Pantry Pests in Kansas

Pantry Weevil - Betts Pest Control - Pantry Pest Control

Grain Weevils

Appearance
Weevil species occur in a wide range of colors and body shapes. Many are slender or oval-shaped insects. Depending on the species, weevils range in size from about 3 mm to over 10 mm in length. They are usually dark-colored—brownish to black. Some have scales or shiny hairs covering part of their bodies. The most distinctive feature of weevils is the shape of their head. An adult weevil has an elongated head that forms a snout. The mouth is at the end of the snout. Some weevils have a snout that is as long as the body.

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Behavior, Diet & Habits
Weevils feed on plants in the larval stage and as adults. Unlike the rice and maize weevils, the granary weevil cannot fly. The egg hatches in a few days into a soft, white, legless, fleshy grub which feeds on the interior of the grain kernel. The grub changes to a naked white pupa and later emerges as an adult beetle. Adult granary weevil live an average of about seven to eight weeks. Each female lays 50 to 200 white eggs during this period. The female uses her strong mandibles to chew a small hole in the grain kernel, where she deposits a single egg in the hole and seals it with a gelatinous fluid. In warm weather, the granary weevil can develop from egg to adult in about five weeks. Cold weather prolongs development. The granary weevil cannot fly and so is most likely to be found where grain is stored, and moves with infested grain.

Signs of Infestation
Weevils feed inside food packages. They can remain hidden in the pantry for a long time. Homeowners might spot adult weevils wandering on the shelves or floor of the pantry or inside food packages when opened.

Indian Meal Moth - Betts Pest Control - Pantry Pest Control

Indianmeal Moth

Appearance
The Indianmeal moth life cycle is described as complete metamorphosis; egg, larval (caterpillar), pupal and adult stage. The adult is a small moth, about 3/8 inches long with a wingspan of about 5/8 inches. The wing color is generally gray but the rear half of the wing is rusty brown or nearly bronze. This wing pattern allows Indianmeal moths to be easily distinguished from other household moths. The larval stage is usually cream colored, sometimes with yellowish-green or pinkish shades, and has a dark brown head. Larvae may be seen as they wander in search of a place to pupate, or pass through the pupal stage. Often, the larval and pupal stages are seen on walls and where the wall and ceiling meet.

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Behavior, Diet & Habits
The Indianmeal moth larvae can infest a wide range of dry foods such as dry pet food, birdseed, cereal, dried soup mixes, bread, pasta, rice, flour, spices, dried fruits and nuts. Lesser-infested foods include chocolate and dried flowers. When looking for Indianmeal moths, do not forget to look in dried plant and dried flower wreath arrangements. This wide range of suitable foods explains why this pest is considered by most experts to be the most common stored-food pest in homes and grocery stores.

Signs of Infestation
Adults and larvae are common signs of an infestation. When flying, adults often appear to move in a zigzag motion instead of maintaining a direct flight line. Adults may fly to distant rooms in the house away from the infestation; therefore, they are commonly mistaken for clothing pests. Adults do not feed and normally rest during the day in dimly lit areas of the home. The larvae are surface feeders and cover their food source with silken webbing. Most of the damage to stored products occurs when the larvae spin massive amounts of silk that accumulate fecal pellets and cast skins in food products. The damage to stored products due to this contamination exceeds the amount of food eaten by the insects.