on the species, chemical intervention may be prescribed as well.